St. Croix is a relatively tiny island in the Virgin Islands. The beauty of this island is renowned, with people from around the world traveling many miles to witness this beauty firsthand. With so much beauty being a birthright for Crucians, it can be hard to believe that anyone would want to leave behind this island home.
For native-born Crucian, U.S. Army Maj. Anthony John, a 1984 graduate of St. Croix Central High School, the shores of St. Croix will always be home, but it was never his life’s final destination. John is the command occupational safety and health officer for the United States Army Reserve Theater Support Group- Pacific. He is responsible for the administration and operation of the Safety and Occupational Health Program for units located in Korea, Japan, American Samoa, Guam, Saipan, Hawaii and Alaska, spanning seven time zones.
“As long as I can remember, I always wanted to see more of the world,” said John. “I remember being a small child and reading the ‘World Book Encyclopedia.’ I’d travel all around the world in those books, and I always wanted to see these places with my own eyes.
“When I wasn’t reading, I used to run my own shoeshine stand in the busy city center in downtown Christiansted,” said John. “To get good tips, you had to learn how to be good with people, and you had to learn to talk. By talking to the tourists from all over, it gave me a more worldly perspective; it only added to my hunger to travel.
“My mother raised my seven siblings and [me] as a single parent,” said John. “She worked so hard to make sure we had a better life, and watching her work so hard made me want to better myself, made me want to have more for me and my family. She showed me the meaning of hard work, and she also showed me the most important reason to work hard: family.”
In July, he made the selection list of soldiers to be promoted to major. This most recent promotion is only the most recent milestone in a long and well-traveled career. With over 23 years served, John’s Army career has brought him all around the world.
“Since I made captain six years ago, the Army Reserve has brought me to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Korea, Ireland, Germany, Kuwait and Iraq and all over the U.S,” said John. “Being a public affairs officer has given me the opportunity to tell the Army Reserve story from all corners of the earth.” “Now, as the safety officer for Army Reserve in three countries, four states and territories, I look forward to help[ing] other soldiers adapt a safe, healthy lifestyle.
“As I remain ready, willing and able, I possess the desire, effort and satisfaction knowing each person that I encounter in my duties, I have a chance to effect positive change.” After all, John said, “Sharing is caring!”
His family is his wife, Yuki, and son, Paul, and of course, his mom, Christine Walters. For without her decisive input during his childhood days, there would be no son named Anthony John.
“My family is my home,” said John. “I’ve traveled far and wide, but I never feel lonely, because I take my family with me, if not physically, they’re with me in my heart, and they manifest their presence in the actions that I do.”
For John, his promotion brings him full circle, from a humble childhood on a tiny island in the Caribbean, to another tiny island in the middle of the Pacific. The common denominator in both locales, however, is the values that motivate his journey.
“For me, the most important thing in life is love and family,” said John. “Serving in the Army has brought me around the world, but regardless of where I go, I take the values I learned at home everywhere I go.”
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