Military Profile - Samuel Cunningham
In what branch of the military did you or do you serve and during what years?
I served in the Marine Corps from April 1982 to December 2002.
What is/was your rank?
I retired as a gunnery sergeant.
What led you to join the military?
My dad was a Marine and I spent many days looking at his old boot camp book. I knew it was a tough organization and I wanted to be a part of something elite.
What is the most valuable lesson you've gained from your military service?
I think anything that I can look at as success in my life can be attributed to my lessons learned in the Corps. At the center of the lessons I value most are discipline, importance of being prepared and leadership — teaching those who will follow you.
What are some medals, commendations, citations or other military honors you are proud of having earned?
I received a lot of awards and decorations over the years, but the three I am most proud of are the Kuwait Liberation and Southwest Asia medals for service in Desert Storm, and the Meritorious Service Medal, because I believe it signifies distinguished service over a career.
What would be your advice to someone considering or planning a career in the military?
I was a recruiter for three years in the military, so my advice to those considering joining is simple. Join because you believe that the military can make you a better person and that you believe you will enjoy being a soldier, marine, airman or sailor. If you join solely because you want to go to school or have a specific job, the military “stuff” will be seen as a burden and you will quickly become weary of it all. Understand that your commitment goes well beyond just showing up each day.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I enjoy astronomy, teaching, fitness events and computers.
Immediate family members?
I have my mom, who lives in Las Cruces, N.M., and one son (20) and one daughter (18), who live in Texas.