Drake Adam Fontenot, 26, is a six-year veteran of the Marine Corps and student at North Carolina State University. After being honorably discharged, Fontenot moved to Raleigh, North Carolina and bought a dog.
In the Marines, Fontenot was an infantry squad leader, in charge of five Marines. Now, Fontenot works in the university’s Veteran’s Affairs office in addition to majoring in Nutritional Sciences.
In addition to his single housemate, another Marine veteran, Fontenot lives with his Australian Shepherd, Caliber. “He’s been great for me. I can come home and know I’m loved. I just want him to be the silliest, goofiest dog out there. And he is that. And he loves everyone. I’m not trying to sound like I’m whining, But civilian life is hard. It's so lonely sometimes. I'm single and I feel like I can barely talk to the people at my school because I'm so much older than them."
Fontenot reads up on his notes before the start of his class. The majority of the rest of the students in the class are ROTC cadets (the students in red shirts), who will eventually be military officers. “I’m 26 and I’m going to school with people who are eight years younger than me. I see that generation gap everyday. The ROTCs, ‘The Future Defenders of America’ all think their shit don’t stink.”
While watching TV, Fontenot practices aiming his pistol, which he keeps beside his bed. Fontenot keeps another in his car at all times.
Fontenot holds his dog, Caliber, as he watches ESPN in the morning. “I tell people I’m just a single dad trying to make it with my son,” laughs Fontenot. “Little do they know my son is my dog.” On his shoulder, Fontenot had his interpretation of a Guardian Angel tattooed.
In order to make it to his 8:30 a.m. class, Fontenot has to leave his house an hour before. Hanging from his car’s mirror are tokens from his time in the Marines, such as his unit’s cord, the French Fourragere, given to the 5th and 6th Marines Regiments after their actions in World War One. On his dashboard are two pictures of his family members, one of his newborn niece, the other his cousin, who was killed in a bar fight last year.
Fontenot and Caliber take a break at a dog park. “I’ve been single for six years, man,” said Fontenot. “This whole college thing isn't what I thought it was going to be like. But I got Caliber. And I’m sure I’ll make it one day.”