November 3, 2003 - The Daily Sentinel: One twin joined the Peace Corps, the other the Marines

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2003: November 2003 Peace Corps Headlines: November 3, 2003 - The Daily Sentinel: One twin joined the Peace Corps, the other the Marines

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-25-92.balt.east.verizon.net - 151.196.25.92) on Monday, November 03, 2003 - 10:48 am: Edit Post

One twin joined the Peace Corps, the other the Marines





A few months ago we ran a story about a Marine who visited his Peace Corps daughter working in Nicaragua and admitted he'd been awakened to the rigors of volunteering. "The Peace Corps is no joke. It's truly hardcore," said retired Staff Sgt. Gregory McCurtis while on his way back to the United States. "Nothing I experienced in the Marines comes close."

Now read this story from the Daily Sentinel about Jackie and Becky Carter, twin sisters who are taking on the world in different ways. Jackie returned home after serving with the Marine Corps in the war with Iraq. Becky came back from Africa after she suffered whiplash in a car accident while volunteering in the Peace Corps. Steve Carter said he and his wife, Georgia, are proud of both daughters:

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"We encouraged them to do something important. We're glad they both succeeded," he said. "It's just kind of ironic that the one who got hurt was the one in the Peace Corps" instead of the one who went to war.

Steve Carter said he didn't expect either daughter to end up where she is now. "I was in the Peace Corps in the late 60s, but as you get older you don't think your kids will ever want to do what you did," hesaid. "What each of them did was all on their own, though."


Read and comment on the story at:

Twins take on world in different ways*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.



Twins take on world in different ways

By MIKE McKIBBIN The Daily Sentinel

RIFLE Growing up, Jackie and Becky Carter of Rifle did what all young sisters do they fought.

Twins, Jackie was born seven minutes before Becky.

"Becky was always much bigger than me. She'd always beat me up," Jackie Carter said.

Now 24, the Carter twins recently saw each other for the first time in nearly a year.

Jackie returned home after serving with the Marine Corps in the war with Iraq. Becky came back from Africa after she suffered whiplash in a car accident while volunteering in the Peace Corps. Steve Carter said he and his wife, Georgia, are proud of both daughters.

"We encouraged them to do something important. We're glad they both succeeded," he said. "It's just kind of ironic that the one who got hurt was the one in the Peace Corps" instead of the one who went to war.

Becky called her sister "an excellent Marine, a good officer. But when she's around me, she's so funny and goofy."

As kids, Jackie was more of a tomboy than Becky, Georgia Carter said. When Jackie was ordered to Kuwait, her mother understood.

"I was a Navy brat when I was growing up with my dad," she said.

Jackie's interest in the military started on a family trip to Washington, D.C., when she and her sister were about 12.

"One of the things I remember is a video about Annapolis (Md.) and the Naval Academy," she said.

Jackie was commissioned as a Marine Corps officer in June 2001. She is now a first lieutenant with the 7th Engineers Support Battalion at Camp Pendleton in San Diego.

In charge of 45 Marines, she was among the first to cross from Kuwait into Iraq when the war began in March. Jackie led her platoon through an "obstacle belt" to disable electric fences so armored vehicles and ground troops could enter Iraq. Bulldozers filled in ditches for the troops, she said.

"I was scared and a number of times apprehensive," Jackie said. "We were about two or three days behind the intense stuff."

She learned a lot, too.

As a Marine, "you have to let go of how scared you might be and have the confidence to lead these men. You learn a lot about character and how to deal with yourself in some pretty intense situations."

Most of their time was in the southern Iraq city of Ad Diwania, where her platoon helped rebuild a university.

"It was very rewarding, and the students were very excited to be able to return to school," Jackie said. "I like to think we helped them recover in some small way. We tried to do the most with what we had while we were there."

From October 2001 until this month, the twins found themselves in the same time zone while Becky taught secondary school in Tanzania.

"I called her a few times in April or May, but the satellite phones they gave us kept cutting out after a few minutes," Jackie said. "But it was good to hear her voice."

During the war, Becky didn't have any news to keep her informed, "so I worried a lot."

Becky ended up in the Peace Corps because she didn't know what she wanted to do when she graduated from college.

"I knew I didn't want to get a job or go to graduate school, and my dad had talked about his time in the Peace Corps in Colombia," she said. "Then one of my professors suggested the Peace Corps, too."

"I was very glad I was sent (to Africa)," Becky said. "The people are so wonderful, caring and supportive. It's a peaceful country" despite conflicts in neighboring countries that often sent refugees into Tanzania.

"Our parents always encouraged us to be independent. When I was in the village as the only white person, it was helpful to know I could depend on myself to do things," Becky said. "Our cultures are just very different. All my students ranged in age from 18 to 25."

She also fell in love and is engaged to marry one of her students.

Jackie was scheduled to return to Camp Pendleton at the end of October to complete the last year and a half of her enlistment.

"Then we'll see what happens," she said of her plans. "I got so much out of the experience, but I missed Colorado a lot. Driving through the mountains when the leaves were changing really helped me feel like myself again."

Becky will return to Tanzania to be with her fiance. The couple may move to the United States after their wedding.

The twins "have seen and gone to more places at the age of 24 than I did myself," Georgia Carter said.

