Okinawa Marines find each other, grow through the ranks together
CAMP COURTNEY, OKINAWA, Japan- “I reported in and as soon as I walked in, I saw her sitting on the left side of the office,” said then Lance Cpl. Craig Johnson. “I looked at her and said to myself ‘at some point, you have to get to know her.’”
Now Master Gunnery Sgt. Craig Johnson, a native of Lexington, Kentucky and intelligence chief with III Marine Expeditionary Force, and Master Gunnery Sgt. Veronica Johnson, a supply chief with III Marine Expeditionary Force, have been married for over 23 years. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson have been in the Marine Corps for a total of 52 years.
The Johnsons started their relationship as lance corporals and have been chasing each other through the ranks since.
“We began our relationship as lance corporals and then picked up corporal together,” said Veronica Johnson, a native of Newberry, South Carolina. ”He did pick up sergeant and staff sergeant before me, but I picked up gunnery sergeant, master sergeant and master gunnery sergeant before him.”
Growing up in the Marine Corps together encouraged the Johnsons to aim higher and reach for every goal they set.
“We ask each other, ‘What did you get on your [Physical Fitness Test]?’ and ‘What did you shoot on the range?’ always challenging each other to be better and aim higher,” said Veronica Johnson. “We’re very competitive, but it has only helped us as Marines”
According to Craig Johnson, finding a form of balance between being a Marine and having a family is all about keeping a schedule and stepping into each other’s shoes to give one another a different perspective.
“She has definitely helped me mature to be a better father, husband, friend and Marine,” said Craig Johnson. “She opens my eyes to different perspectives and helps me see the bigger picture.”
This couple has been mastering the art of balance since the moment they became a family. With five kids varying from ages 25 to three years old, ensuring their children’s health, and well-being has been their priority since day one.
“My oldest daughter is not from my husband,” said Veronica Johnson. "When I met him she was very young, but whenever anybody asked about her, he’d look at them and say, ‘she’s not mine, but she is mine’. The fact that he cared for my daughter like she was his, before we were even married, won me over.”
Despite their competitive nature, the Johnsons knew from the beginning they were going to be a strong, family focused, and motivated team.
“I knew from early on that she was the one,” said Craig Johnson. “With our personalities, we have the perfect mix. We worked so well together, I knew she could bring the best out of me, and I could bring the best out of her.”
Veronica Johnson paralleled the feeling that they were destined to be together.
“We were walking down the hallway and I turned around and then he turned around.” said Veronica Johnson. “A couple days later he asked me to a movie, and the rest is history.”
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