After reaching the pinnacle of his military career, Sgt. Maj. Michael Jones was honored for his service to the U.S. Marines during a recent ceremony in Norfolk, Va.
“I’m ready and enthusiastic about the next chapter in my life,” Jones said. “It’s been a pleasure to represent my family, to represent the state of North Carolina, Jesus Christ, my savior. He’s strengthened me to serve my country for this long. That’s a great blessing.”
It all began in Sampson County as a young child. He grew up working in the field with his uncle, cutting tobacco with other family members. Years later, the foundation of hard work would serve as a stepping stone for Jones. He was raised by a single mother, Lorie Dixie Jones, and worked 27 years as a housekeeper at Sampson Memorial Hospital in Clinton. Out of eight siblings, he was one of seven to join the military. Although, most of them picked the Army and the Navy, he chose the Marine Corps.
During the Marine Corps Forces Command ceremony at the Naval Support Activity in Norfolk, Jones handed over his command after 32 years of service, which began in 1983 as an artillery scout observer. Later he was promoted to private first class and worked his way up the ranks to become a sergeant major to lead the Marine Corps Forces Command.
His wife Angela Jones is from Oklahoma, but Jones said she loves North Carolina as well and spent a lot of her time growing up in the state.
“We expect to be home and to be contributing citizens,” Jones said about returning to North Carolina in Onslow County, right outside of Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base.
The couple have been married for more than 20 years. Together they have three children, Brandon, Brittney, and Bradley, and two grandchildren, Brayden and Brielle.
Jones plans are to do something in ministry, as well as teach at the high school or middle school level. One of his favorite subjects is history. In addition, Jones said he may add coaching football and track to some of his retirement plans.
He also mentioned that the North Carolina motto, “To be, rather than to seem,” has always been his personal motto since he first learned it in middle school. The motto has served him well and helped strengthen him in times of trouble and doubt.
“I tried to do that as a U.S. Marine and I tried to do that as a man,” he said about also being an husband and a father. “That’s worked very for me. I’m very much against trying to look the part and not be the part and put on a show.”