LAKE FOREST, Calif. --
On June 30th, 1992, Joshua D. Knauber was born right outside Buffalo, New York. Knauber was not given the tools for success at the beginning of his childhood. At the young age of four years old, Knauber went into foster care with his sister and brother. He spent the next four years of his life in foster care before being adopted with his brother at eight years old, but unfortunately, his sister was adopted by a different family.
When Knauber was just 13 years old, his adoptive mother was accused of a crime. By the time he was 14, his mom had gone to jail, but was released early for good behavior. In 2011, after graduating high school, Knauber was kicked out of his house at the age of 17 years old. Unprepared for such a change, Knauber ended up getting three jobs as a gas station clerk, butcher assistant, and an assistant at a poultry farm. At the age of 18, Knauber started his first year at community college.
“At that point in my life, I was sleeping in my truck,” said Knauber. “Sometimes, on rare occasions, I’d take a blow up mattress to a friend's place to sleep on their floor.”
Knauber was attending college to get his degree in business and accounting. After receiving ill advice from his advisor about his class credits, Knauber found himself falling behind in school. After realizing this, Knauber turned to an internship for accounting to get some hands-on experience.
“I’ve always loved and have been very successful when it comes to math,” explained Knauber. “Which is why I went into accounting, but I found it to be so boring after my internship.”
After disliking his experience with accounting, Knauber was drawn to the Marine Corps because of job opportunities in the engineering and aerospace engineering career fields.
“My love for math is something that pushed me towards the Marine Corps,” explained Knauber. “I knew I could get a job that I’d really like in the engineering field. I scored an 88 on my armed services vocational aptitude battery test and was given the military occupational specialty, aviation mechanic.”
During Knauber’s time trying to get into the Marine Corps’ delayed entry program (DEP), he was still living out of his truck. Darien Center, New York, the city Knauber was living in, was in the midst of their winter when he was finally able to enlist into the Marine Corps.
“I was able to enlist into the Marine Corps in March, but I told my recruiter I was ready to leave as soon as possible,” said Knauber. “I hadn’t truly realized the situation I was in until I was sleeping in my truck at a Walmart parking lot. I was woken up early in the morning by a young teenager telling me my truck was on. I’ll never forget the feeling I had when that happened and I knew I was ready for a change.”
Knauber shipped to recruit training in April of 2013 where he graduated with Bravo Company. Since then, he has spent nine years in the Marine Corps. Currently, he is a recruiter out of Recruiting Sub-Station Lake Forest, Recruiting Station Orange County.
“I look at these kids who have an interest in the Marine Corps or may not understand that this is an option; it lets me reflect on my past,” said Knauber. “I truly see the value in being able to help these kids and assist them seeing the Marine Corps as an opportunity.”
Knauber expressed his gratitude for the opportunity he was given to become a United States Marine.
“When you come from a broken home, to the Marine Corps, it is a life changer,” explained Knauber. “You come into this organization that provides a stable home and you basically join a huge family. I went from being a loner living in my truck, to having a place to stay and people to rely on.”
No matter someone's background or the challenges they have faced in life, there is always a way to improve it. The Marine Corps is filled with Marines who come from all walks of life, yet they still treat each Marine as if they are family.
“The biggest thing I would tell people is that, ‘you’re not your situation,’” said Knauber. “Realize you have control of the thing that is happening to you, and if you focus on making yourself just 1% better every day, then you’ll find yourself being successful in the long run. The Marine Corps helped me learn that.”