MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
“Marine to be promoted, center!” Cpl. Carlito Maxwell marches with confidence toward the front of the room. With his head held high, shoulders rolled back, and a look of rejoice on his face; he is ready; he has been here before, and he is proud.
Maxwell, who was demoted in the dunes of Iraq, has experienced various hardships in the last couple of years. He found himself climbing the ladder to sergeant again.
As a teen, many of his peers fell to delinquency, jail time or death. Seeking his own path, he set out to find himself - ultimately becoming a United States Marine. Quickly, Maxwell stood out against his peers as a leader. He successfully completed Marine Corps Security Guard (MSG) training and began traveling the world guarding America’s embassies.
Despite his motivation to carry out his duties, he experienced tolling stresses from the work place, his personal relationships, and the desolate environment of Iraq.
“I found myself slowly caring less and less,” said Maxwell. “In Iraq, there’s nowhere to go, nowhere to run. You’re stuck with your problems.”
The young Marine turned to alcohol to numb the confinement of Iraq, and his internal struggles. One evening he found himself drinking late into the night.
“I just lost track of time, and I was feeling good. I didn’t see a reason to stop,” he said.
Maxwell reported, tired and irritable, to his place of duty the following morning. A Marine who stood duty alongside him noticed something was off and questioned his behavior. This led to a conflict between the two Marines that resulted in Maxwell’s non-judicial punishment (NJP), and was removed from the MSG program, suffered a reduction in pay and demotion.
“This was rock bottom,” Maxwell said.
Following his NJP and removal from the MSG program, he was stationed aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico (MCBQ) where he would be required to complete 12 weeks of treatment with the Consolidated Substance Abuse Counseling Center (CSACC).
He said despite the circumstances, he made it a point to remain true to himself and be the Marine he knew he could be. Maxwell’s low expectations of how he would be treated within his new unit were soon shattered by the welcoming environment of his shop.
“When Maxwell checked in I could tell immediately that he was a go-getter – somebody I could count on,” said Carolyn Noland, the plant records supervisor for MCBQ’s Telephone Branch.
Noland was not the only supervisor to immediately notice Maxwell’s character. Master Sgt. Raul Penton, G6 communications chief of Quantico’s Telephone Branch, was aware of Maxwell’s reduction in rank but considered this duty station as a “clean slate.”
“Maxwell is the kind of Marine that can take everything he has learned and apply it anywhere he goes,” said Penton. “He knows exactly what needs to be done, and when. He’s dependable; he’s my go-to guy.”
Soon after checking into his new unit, he filled the leadership position of plant records chief, supervising and managing the jobs and requests within his section. He was blessed with the birth of his daughter, March 2018. He completed his treatment with CSACC and focused on the bigger picture. To make a difference in his life and the lives of others, he participated in NCO and battalion events for the betterment of other Marines. He began volunteering at animal shelters, Toys for Tots and reading to school kids.
On the March 1, 2019, Maxwell stood in front of his subordinates, peers and leadership with the rank of sergeant resting upon his collar for the second time. In the words of Maxwell, “Know that an NJP is not the end of line. You can recover. You will.”