Growing up, Craig Yohe remembers looking up to his uncle, a Marine who served in the Chosin Reservoir as a battery commander during the Korean War.
“I knew when I first saw him in his dress blues that I wanted, at some point, to be a Marine,” says Yohe, Marine liaison and military financial counselor with $788 million asset Marine Federal Credit Union in Jacksonville, N.C.
Yohe joined the U.S. Marine Corps after high school in 1988 and served 24 years before retiring in 2011 as a sergeant major.
During his career, Yohe was deployed to Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1990 as direct support of Taskforce Ripper, the main effort of the attack. He also served on a mobile training team in South Africa, assisting with leadership schools and progression through the South African National Defense Force.
In the early 2000s, Yohe was the test director for a fleet of seven-ton trucks, where he oversaw the testing for the vehicles’ reliability, maintainability, and durability.
But it was serving as a Marine drill instructor and his two final deployments to Iraq in 2005 and 2006 that Yohe says were the most impactful.
As a senior drill instructor and a vice senior gunnery sergeant, Yohe trained thousands of recruits over the course of eight training cycles. It was an opportunity not only for Yohe to transform new recruits into Marines, but also to develop as a leader.
His final deployment to Iraq was with the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines Golf Company, where he served alongside Marines who knew there was a war.
“Those young men and women were willing to raise their right hand, knowing they’re going to fight,” Yohe says. “Having the opportunity to serve with them in combat and watch the miraculous things they did—nothing I do from here on will ever touch that.”
After he retired from the Marines, Yohe was a deputy project manager for the Marine Corps’ Counter Improvised Explosive Device program for seven years, “basically teaching Marines how to not get blown up,” Yohe says.
But it was a taxing job with significant travel, which wasn’t what Yohe envisioned for retirement.
Working with Marine Federal and assisting Marines with financial planning, budgeting, and retirement planning was a way Yohe could continue to serve the Marine Corps and prepare Marines.
“We’ve developed a great relationship with units and leadership on base with the services we provide to them,” Yohe says. “It’s having a great impact.”