“Sit up straight and look at me!” The welcoming committee had arrived at our van aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. Ever seen a 15-passenger van emptied so quickly? Actually, I don’t know how quickly it was emptied since I was the third guy who got off. I can envision two or three guys getting clotheslined by the seatbelts on their way out, but I digress. The welcoming committee gave us a very loud speech before corralling us to giant metal doors they called “hatches”. We were about to enter through doors we would never enter through again; the doorway to becoming a United States Marine.
It was a cold but rather lovely evening (or by that time it was morning). The welcoming committee permitted a phone call home, provided new clothes, and a free haircut. There was a green bag they gave us filled with all sorts of stuff that quickly became an inconvenience to carry. We carried it everywhere. At one point the committee disappeared while leaving our group behind what looked like a back dock service area. I looked at the stars on that clear night and knew God would be the one to get me through.
Same day/night/morning, different location. We hastily ran (with those green bags no less) to a brick building with no beds. The welcoming committee dwindled to one fella wearing a hat similar to Smokey the Bear. Did this man kill Smokey? ? He left us alone and a very tall, funny looking guy decided to give an impromptu speech. Everyone was speechless, but not because the speech was impressive (most certainly not). Everyone was speechless because it was still the middle of the night/morning and the welcoming committee was still making us lug these green bags around.
A random bunch of similarly situated guys showed up to the same room we were in. Was this a test? Did we need to fight them or something? Best keep to ourselves and wait for something to happen. Boom! Something happened. We were suddenly running with our green bags all across creation until we came to another brick building. The door they corralled us through showed us a similar, large room with bunk beds, pillars, and what looked like a runway from one end to the other.
Still the same night/morning. We were finding ourselves a bed which the welcoming committee called a “rack”. Not only were the beds unmade, but another fella with a Smokey the Bear hat decided (in the middle of the night/morning) that we were going to have an in-depth bed making lesson. Clearly this place was not about convenience. We made those beds and then 13 weeks passed by and everyone (with the exception of about five) became United States Marines.
More or less that was my first night at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. That was nine years ago! Even to this day it is funny to think about that time and the entire boot camp experience. I am thankful for God getting me through tough times and for the prayer support I had from the folks back home. Your prayers and letters really made a difference! Thank you all.
This blog was originally started for the people who had an interest in what I was up to with the Marine Corps. I posted several posts before bootcamp, a friend posted a few updates during bootcamp, and everything else thus far has been from my time in the Marine Corps. I wanted those who were interested to have a place to find updates because, to be honest, saying the same thing to all the people at church, home, school, and beyond was tiresome. Side Note: It was very interesting reading my final post before bootcamp recently. Nine years later we still have a blog updating people. Hopefully you all enjoy it.
To say that I have been in the Marine Corps for nine years is astonishing. Where did all the time go? Being in the Marine Corps Reserves (“Reserve” or “Reserves”) has also been an eye-opening experience; to which I am grateful. Another post (or maybe a series) would need to be written to share my Marine Corps Reserve experience. I have been blessed with unique training opportunities while maintaining a civilian career. At one point I found myself in a place of discontentment having joined the Reserves and not being with the Marines all the time (Active Duty). You know what? God has a plan for my life. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Nine years. Eleven to go? I have been seriously considering a submission into the Warrant Officer program for the Reserves. Should I be selected and make it through all the training, I would then become an Ammunition Officer. There are not a whole lot of those floating around the Marine Corps. Prayers for that path are most appreciated. Until then, my current Reserve career path has me working for the Reserve Headquarters until the end of the Fiscal Year. Working this side of the ammunition field has been a very good experience in understanding the big picture of ammo operations. The Reserves is its own monster as it is. Grateful for this opportunity.
Thank you to the ones who are still with me. You are the true MVPs! My career with the Marines has been a wild ride (hence the title of the blog), but it has been awesome. Prayer warriors: I would appreciate your prayers for the path ahead (Warrant Officer or anything else). Please, if you so choose, pray for my friend who was recently informed he has a brain tumor. Until next time: Be strong. Love God. Love others.