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Copperas Cove graduates defend nation on Independence Day

By Wendy Sledd

Special to Leader-Press


The United States of America is described as the land of the free and the home of the brave.  As the nation celebrates its 246 birthday this year, freedom is maintained by U.S. citizens volunteering to defend the country.

Copperas Cove High School 2017 graduate Second Lieutenant Kameron Gaskin serves in the U.S. Marine Corps and is stationed in Twentynine Palms, California. The logistics officer has one year of active duty under his belt and has already lived on three different bases. 

“I come from a military family so moving around has not been an issue for me. Twentynine Palms is one of the bases most Marines try to avoid because it is literally in the middle of the desert. I actually enjoy it here for the most part because being isolated out here forces us to bond more. Everyone is going through (this) together,” Gaskin said. “Plus, there’s not as many distractions compared to a more population dense area. So, it’s easier to focus on self-improvement.”

Despite attending high school next to the world’s largest Army installation, Fort Hood, Gaskin chose to join the Marines.  

“Objectively speaking, the Marine Corps is better than every other branch. We do more with less, and we do it better,” Gaskin said. “I never really had to decide what branch to join because there’s no other branch I considered joining.” 

Gaskin graduated from the University of North Texas and majored in Music Education. 

“I love music, but I’m truly passionate about education and mentorship. I knew that as an officer in the Marine Corps, I would be able to educate and mentor the best young people our country has to offer,” Gaskin said. “The Marine Corps is everything I thought it would be. Marines join knowing all our equipment is old army equipment. We have the smallest budget, the worst barracks, and the most difficult training. But, with all of that comes a bond thicker than blood and a group of individuals who would go to the ends of the earth and back for the Marines on their left and right. For every moment I’ve had where I thought ‘Man, this really sucks,’ I’ve had another moment thinking, ‘Wow, I love the Marine Corps.’

Copperas Cove High School 2020 graduate Dustin Jacoby joined the U.S. Army straight out of high school. He is stationed is Ansbach, Germany and repairs Apache helicopters. 

“I chose the Army because all of my family has served in the Army and this branch of service also had the job I was seeking,” Jacoby said. “Being stationed in Germany has its positives but also some negatives. I still get to talk to my family, but definitely not as much as I would like to. 

“As far as being in Germany, I absolutely love it.  The people and the culture are amazing and being able to travel anywhere in Europe is just a few hours is probably my favorite part,” Jacoby said. “The military is exactly what I thought it would be but also much more. I feel like I have a second family. Everyone looks out for one another no matter what the situation is. It is honestly a great time and experience.”

Copperas Cove High School 2022 graduate Ethan Provost joined the Navy upon graduation. He reports for military duty on July 6.

“My dad was already in the service and I wanted to follow in his footsteps but choose a little bit of a different path. I really didn’t have a concrete reason for going in the Navy,” Provost said. “I just liked what they stand for and who they are. Serving means being able to honestly give back to my country from what it’s given to me.”

Provost does not know yet where he will be stationed, but he hopes through his military career he will be stationed in Japan or England to experience the culture of those countries. 

“I’m so excited and can’t wait to join,” Provost said. “I hope to gain experience from other sailors. I want to travel so I can experience life for all it truly has to offer.”

According to Defense Department data, Copperas Cove ranks seventh in the nation for having the most military recruits.  Killeen ranks fourteenth. 

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