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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Fort Thomas Resident Fulfills Lifelong Goal as Newly Commissioned Marine Officer

US Marine Second Lieutenant Justin Goshorn receives his command.

By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor

The family and friends of Justin Goshorn gathered in Tower Park last week to share a proud moment with him. After years of hard work and commitment, Goshorn achieved his dream, one he’d had since middle school — to serve his country as a United States Marine. In front of the Tower in the park seemed the perfect place for the Highlands High and Miami University graduate to receive his commission as a second lieutenant.

"When you hear the title United States Marine, you think of someone who is loyal, has honor, courage and commitment. When you hear the name Justin Goshorn, you think the same exact thing," said Gunnery Sergeant Jason Schowalter, who has known Goshorn since he first joined the Marine’s Officer Candidate training in 2017.

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Schowalter praised the new officer as "dynamic, hardworking and reliable...He has been directly responsible for and influenced countless individuals at Miami University through our program over the years...He will do great things for the United States Marine Corps and our country."

Keeping his sites on his goals

The journey to becoming a marine officer was not easy and not a direct path, admited Goshorn. He said he knew from an early age he wanted to go into military service. Yet, his first attempt to join up, an application to the US Naval Academy he made in high school, was rejected.

Upon graduation from Highlands in 2016, he went to Northern Kentucky University and applied to the academy again. Again, he did not get in. He transferred to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, to earn a degree in engineering, but still held onto his dream of military service.

Undaunted, he did some research and found out about the US Marines Officer Candidate School (OCS). The school is not attached to a university as ROTC programs are, but instead is administered through a Marine Corps program office. He found the regional OCS office in Covington, signed up and was accepted.

Goshorn entered a program called the Platoon Leaders Class that draws from area colleges and runs for six weeks each summer for two summers. Participants attend classes and physical training at the OCS located in Quantico, Virginia. Training is intense both mentally and physically, and designed to winnow down the field to only those who are true "officer material."

The emphasis is on decision making under pressure, often extreme and chaotic pressure. Participants are put into the toughest conditions, often without sleep, food or any directions on what to do except to figure out how to lead and to complete their mission – in other words, the goal is to simulate real-life combat conditions.

Serving the needs of the Corps

Justin Goshorn signs on to begin his officer career.
Goshorn excelled and was named Squad Leader after his first six-week training while at Miami. In that role, he became responsible for leading physical training and keeping in touch with recruits on campus. After his second training stint, he was named Candidate Platoon Commander, which made him accountable for the entire platoon that included 60 to 70 recruits from Miami, NKU, the University of Cincinnati and other area schools.

The assignment served to prepare Goshorn for his first assignment as an officer. He will join the OCS office in Covington to support recruitment and selection for the program. In September, he will attend Base School in Quantico. After that, he does not know what comes next.

When asked if he will put is engineering degree to use, he said, “Honestly, I’m not sure. Right now, my mindset is that I will serve the needs of the Corps." At this point, Goshorn says he would like to stay and build a career in the Marines, but he is practical and says he will be better able to plan his future after completing his first six-year contract.

Goshorn’s advice for young people interested in the military holds true for any goal in life. "Don’t take no for an answer. You know what is best for you. Looking back, I would do it all over the same way, take the same route."

He said he is excited to start his duties in the Covington OCS office and to begin his further training in Quantico.


  1. Robin, thank you for such a wonderful piece on our son! I hope others find it as inspiring as Justin has his career with the Corps!

  2. Thank you and Justin for sharing his inspiring story. Much appreciated!