FAIRFIELD COUNTY — With a motto of “If you must believe in something, believe in God,” John E. Yarborough transformed from a small town boy to a disciplined soldier.
Yarborough was born the eldest son of 12 siblings and grew up in Winnsboro during the 1960s and 1970s.
“Growing up during that time was challenging being black but I learned fast,” he said.
His determination to become an inspiration for his future children helped motivate him in his younger years as did his mother, Frankie Yarborough Johnson. Her inner strength and unwavering drive was what has always stuck with him. In 1983, he took a position with the S.C. Department of Corrections.
He served as assistant supervisor at CCI for five years. He joined the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy in 1988 where he is currently serving as the Training Operations Manager. Yarborough has completed a number of law enforcement training programs to go along with his criminal justice degree from Midlands Technical College.
A few of his completed training programs are Firearm Instructors course, Sniper Instructor, Sniper Technology, Michigan State Police, Beretta Armorer course, and Certified Public Manager’s course.
To add to his list of accomplishments, Yarborough stands to boast 32 years of military service. Beginning with eight years with the National Guard and continuing with the U.S. Army Reserve, Yarborough has been serving since 1988. He completed a tour in Iraq in 2006-2007 and have been awarded numerous decorations including the Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal with 7 Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, USA Overseas Service Ribbon, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with 8 Oak Leaf Clusters, National Services Defense Medal with Bronze Star, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Non-Commissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon with four affixed, Army Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Drill Sergeant Badge and Driver/Mechanic Badge.
Yarborough is currently the Commander Sergeant Major 1-349 (LSB) at Fort Gordon, Ga. His message to young and old alike is “Believe in yourself, the only limitations in life are the limitations you put on yourself. When you have no dreams or ambitions, you have no life, so remember nothing is impossible or unattainable. You are in control of your destiny.”