I was blessed to grow up in a middle-class family, with parents who were able to live the American Dream. My father owns a second generation dry cleaning business, my mother taught public health at the University of Central Arkansas, and my sister and I grew up both dreaming big. We were members of Holy Souls parish, where my father had gone to grade school decades before and where my sister and I attended as well. I was an altar server, a boy scout, and an honor roll student. I attended Little Rock Catholic High, just as my father, uncles, and grandfather did. I was able to focus on my studies, get involved with the Marine Corps JROTC, stay active in Scouting and earn my Eagle, and set myself up for success.
In July of 1999 I accepted an appointment to the United States Naval Academy where I studied Aerospace Engineering. I participated with the Catholic Midshipmen Club, the Catholic Choir, and the USNA Silent Drill Platoon. After my sophomore year I taught the incoming class of 2005 how to shoot pistol. During my junior year, I remember walking back into my room after swim class on Tuesday and seeing the reports of the first plane impacting the World Trade Center. I watched the second plane hit, and the world I knew disappeared. All of us midshipmen had a new battle awaiting us upon graduation. I was one of thirty people selected for a Human Factors In Combat course, a deep examination of the mental and emotional preparation required of military leaders. In the summer I helped train the incoming class of 2006, the first in decades to join in time of war. I graduated the following May, and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Marine Corps.
I was assigned training in Quantico, Virginia; Pensacola, Florida; and Meridian, Mississippi before earning my Wings of Gold in 2006. At the ceremony, my grandmother pined on the same wings my grandfather himself wore in World War II. I went to Oceana, Virginia and Beaufort, South Carolina to fly the F/A-18 Hornet with the Hawks of VMFA(AW)-533. I deployed to the Western Pacific, flying along the border between North and South Korea, as well as participating in exercises in Malaysia, Thailand, and Japan. The Marine Corps assigned me to Marine Aircraft Group 40 in Helmand, Afghanistan, tasking me with scheduling air support for operations in Afghanistan, including Operation Khanjar, the largest Marine offensive since Vietnam. I returned to Meridian, MS as a flight instructor to mentor and train the next generation of Naval Aviators. In 2014 I transferred to the Marine Corps Reserves and continued to serve as a flight instructor. During the course of my carreer I've received the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, the NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan, the Presidential Unit Citation, and two Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medals.
My parents took me to church every Sunday and taught me that your faith is evident in the works you perform, and that you should treat others the way you would want to be treated. I've strived to follow these ideals my whole life. Throughout my time as a Scout I collected food for the hungry, cleaned up parks, helped with clothing drives, and volunteered to help my fellow Scouts with their service projects. Applying that servant leadership mindset made me a natural fit for the Navy and Marine Corps. At the Naval Academy I continued volunteering my time with the Catholic Midshipman Club and was elected Vice President in that group because of my work for others. As a leader in the Marine Corps I've never forgotten that I'm accountable not to the person writing my evaluation, but rather the men and women that I am charged with leading. Jenny and I served as marriage preparation facilitators in Meridian and helped several couples prepare for the lifelong commitment of Christian marriage. I've sung in the church choirs at the Naval Academy, Pensacola, Meridian, Virginia Beach, Beaufort, Japan, Afghanistan, and here in Newnan. My values drive me, shape my decisions, and I will bring them to the US Congress.
During my eleven years in the Active Duty Marine Corps I had to move seven times. I was hired by ExpressJet Airlines with the goal of advancing to Delta Air Lines and had the opportunity to live anywhere in the country. Jenny and I were both looking foward to finding the perfect place to call home, moving there, and settling down. While we have family and friends all over this great nation, we chose to settle in Newnan. We both felt drawn to the small town atmosphere and the southern hospitality, and Newnan was the perfect place to raise children. The first time we saw the square downtown Jenny told me “You’re getting a job at Delta, we’re moving to Newnan, we’re buying one of these houses near the square, and we’re staying here forever.” I agreed entirely, and we're proud to call Newnan, Georgia home.
I know what it means to be a leader, and I know the responsibilities that come with leadership. I know the importance of having health coverage - we had two very challenging pregnancies and without the health care plan I have we might not have our daughters. I know that the changing environment is creating challenges not just for our farmers, but also becoming the largest single problem facing our military. I know without education we will be unprepared for the world ahead, and that education is the great equalizer in our country, transforming hard work into continued prosperity.
Most importantly, I know that every one of the 687,745 residents of this district are people who want to see this country succeed. We all want a safe home for our children, the chance to pursue our dreams, and the opportunity to make our lives better with a little hard work. I’m committed to listening to everyone, to finding the common ground that forges the strongest policies, and ensuring that the United States remains the greatest country on Earth.
Chuck Enderlin is a member of the Marine Corps Reserves. Use of his military rank, job titles, and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Navy or the Department of Defense.