MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. – In the world’s strongest fighting force, only a select few can say they’ve earned a second-degree black belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.
Staff Sgt. Jeremy Meadows is one of the few who proudly wear two red tabs here.
Before enlisting in the Marine Corps, Meadows -- a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program instructor trainer with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462 and a Lubbock, Texas, native -- earned a black belt in taekwondo. When he joined, MCMAP was still new and unknown to many Marines.
During his grey belt training, the challenging physical training and combat conditioning was something that made MCMAP fun, Meadows said.
“I got my green belt instructor tab in 2006,” he said. “From that point, I got back to my command and started training Marines, and I fell in love with it. I like being in the dirt with the Marines. I would do that any day of the week.”
The course is designed not only to prepare Marines for hand-to-hand combat, but also to add to the quality of the Corps as a whole. MCMAP is based on a synergy of three elements: physical fitness, mental strength and soundness of character.
“I try to style my life around the three synergies,” Meadows said. “I just keep that in my mindset and try to better myself that way.”
Meadows said he constantly sustains and passes his knowledge to other Marines, noting that it’s pointless to have knowledge and skills but not share them with others. “You do know a few things, but what do you have to prove?” he added. “You should use those techniques to help other people.”
Meadows wouldn’t expect anything out of his Marines that he could not do himself, said Marine Corps Cpl. James Vandling, a green belt MCMAP instructor and a Randolph, N.J., native.
Marine Corps Cpl. Daitoine Austin, an operations noncommissioned officer with HMH-462, said Meadows is the type of Marine his subordinates should strive to be.
“I take a lot from his leadership style,” said Austin, who hails from Cleveland. “You don’t have many Marines that will go the distance to better Marines. He’s not afraid of a challenge, and he’s definitely not afraid of change.”
Meadows said he uses what he knows as a martial arts instructor trainer and as a staff NCO to better the upcoming generation and ensure the legacy of greatness continues.
“I hope they take bits and pieces of my leadership style and apply it to theirs and strive every day to lead by example,” he added. “You have to step in front and show your Marines that you’re willing to do everything they do.”