At age 17, Marvin Cadet, of Netcong, joined the Army National Guard.
"I didn’t have any prospects for college but knew I wanted to go," says Cadet, now a student at County College of Morris (CCM)."The recruiter said the military would help pay for it." Within a month of joining, he was deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for a year.
Upon returning, he enrolled at CCM, but in his first semester was called to New Orleans for a month to help with the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.When he returned from that mission, he had to drop half of his classes due to time lost, but remained determined to continue his education.Then in 2007, he received orders to ship out for Operation Iraqi Freedom, a one-year tour with eight months of active service in southern Iraq.
"It takes two weeks to acclimate to the temperature," Cadet says."The heat hits you like turning on an oven to 400 degrees and sticking your face inside." While stationed there, he drove an armored fighting vehicle in convoys.
"Every day, whenever we went out, we knew it could be our last mission," Cadet says."You had to make sure you were okay with your friends and family – and try to be safe." He completed his military service and returned to CCM."I wanted to combine a degree with my military experience to get ahead in this economy."
CCM counselors helped him adjust to civilian life."The staff here are very supportive," he says."They assisted in the GI Bill administrative process.They also motivated me to stay in school." He is finding hybrid classes, classes taken online and on-site, very helpful for completing his education.
"I was really hesitant about my transition back into school," Cadet says."The friendliness and support at CCM helped me above everything else.I’m not student number 5,825; I’m Marvin.They always greet me with ‘Hey Marvin, how are you doing?’ They care."
Cadet’s major is digital media."My ideal job would be as a television sports announcer, but I would be happy with anything in advertising and marketing," says Cadet, whose military training and gregarious nature are good fits for those careers.