JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Going back to his days as a private in Basic Combat Training, Capt. Eric Moton has never been one to rest on his laurels.
Moton has always had a desire to learn, as evidenced by the doctorate he earned in 2016, and the Army has been there to assist him throughout his quest for knowledge.
"In basic training, one of the things that a young sergeant pulled me aside and told me was, 'Hey, education is big in the military,'" said Moton, who serves as chief, Finance Division for the U.S. Army Reserve's 99th Regional Support Command headquartered here. "I took to heart everything that young Soldier told me and went ahead and enrolled in college when I got to my unit."
After several years as an active-duty chaplain assistant, Moton was selected for the Green to Gold scholarship program while deployed to Iraq. Upon redeployment, he was commissioned as an active-duty infantry officer.
"I ended up coming out of the Green to Gold active-duty program with a bachelor's degree and a master's degree," he explained.
After a well-earned year off, Moton registered for the Ph.D. program at Capella University. In 2016, Capt. Moton became Dr. Moton.
"I had two company commands and a deployment to Saudi Arabia (during the time with Capella) and was able to get my doctoral degree in business administration," Moton said.
Moton's achievements are even more remarkable when considering his early struggles with education.
"The Ph.D. is something I wanted to prove to myself. I tried to go to college prior to joining the military, but was unsuccessful," he said. "I had to take a whole bunch of placement tests starting out, including developmental math, developmental science -- I had to take pretty much every developmental course. That discouraged me from going to college at that time, and that's why I joined the military."
Moton has now joined a select group of Army Reserve Soldiers who have pursued higher education. Of all doctorates in the U.S. Army, 75 percent reside in the U.S. Army Reserve. Of all master's degrees in the U.S. Army, 50 percent reside in the U.S. Army Reserve.
Having such a highly educated force helps America's Army Reserve remain the most capable, combat-ready and lethal federal reserve force in the history of the nation.
While the Army has paid for much of Moton's education, he is currently paying out-of-pocket to pursue another master's degree, this time in information management.
"I don't plan on stopping anytime soon," said Moton, whose future roadmap includes a degree in legislative administration with an eye toward working in Congress.