Robbin King is the mother of 26-year-old First Lieutenant Drexel Rashawn King, a Raleigh, NC, native and Marine who is currently based at Camp Pendleton as an Infantry Officer. Mrs. King, who has been an administrative assistant at Ravenscroft School for 10 years – and followed both of her children there – talked to Madame Noire about what it’s like being the mother of a marine, the values her son has learned through his service to the United States of America, and her advice for other parents of children who are in the service or considering joining.

What is it like being the mother of a marine?

In my case, I’ve learned to adapt and I know what to expect because when [marines] sign on, they sign on to serve our country. So with that concept in mind, it’s not a lot for me to really think about. I have to do a lot of praying because once you sign on, you’re completely committed to the cause and I understand that.

How did you instill the importance of education in your son?

Education is a very valuable tool that allows you to do a lot of things. I had to put myself through college and pay for it myself so doing anything else was unacceptable. Education was [Rashawn’s] only focus and we ingrained in him that if he went to school and got a good education, everything else would fall into place. That was his mission.

Whenever my son comes back home, one of his main objectives is to come back and talk with the children [at his former grade school] and his main topic is education. He goes around and speaks to several classrooms and his number one priority is to tell kids to get a good education and respect their parents. When kids look at Rashawn and see what he’s done with his life it encourages them and they actually start making better grades so it serves a great purpose.

When did you first recognize leadership qualities in your son?

From the day he was born. It may sound funny, but it’s the truth. When he was born he was the only little boy in the hospital who had neck control and who was looking all around and all the nurses talked about that every day. I knew then that he was going to be an alright child.

How has being a Marine strengthened these qualities?

I, personally, would encourage anyone to send their child to the marines because it’s a great foundation. They teach you fundamentals you need to know in order to survive. It’s basic survival; and they reiterated what me and my husband had been teaching my son all along. You have to train a child and you have to be there for that child and you have to be there to go through it with your child. Your child has to know that you are there with them.

What are you most proud of when it comes to Rashawn?

I am proud that my son has two beautiful sons of his own that he is raising and will watch turn into young men.

What will Rashawn teach your grandsons about education?

This is one of those things that’s not debatable. [One of his sons is] already being tutored by his wife and I pick up curriculum for him and he’s only 2. But, you train up a child in the way you would want them to go and teach them those values that would stay with them all their life. So, education is going to be extremely important for his son, and as a grandmother, I’m going to do as much as I can to help out however they need it.

What advice do you have for other Marine parents?

First of all, you have to know you want to be a marine. And once you know you want to be a marine, you have to be disciplined. As a parent, if I know that’s what my child wants, then I am going to support my child unconditionally and I am going to have to prepare myself for war. No matter where he is, I have to be there for him.

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