Second Lieutenant David Higgins shoots his rifle in the World Championships in Granada, Spain, in September 2014.
The summer games are right around the corner, and the Marines are heading to Rio.
To earn the title ‘Marine Officer,’ you must excel in leadership, academics and physical training. For one newly commissioned Marine Corps officer, not only did he achieve his goal of earning the title Marine, he has also qualified to compete for the United States during the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Second Lieutenant David Higgins, a 21-year-old San Clemente, Calif., native, began shooting rifle at the age of 13. Once he graduated high school, he was nominated to attend the Air Force Academy, where he was presented the opportunity to shoot rifle competitively. Prior to graduation from the academy, Higgins made the decision to cross commission into the United States Marine Corps.
“My dad is a Marine, so I grew up in the Marine culture,” said Higgins. “Not only did I want to follow in his footsteps, but I also wanted to lead Marines and was more interested in the ground-based aspect of the Marine Corps.”
In April of 2016, Higgins qualified to represent Team USA in men’s 50-meter prone rifle shooting. He will compete in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this August.“This is a great way to start my Marine Corps career – on a world stage,” said Higgins.
Higgins said the Marine Corps and the Olympics are both a good fit for him because he loves competing.
"Going to the Olympics gives me the chance to compete at the highest level in the world,” Higgins said.
When Higgins returns from the Olympic Games, he will continue his career by attending The Basic School, to train and prepare for duty as a company grade officer in the operating forces.¹
Check out a history of some other USMC Olympic athletes from the 20th century.
Harry B. Liversedge
Brigadier General Harry Bluett Liversedge is remembered in the Marine Corps for his actions that led to him receiving two Navy Crosses and a Bronze Star. But he was also a track star who won the bronze medal in the shotput at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp. He later commanded the assault on Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi, culminating in the raising of the US flag on the summit, which was immortalized in one of the most reproduced photos in history.
What does the world’s greatest athlete do when he needs a real challenge? He joins the Marines. Mathias won gold in the decathlon at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics before serving as a Captain in the USMC. He went on to spend four terms in Congress as a representative for the state of California.
A member of the Oglala Lakota tribe, First Lieutenant Billy Mills was lightly regarded when he entered the men’s 10,000 Meters at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. He shocked the world by winning gold in one of the Games’ most thrilling runs. Robbie Benson portrayed Mills in the 1983 film “Running Brave” which chronicled the events surrounding the race.
Lloyd “Butch” Keaser
“Butch” Keaser became the first African American to medal in wrestling when he won silver at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. Keaser graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served five years in the Marines, rising to the rank of Captain.
Between 1981 and 1984, Greg Gibson became one of the most dominant
wrestlers in the world, medaling ten times at four International
Championships in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman. In 1982, Gibson became
the first wrestler to medal in all three wrestling styles when he
captured the gold at the Sombo World Cup Tournament. In 1983, Gibson
captured the freestyle gold medal at the Pan-American Games and was
crowned the Freestyle and Greco-Roman Champion at the World Military
Wrestling Championship in France. Gibson's incredible talent as a
wrestler reached an apex when he won the Greco-Roman Silver Medal at the
1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California.²
He represented the United States in the 2012 Olympics in London as captain of
the boxing team. Before that he served nine years in the U.S. Marines,
including two tours of duty in Iraq. Now 30, Jamel is a professional lightweight with the proud nickname "Semper Fi."³
The games kick off Friday! Follow and support Lt. Higgins and the rest of Team USA at www.teamusa.org!
¹Cpl. Logan Block, Marine Corps Recruiting Command. "Marine Officer Ready For Rio." marines.mil
²Marine Corps Community Services. "Have You Heard of These Marine Corps Olympians?" usmc-mccs.org
³Rafael, Dan. "Fighting on July 4 Weekend Is Special For Jamel Herring." ESPN.com.