Huntington, Ind.—Tiffany Lloyd, a 2001 graduate of Huntington University, was beginning her third and final year studying for her Master of Divinity degree in psychology and counseling at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary when Hurricane Katrina struck.
She evacuated to Gainesville, Fla., and then to Moorestown, N.J., with a family from her church, Paul and Peggy Ferraro. Paul mentored Lloyd as she searched for a job after finishing her seminary degree online. He suggested that Lloyd join the United States Marine Corps because of her discipline, love of exercise, opportunities for travel and leadership training. After a couple months of listening to Paul talk about it, Lloyd said she began to seriously consider and pray about the option.
“Throughout the entire process, I continuously asked God for confirmations, and He faithfully sent them,” said Lloyd, a native of Huntington, Ind. “I told the Lord that I would do this if He wanted me to, but He was going to have to get me through it all. I have the desire to serve my country and make a difference in the world in a big way. I believe being a Christian in the USMC is a great way to serve God and our country.”
Lloyd began the application process in early May 2006 after going to an Officer Selection Office in New Brunswick, N.J., to talk with Marines there about the process of becoming a Marine and the jobs available within the USMC. She was officially accepted in August 2006 and went through Officer Candidate’s School and The Basic School before graduating as a 2nd Lieutenant on July 2. Currently, Lloyd is training at Communications School, which is her Military Occupational Specialty and future duty station. Lloyd said she has loved meeting new and interesting people and making lifelong friendships along the way.
“We all have a common bond,” she said. “This is a brotherhood.”
Although Lloyd has many positive experiences so far in the USMC, she also has been challenged. During Officer Candidate School, Lloyd said she had a difficult time staying mentally on track because the drill instructors would capitalize on each trainee’s weaknesses.
“I had to keep my mind focused on the fact that with God’s help I could get through this,” she said. “I was strong enough mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Relying on God wasn’t a challenge, but trusting that He would get me through the program sometimes was.”
As a female, Lloyd was required to do everything the males did, including carrying the same weight in her pack during hikes. Lloyd estimates the packs weigh nearly as much or more than she does. Lloyd also has trained in Marine Corps Martial Arts, qualified in swimming and on weapons ranges, completed obstacle and endurance courses and fired weapons, including machine guns, rifles and pistols, and thrown grenades.
Lloyd signed up for four years of active duty and four years of reserve duty. After completing training in communications, she will report to her first duty station, the 1st Marine Logistics Group in Camp Pendleton, Calif., in January as a communications officer. She could be deployed overseas to Iraq or Afghanistan as early as February. Lloyd said she is considering staying in the USMC for 20 years. She also wants to get involved in youth ministry once she is established, find a church home and get married.
Dr. Karen Jones, associate professor of ministry and missions, had Lloyd as a student in many classes at Huntington University. Jones said she was shocked when Lloyd joined the Marines because of her small build, but Jones said Lloyd is an amazing student with an outstanding work ethic and perseverance.
“She will do incredibly well with her new focus, but she hasn’t walked away from her ministry calling, just redirected her focus.”
Lloyd graduated from Huntington in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in youth ministries and a minor in piano performance. She completed her PRIME experience at First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, S.C., and continued to assist the youth minister there for two years before working toward her Master’s of Divinity in New Orleans. PRIME, or Practical Research and Immersion through Ministry Effectiveness, places students in a field ministry setting for seven months.
“When I was a student at HU, I had no idea that I would become an officer in the USMC,” Lloyd said. “It’s amazing how God works in our lives. He has always been faithful to me and continues to bring awesome people into my life. I hope to use my experiences and story to encourage and inspire other to trust in the Lord wholeheartedly.”
# # #