Cdt. James W. Marston, University of Kentucky, is not only a Cadet at Cadet Summer Training (CST), but a history major and member of the Kentucky Army National Guard. From rural Owen County, Marston comes from a family with military history, stands in the top of his battalion and exemplifies the model of military values.
Marston’s accomplishments are numerous but none measure up to the accomplishment of his character. James’ Professor of Military Science at the University of Kentucky, Lt. Col. Thomas Krupp, spoke highly of his character in Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (ROTC) activities.
“Cdt. Marston has the mindset to be part of a team but also to be a mentor and leader. He is dedicated, professional, adaptable, driven, motivated, is always smiling and never fails to provide thoughtful intelligent feedback. He does really well under pressure and has a steady even keel about him no matter what the situation” said Krupp.
Marston’s character and performance earned him the role of Command Sgt. Maj. of the UK ROTC Battalion, the highest leadership position given to Cadets in their Junior year. With this role on his resume and a GPA of over 3.5, it is no surprise that Marston was selected for not one, but two ROTC missions this summer in addition to the required Advanced Camp CST at Fort Knox.
The first part of his summer was spent in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa for the Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency Program (CULP) learning from their military and teaching English.
Marston said he was impacted by his time in the Congo on a personal level.
“I’m really glad I went. We mostly helped teach English at the Congolese American Language Institute (CALI). It’s a different world over there. Even though they don’t have all the material possessions we have, they are just as happy. Coming back home I’m just proud to be an American and to be blessed with the things we have. It makes some of the problems we have in America seem petty,” said Marston.
CULP Cadets are chosen from the top performing Cadets of a battalion. The same applies for Cadets chosen to attend additional training schools such as Air Assault school, which James attended in the middle part of his summer. There, Marston learned pathfinder operations, rappelling and how to sling load from a helicopter.
“My grandfather was in WWII and growing up he always told stories, so he’s probably my biggest motivation for joining the military. I’ve grown personally and professionally through ROTC. If you want something you just have to be ambitious and ask for it but you have to work hard,” said Marston.
As if his ROTC accomplishments aren’t enough, Marston has lofty goals to go to law school and become a judge. When asked about his motivation, he had this to say:
“Not only can I defend my country physically but I can defend their constitutional rights here at home”
However, Marston was quick to credit his family for how far he’s come.
“Even though they’re Louisville fans they supported me when I wanted to do ROTC at UK. I’m blessed to have such a great family that loves and supports me in anything I do. They’ve taught me so much and i’m really grateful for all of them,” said Marston
Feelings were mutual as James’s family was more than happy to weigh in how about proud of him they are.
His brother Glen Albert has seen James’s performance as a soldier first hand.
“We were in the same unit for a few years and I can tell you that he impressed every Soldier there and continues to do so. Most people can’t believe we are brothers, due to how squared away he truly is. Personally, I’m a little biased, but I know what a good soldier and bad soldier looks like. James treats all higher ups with respect, excels in every aspect of being a soldier, and is easily one of the brightest future officers we have in the Kentucky National Guard. The sky is truly the limit for someone like him. I’m very proud of him,” said Glen.
Breann, Marston’s sister, said his most important attribute has to be his love for Christ.
“Even at a very young age, he was sharing the love of Jesus with classmates.” Breanne added, “James has always been a humble guy. Never one to boast or talk too much. He has a great heart for God, his country, and his family. When he was little, he would always be playing army so we knew he would commit to some sort of military training, it was just a matter of when and where. We are so very proud of all he has accomplished so far. We know he is going to continue to do great things in the military and in life.”
His mother, Carla, spoke about his love for military history.
“James has always wanted to be a soldier. He sat on his Papaw Clifton’s lap and listened to his stories from when he served in the Army during WWII. When James traveled to Israel, he said that when he stood on the top of Masada he thought ‘I am standing where Roman soldiers stood!’ James is an avid reader and writer and he loves the Lord. He is a loyal friend to many and goes out of his way to help them” said Carla.
Humble to the core, Marston provides an admirable example of American pride and a love for Christ. His accomplishments as both soldier and civilian are impressive but evaluators say it’s his ability to fulfill the roles of leader and follower that make him stand out.