Ever since the day I earned the title of Marine, November 10th has always been a very special day to celebrate.
My father and grandfather both served their country as Marines and it was a great privilige for me to see both of them present when I graduated from Parris Island, on 14 February 1992. Yes, on Valentine's Day.
The Marine Corps has changed a bit since I got out in 1995, mostly in tactical training, equipment and technology and it is definitely way better than when I was in ('91-'95).
One thing hasn't changed much though and that is the way the Marine Corps makes Marines. It is still the hardest 12 weeks of life changing training every recruit experiences and never forgets.
Every Marine never forgets their Senior Drill Instructor and maybe even recalls the name of their receiving DI too.
My platoon drill instructors were SDI SSgt Hayes, DI Sgt Shannon, DI SSgt London and my receiving DI, Drill Instructor Sgt Edwards.
For many that were on the Island, Parris Island that is, we may all remember the Chaplain, Chaplain Dennis Rocheford, an enlisted Marine who served in Vietnam who later got out, earned his degree and later a masters in divinity, returned to serve as a United States Navy Chaplain. Attending his services on Sunday during bootcamp was very refreshing.
I even remember the DI I met at the recruiting office in Mount Vernon, New York, just 3 months prior to leaving for boot camp, DI Sgt Aviles. The honor roll call could not leave out SSgt Pitre who recruited me to join too.
|Marine Corps League Birthday Brunch, November 2009|
I've been fortunate to have seen the world a little bit, met some great guys both on and off active duty, still keep in touch now with many through Facebook where the bond is still the same and it's a bond that just cannot be explained and only Marines really understand. Semper fi.
In 2008, I had the great privilige to be reunited with two guys from my bootcamp platoon 1017. Shawn Jeffords (L) and Peter Bragino (C). We had a great time reminiscing about our days when we were terrorized by our DIs and equally spoke of the great admiration and respect we have for them, because they made us to be like them and they lived up to making us what they said they would do on the first day of training.
These are my recruits. I will train them to the best of my ability. I will develop them into smartly disciplined, physically fit, basically trained Marines, thoroughly indoctrinated in love of Corps and country. I will demand of them, and demonstrate by my own example, the highest standards of personal conduct, morality, and professional skill.
And they did.
So today, Marines around the world celebrate the birth of our beloved Marine Corps, in every clime and place, in the snow of far-off Northern lands and in sunny tropic scenes, I wish all Marines a Happy 235th Birthday of our beloved Marine Corps.