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Focus on Fostoria - May_25b_03

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Fostoria Focus - May 25, 2003


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Boot Camp? Parents' Questions Answered at Marine 'Family Night'

By Leonard Skonecki

LIMA - "We have everything they'll ever need."

That' a reassuring message for parents sending teenage sons or daughters away from home. It's especially reassuring if away from home means Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island, S.C. and if the message comes from Marine Lt. Col. Kenneth Wynn.

Everything parents want to know about Marine Recruit Training was the topic at the Marines' Family Night May 6 at Lima's American Legion. Over 100 northwest Ohio recruits and family m embers attended.

Lt. Col. Wynn, commander of the Detroit Recruiting Station, presided over the questions and answers. His station recruits 1,000 Marines annually.

One recruit was Tiffin area resident Chris Frisch, the sone of Ron and Pat Frisch and a 2003 Mohawk High graduate.

He enlisted in June 2002 under the Marines' delayed entry program. He plans on becoming an MP.

Why the military

"I've wanted to for a long time," Chris said.

His choice of military police?

I've always been interested in law enforcement. I want to do that when I get out."

Is he considering a military career?

"I haven't made up my mind. I might if I like it."

Why not some other branch of the service?

"The Marines are the most extreme," he says.

Most of the questions were fielded by Parris Island drill instructors, Sgt. Tammie Martin and Sgt. Daniel Arcentales. Parris Island graduates 20,000 new Marines annually.

What did parents ask about boot camp? All kinds of things.

When will I know my son or daughter has reached Parris Island?

"As soon as they arrive, the senior drill instructor will have the recruits sit down and write a letter home," Sgt. Martin said.

They're also allowed one brief phone call.

Are they allowed computers to send e-mail?"

"No. They live in open squad bays with bunk beds lined up against the wall. It's 80 racks per floor so there's no possible way to accommodate computers," Sgt. Arcentales said.

Letter writing is the recruits' authorized means of communication.

Should we send postage or writing materials?

"That is provided for them. However, they might run short of stamps because they're writing so much to their girl friends," Sgt. Arcentales said.

How are they paid?

Col. Wynn said trainees aren't allowed cash, but purchase "health and comfort" items at the PX with debit cards.

What should recruits bring with them?

"The clothes on their back.," said Col. Wynn, and money for food and phone calls on the trip.

"We've got everything else they'll ever need," he said.

"Everything?" asked a mother.

"Do they need clothing?"

"We have everything. Down to their underwear," Sgt Arcentales said.

Can we mail food?

"No ma'am. They get three meals a day based on 2,200 calories per meal." Sgt. Martin said.

What about religious services?

Sgt. Martin said four hours are reserved each Sunday for services of the recruiter's choice.

What is a normal day?

The day begins at 5am. Recruits have 10 minutes to make their beds, dress and be ready to go to chow, according to Sgt. Martin.

Morning is devoted to classes or physical training. Lunch is followed by more training that ends at 5pm.

Supper doesn't end the training day. Evenings are spent on drill such as rifle practice on the parade deck. Recruits have an hour to themselves before lights out at 9pm.

Supper doesn't end the training day. Evenings are spent on drill such as rifle practice on the parade deck. Recruits have an hour to themselves before lights out at 9pm.

What about family emergencies?

Col. Wynn said the best way to contact someone in an emergency is through the Red Cross.

What if my child gets hurt?

Col. Wynn said Parris Island has a complete hospital. If the injury is severe, the Marines fly parents to Parris Island right away but that rarely happens.

The recruits are young and drill instructors pick up where mom and dad left off.

"That's the toughest job in the Corps - turning a civilian into a Marine," a former Marine in attendance said.

Sgt. Martin formerly worked in computers. She recently presided over a platoon of 60 female Marines.

"I have the best job in the whole world. When parents tell you at graduation how much their Marine has grown, there's no feeling like it," she said.

"We're there to train them to survive," Sgt. Arcentales added.

"That's what I tell my recruits. That's what I tell the parents. I train them to make sure they come back home alive in case a war does break out. I'm there to train for survival and to make sure they have the hallmarks of a Marine which are honor, courage and commitment."

Col Wynn told parents not to be overly concerned if they don't hear from their Marine.

"Some young men and women get so dedicated down there that if it's a choice between writing my mom or girlfriend or squaring away my gear so I can get a good evaluation, they'll square away their gear. Now you'll think, 'Not my son. He's a lazy bum.' They find God down there. They find focus."

We're the real deal," Sgt Arcentales added.

And that, like Col. Wynn said, means the Marines have everything a recruit will ever need.

(For more information about Marine boot camp, go to www.mcrdpi.usmc.mil Or contact Gunnery Sgt. Sean Davis, PCS Tiffin, 93 N. Washington St., Tiffin, Ohio 44883, or call 419-447-7013 or 877-615-3522 or fax 419-447-7468.)

 

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