Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Corps Veteran Sarah “Ande” Cherry, who served as a journalist at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.
Sarah “Ande” Cherry was born and raised in Bradfordville, Florida, a few miles north of Tallahassee. Cherry chose the Marine Corps because of her appreciation of how they carried themselves and took care of one another. Cherry enlisted and spent a year in the delayed entry program.
“A lot of people who join are looking to change their life in an impactful way and find a way to positively impact the society we live in, and I think I was doing much the same,” she said.
In July 2011, Cherry attended basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island for three months, where she learned, “You can do anything for five seconds, and when that’s over, you can start another five seconds.” Cherry completed combat training at Camp Geiger in North Carolina, before heading to Defense Information School (DINFOS) at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. During DINFOS, she trained as a combat correspondent and learned about photo and print journalism. She then returned for additional training as a broadcast specialist, where she took classes in videography, radio and voice training.
Cherry served at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina for the rest of her active duty. She was part of the Headquarters Squadron and worked for the office that ran the station’s social media, website, newspaper and tours. Cherry worked as a journalist, which included writing, interviews, photography and editing. She enjoyed the unit’s comradery.
Cherry appreciated having a small role in the arrival of F-35 Lightning II jets to the station, which hosted the training squadron, Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron-501 (VMFAT-501). During her service, she received a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal and the 2013 Junior Service Member of the Year Award, awarded by the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce. However, she takes the most pride in two of her photographs being voted the Marine Corps “Top Shot” for the week.
Cherry honorably discharged in 2015 as a corporal. She’s currently finishing her bachelor’s degree in international rescue and relief at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska. She plans to build her skill set while working as an emergency medical technician (EMT), before moving into project or emergency management. Looking back, Cherry said, “My service in the Marine Corps was a defining time in my life and formative to my transition into adulthood.”
Thank you for your service!
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Writer: Aubrey Benton
Editor: Theresa Lyon
Fact checker: Patrick E. Woods
Graphic artist: Phillip Levine