Marshall James McCreary was born to Ashley and Marvin McCrary on April 22nd, 1985. Growing up an only child in Raleigh, North Carolina allowed Marshall to consume all the love, affection, and time his parents had to offer as well as all the influence they could pump into his life. An adoring mother and admirable father set the standards high for their son, developing a god-praising, hard-working young man who found happiness in fishing, hunting, camping, frisbee, football, wrestling, and most of all baseball.
Marshall was close with his mother growing up. They found common interest in literature, specifically folktales and Greek mythology, and enjoyed watching television together. Ashley, being involved in the public school system, expected academic excellence from her son and used every trick she had acquired through teaching English to high school freshman.
While Marshall and his mother had a great relationship, he was a daddy's boy from day one. Marshall and Marvin had many common interests, such as football, hunting, fishing, and most of all baseball. It may have been Marshall's natural gift at the sport which developed his love for it, or maybe it was Marvin's tales of a high school baseball career. Either way, for whatever reason Marshall developed a deep passion for baseball in his early childhood. Marvin being from Massachusetts established the Boston Red Sox as the family team. The father-son duo cherished the annual trip to Fenway Park to catch a Yankees, Red Sox rivalry series.
During his high school years, Marshall had an amusing baseball career and excellent academics. However, following graduation, he chose to follow in the footsteps of his forefathers by enlisting in the marines. At eighteen years old, Marshall packed his bags and shipped out to Parris Island, South Carolina.
Marine basic training consisted of thirteen weeks with non-stop yelling, mental and physical stress, and many tests. Marshall struggled to get to know his fellow trainees at first, due to his somewhat shy nature. He managed to overcome this shy nature in a strange, but effective way. Marshall made an effort to motivate and lead his fellow trainees and soon to become friends.
Following the thirteen weeks of basic training, Marshall was shipped out to the School of Infantry East, located at Camp Geiger, North Carolina. This consisted of an additional seven weeks of more advanced training, which focused more on-field operations rather than preparation. During his seven weeks at Camp Geiger, he learned basic combat marksmanship, grenade operation, identifying and countering improvised explosive devices, convoy operations, operations in urban terrain, tactical formations, land navigation, patrolling, and more.
Marshall's graduation from the School of Infantry marked a new step in his marine training. He continued on to Fort Story, Virginia for the five-week Basic Reconnaissance Primer Course, which aimed to select marines who were physically and mentally fit to pass the Basic Reconnaissance Course. Marshall found himself continuing onto the BRC just five weeks later, however this time he wasn't required to relocate since Fort Story also hosted the Basic Reconnaissance Course.
The Basic Reconnaissance course consisted of Marshall practicing day and night to learn how to operate behind enemy lines and how to conduct immediate action drills. Surveillance and reconnaissance skills such as photography with field and underwater cameras were also taught to Marshall, along with field sketching and range estimations. He also learned insertion/extraction techniques in Combat Rubber Raiding Crafts (CRRC) and Helicopter Rope Suspension Training (HRST). In addition, Marshall learned more in-depth readings of maps and use of compasses to ensure a marine's ability to operate efficiently in four to six-man recon teams.
Graduation from the BRC led to another transfer for Marshall's. Camp Lejeune, home of the 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company, became Marshall's new home. Here he attended many courses. but three spotlighted courses would be the Scout Sniper Course (SSC), Urban Sniper Course, and Assault Climbers Course.