Jesse Aston at his Officer Candidate School Graduation in the summer. Alongside him is his wife, Jordan Lee, and his youngest son, Psalms. Photo courtesy of Jesse Aston
A husband and the father of two children.
“We all need people. No one’s a self-made man,” Aston said. “So, we all need others in our lives. And I guess my encouragement would be — don’t fight against that. Don’t try to act like you can do it on your own.”
Aston said he is pursuing a law degree at the Caruso School of Law. Once he completes his degree, he said he will serve as a judge advocate general (JAG) in the Marine Corps, which entails legal duties such as representing people during a military court martial and providing commanders with legal advice to support military operations and decisions. In addition, Aston said he has two children and a wife, Jordan Lee, who graduated from Caruso School of Law (’19) and is a practicing attorney.
In December 2013 and January 2014, Aston performed in front of audiences as a part of Pepperdine Improv Troupe and ran for the finish line as a member of Pepperdine Cross Country, according to previous Graphic reporting. Aston graduated in the spring of 2014.
“To the me who had just graduated from Pepperdine,” Aston said. “I would charge that younger self to be patient.”
After completing his undergraduate degree, Aston said he went on to teach elementary school for five years. However, as his 28th birthday approached, Aston said it forced him to reflect on what he wanted to do.
“I had recalled from when I was younger that the age restriction for commissioning as a Marine officer was 28,” Aston said, “I either needed to do it or I needed to shut up about wanting to do it.”
Aston said he consulted Lee, his wife, about his potential enlistment and career change.
“She was super supportive, which was awesome because I hadn’t really expressed that interest to her before,” Aston said. “She had been really interested in being a foreign war correspondent. So, it was right up her alley in terms of something she would be supportive of.”
After further correspondence with a recruiter, Aston said he discovered a path combining both law and service through being a judge advocate general.
“That’s when I realized that the two interests that I’d had for quite a long time could coincide,” Aston said.
Aston said he completed Marine training during the summer.
“[The] hardest part for me, personally, was just being away from my wife and my children,” Aston said.
Although Aston said he would encounter challenges and pressures during training, he said that this only served to help refine and perfect his understanding of leadership and responsibility.
“And my biggest takeaway —and this isn’t specific to the Marines, but it’s certainly something that we cherish — which is the idea of extreme responsibility,” Aston said.
Aston said his conception of responsibility involves how a leader reacts to both success and failure. Aston said he was taught a good leader does not bathe in praise but rather accredits success to their subordinates, and takes the blame and responsibility for failures.
“Life’s hard. It’s harder if you’re stupid,” Aston said. “Life is hard enough on its own, and we tend to make it harder by pursuing things that aren’t really sustaining of life. And so, I think my biggest encouragement would be: seek out responsibility because responsibility is what makes life meaningful.”
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