I had enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in December of 2003 while Senior in High School. I then went to boot camp June 23rd of 2003, a couple of weeks after graduating from High School. I turned 18 while in boot camp. I enlisted as an 0311 Infantry Rifleman and went to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, CA.
While in Boot Camp, I learned a great deal about myself. I did not regret the decision when I got on those yellow footprints. I joined for one reason and one reason only, to fight. I convinced my mother to sign my enlistment believing I was joining to go Motor T, but switched it to 0311 Rifleman after she had signed.
Boot Camp pushes you beyond your limits, and compels you to remove from yourself all the weaknesses that the culture puts into you in order to rebuild you within the Culture of Warriors in the US Marine Corps. I broke down in tears on the 5 day, when it was time to pray before hitting the bunks, and I prayed for the first time in a long time. I broke quick, like so many others. Then I was built back up by my instructors just as quickly.
I did not hold any special billets. I just followed orders and gave it everything I had. I have the greatest respect for my brothers who showed no signs of struggle while going through Boot Camp. I was a scrawny tooth pick of a kid when I went through boot camp. By the time I was done, I had gained some weight, and knew what it was to be a Marine.
While in Boot Camp, my peers and I gained the following:
- Team Work
- Endurance and perseverance.
- An understanding of Honor and Respect.
- Learning that “To become a good leader, you must first be a good follower.”
- How to adapt to a fast past and constantly changing environment.
- Thinking under pressure and applying knowledge as it is acquired.
- Rifle Marksmanship and operating in the Field.
- How to put my team before myself
There were so many things that we learned while in boot camp that will last the rest of our lives. I earned the title of Marine September of 2003.