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Clayton State alum returns for USMC commissioning

— An honors graduate of Clayton State University recently returned to the school’s main campus to begin his military career.

Jonesboro resident John Lewis Morrow chose Clayton State as the site of his commissioning as a second lieutenant in the United State Marine Corps. Morrow graduated from the university in May 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in biology.

Now-U.S. Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Morrow accepted his commission during a commissioning ceremony which took place at the Lawson Amphitheater on the Clayton State campus.

The commissioning ceremony is a formal ceremony where Marine Corps officer candidates transition from their candidate status to that of a second lieutenant.

Following the ceremony, Morrow conducted his own “pinning ceremony” and enlisted the help of his parents, Daniel and Cheryl Morrow, and his wife, Anna Morrow, to pin the gold bars, the insignia of a Second Lieutenant, on his uniform. At that time, he also received his first salute from an enlisted Marine and his orders from his commanding officer.

Morrow said his choice of using the Clayton State campus as the site of his commissioning was a natural one. His parents met at Clayton State, and Morrow and he also met his wife at Clayton State. They were married by Swan Lake.

The Officer Selection Officer, Captain Andrew Smith, spoke highly of Morrow when he addressed those in attendance by acknowledging the hard path Morrow chose to take in becoming an officer. Typically, candidates will take the easy road by finishing college first and then entering Officer Candidate School.

Morrow chose to enter OCS while in the middle of his college career, which meant he had the added burden of excelling at OCS while keeping his grade-point average at the level needed to qualify for a commission.

Morrow achieved both.

A tutor at the Center for Academic Success during his undergraduate years at Clayton State, Morrow previously graduated OCS in August 2011. OCS is a 10-week course designed to train, screen, and evaluate potential marine officers.

“After graduation from OCS, I left Quantico and arrived in Georgia a day before I began fall classes of my senior year,” he explains.

Morrow will now go on to Platoon Commanders School, TBS Quantico, and then Flight school, NAS Whiting Field Pensacola, as the next step in his military career.