Joining the Corps: Louisiana educators see recruits transform into Marines

Published: Mar. 3, 2019 at 10:54 PM CST
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Last week Louisiana educators got an inside look at what it takes to be a Marine, experiencing what recruits go through at boot camp in South Carolina.

The moment recruits step foot on Parris Island, their transformation begins.

"They are going through one of the biggest challenges of their life," said Alexandria recruiter Staff Sergeant Dustin Pope.

Second Lieutenant Mackenzie Margroum told educators they train relentlessly for 12 weeks.

"You are a team right from the beginning and you are in this together," 2ndLt Margroum said. "You have your brother and sister next to you, you are all after one thing and that is to become a United States Marine."

After 54 hours of blood sweat and tears, known as the Crucible, recruits emerge as Marines.

"That sense of belonging that you get as you go through the curriculum and then you eventually earn your globe and anchor," 2ndLt Margroum said.

Then it's time to celebrate. Families are permitted on the island during the last two days of training.

They get a first glimpse of their loved one at the motivation run. Then Marines march into the Family Day Ceremony with their platoons.

Finally, after a total of 13 weeks, it's time for families to meet their new Marine.

"It's hard to describe in words, but it is a memory that sends chills down your back for years to come," said Staff Sergeant Mark Berger.

SSgt. Berger will never forget the moment he was reunited with his baby girl.

"My daughter, whenever I enlisted, she was only about six weeks old," SSgt. Berger said. "I graduated from recruit training and the look I've seen in the new Marines eyes today it reminded me of that and just reminiscing in the moment."

The next morning Marines wear their blue dress uniforms and march with their platoons for the last time.

The experience was eye opening for educators, especially Nicholas Jaquins.

"I can not see anything else more in my future than to be a United States Marine," Jaquins said. "This is something I want to do for the absolute rest of my life, 100 percent."

Once the commanding officer reviews the Marines they are officially graduates.

"The people that join the Marine Corps truly want to be Marines and that is what it is really all about," SSgt. Pope said. "They want to be a part of that brotherhood, that sisterhood of the Marine Corps."

Immediately following the ceremony, Marines go home with their families for 10 days of leave until their next chapter begins

"You hold it in your heart for the rest of your life you are always a Marine," 2ndLt Margroum said.

If you are interested in signing up for the educator's workshop, visit the attached link.

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