Steve Carter said he didn't expect either daughter to end up where she is now.

"I was in the Peace Corps in the late 60s, but as you get older you don't think your kids will ever want to do what you did," he said. "What each of them did was all on their own, though."



June 6, 2003 - Pentagram: Marine Staff Sergeant says the Peace Corps is "truly hardcore"





Read and comment on this story from the Pentagram on June 6, 2003 about retired Staff Sgt. Gregory McCurtis who recently visited his daughter working in Nicaragua with the Peace Corps and admits he's been awakened to the rigors of volunteering. "The Peace Corps is no joke. It's truly hardcore," said McCurtis while on his way back to the United States. "Nothing I experienced in the Marines comes close."

His daughter, 22-year-old Keisha McCurtis lives in a remote part of Nicaragua called Boca de Sabalos, Rio San Juan, where she is an hour's travel through dense jungle to the nearest village with another Peace Corps volunteer. "It's very remote and isolated. There's nothing there but trees, trees and more trees," said McCurtis. "Rarely did the Marines ever put you out there with nothing. We had field sanitation and radios ... you felt the force of the U.S. government backing you up," he said. "Where my daughter is right now? whatever is there, is there. It's a very do-it-yourself environment." Read the story at:


Hard to the Corps:*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.



Hard to the Corps:
Daughter teaches retired Marine about roughing it

by Spc. Chuck Wagner
Task Force-Bravo

When you think of roughing it in the bush as part of the Corps, the first thing that comes to mind is the Marine Corps -- not the Peace Corps.

A retired Marine recently visited his daughter working in Nicaragua with the Peace Corps and admits he's been awakened to the rigors of volunteering.

"The Peace Corps is no joke. It's truly hardcore," said retired Staff Sgt. Gregory McCurtis while on his way back to the United States. "Nothing I experienced in the Marines comes close."

His daughter, 22-year-old Keisha McCurtis lives in a remote part of Nicaragua called Boca de Sabalos, Rio San Juan, where she is an hour's travel through dense jungle to the nearest village with another Peace Corps volunteer.

"It's very remote and isolated. There's nothing there but trees, trees and more trees," said McCurtis, who traveled space available in mid-May to Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, as he made a winding way to Nicaragua.

McCurtis' career in the Marines took him to many corners of the globe including Somalia, Kenya, Japan and Korea. This did not prepare him for the lifestyle his daughter accepted to help a village of about 1,500 residents.



Caption: Volunteers live in remote parts of Nicaragua where they are an hour's travel through dense jungle to the nearest village with another Peace Corps volunteer.

There are no roads, only dirt paths. No plumbing, only outhouses that amount to little more than a hole in the ground. Only a few of the wooden huts supported on stilts have access to spotty electrical service. The nearest phone is several hours by boat. The nutritional mainstays are beans and rice, or a chicken butchered on the spot.

"Rarely did the Marines ever put you out there with nothing. We had field sanitation and radios ... you felt the force of the U.S. government backing you up," he said. "Where my daughter is right now ? whatever is there, is there. It's a very do-it-yourself environment."

And it's unlikely the military would send a soldier to such an isolated village alone.

"The toughest thing for her is the lack of intellectual stimulation. Even though she speaks the language, the conversation is usually very straight-forward and simple," McCurtis said, imitating a typical exchange. "What are you doing? I'm cooking. Oh, you're cooking. Yeah." Silence.

She does a lot of reading, he noted.

McCurtis lugged several bags of supplies for his daughter, in which he packed bug spray, mosquito netting, sandals, boots, batteries and a book on resident mid-wifery, which is his daughter's main task in the village.

McCurtis' trip to Boca de Sabalos involved several days of expedition-like travel he compared to scenes in the movies "African Queen" and "Romancing the Stone," all to spend just 24 hours with his daughter.

From Soto Cano, he took the base shuttle service to the Tegucigalpa Airport where he boarded a flight to Managua, Nicaragua.

There, he hopped on a Cessna 208B, a plane that holds only about a dozen passengers. It landed on a dirt runway in San Carlos, Nicaragua. To reach Boca de Sabalos, he travelled several hours in a boat.

"You learn in life -- the more remote and isolated a place is, the more beauty there is. It's incredible to experience first-hand the serene beauty of it all," he said of his float beneath the jungle canopy.

"At the same time, there is disease, pestilence, the whole nine yards. When we got to the village, I saw a lot of amputees, or people deformed at birth from vitamin deficiencies."

Several bottles of vitamins were also in the goody bag intended for his daughter.

His daughter is likely to finish out her full two-year service, although several other volunteers who traveled to Nicaragua at the same time have already quit.

"I guess in that way, it's a little easier than the Marines. We couldn't walk away when we didn't like it," he joked.

"She was realistic going in, knowing she can't save the world, but that she can make a small difference. She understood her purpose was mostly to educate. Teaching lasts a lifetime. Her work only lasts while she's there," he said.

Growing up with a semper fidelis father also helps.

"With her, 'uncle!' is not an option. She's the kind who thinks once you start something you finish it," he said.

McCurtis works with the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego. After returning home, he might need to brush up on crocodile-fighting skills -- he has another child who intends to study in Australia.




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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Tanzania; Multi-generational; Marines

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