How do we start with today’s exciting busy day at Parris Island..

I have to say the most exciting part was to visit with our local recruit Chris Ruckert who was on his first week of being at boot camp. Today marked is second day actually being physically in boot camp. Us being able to pull him away to talk was a rare occasion for someone that early in the recruit phase. But since it was our only time that we would be at Parris Island, we had to take our chances. 

We arrived at the 1st battalion company offices, there was Chris opening the doors for us upon arrival. After her stood there in complete silence. Later being able to greet Dr. Jon Gerber you saw a huge (trying to hide) smile. It really made you glow inside, being able to see how far he had come.

We shortly moved into a closed conference room where we had the opportunity to interview him with myself and Staff Sgt. Josh Hauser on video. Hearing on how happy he was to be where he was, how far he had gotten almost brought me to tears. He excitement of just having the opportunity to even get where he is now was truly inspirational. 

I made a short video asking him what he would like to say to anyone back home. Responding by saying he knows how much his parents love him and he loves them. And that he can’t wait to see them in the end when he becomes a true Marine.

Before visiting Chris, we had the chance to sweat it out at the swim tank where the Water Survival Crew were. The stokes the recruits need to learn are breast, back and side stroke which they start in Phase 1. Team leader Sgt. Michael McDonald addressed the educators describing different exercises recruits need to learn as Sgt. Richard Korhonen demonstrated. 

Having to learn how to survive with just the equipment you have without a true flotation device and such. Including how to take all your equipment off underwater, which recruits learn in the shallow waters.

While seeing this demonstration recruits were in the water behind learning how to swim, for those that do no know and may fail their swimming tests. Senior Drill Instructor Staff Sgt. Leland Braun was help teaching Recruit Dameon Turner on the backstroke. Not to sound rude, but I really thought the kid was going to drown. Last I saw, your head has be above the water when swimming and breathing (that’s a good thing too). He didn’t really make it past half way of the pool. I told Hauser I considered screaming “dig with your arms man!” But.. I’m just a civilian remember (they’re throw me in the pool probably).

Watching the Martial Arts with the recruits and the Martial Arts Instructor was interesting. You see the kids screaming out what each step is while participating in them all. This included throwing their fellow recruits to the ground. Who wouldn’t want to do that? I enjoyed seeing them all doing it at the “same” time (they tried at least). 

We got to see the difference courses they uses, would have been great seeing some of the  recruits climbing up, down and all around them. (I was camera sad on that).

For the recruits that are graduating on Friday, Thursday was family day for everyone. All the families have been checking into the hotel on Wednesday and Thursday, so we knew the craziness was beginning. As the thousands of family members gathered in what seemed to be a massive gymnasium the recruits, to be Marines, came in by their platoons as the crowds went crazy.

After the short service, the families rushed, or trampled to get their little baby boy or girl. Families and parents were crying left and right. Of course shooting all the recruits crying made me want to cry. Just seeing how proud everyone was of each other was inspiring to experience. If had to go through what those guys did, I’d be happy as crap to see my family, and they better make a damn sign for me and a sound horn!

Chow time.. Lets say… How much food can I put on my plate, how fast can I get it, how fast can I eat it.. Oh did I mention I can’t look down at it while I’m eating it…

Yes, that’s true, as talking with a drill instructor the recruits are not allowed to look down at their plates to improve their posture. Well, it sure was working they looked great! After when I got my food, I kept making sure my back was straight and all.. though I cheated and looked down, I can’t be a slob and all, ha. 

They would rush in, while squad leaders made sure they were doing everything in the proper order and such. Gathering a lot of food on their plate, they did it in a neatly way. Passing me saying good morning ma’am (man am I SICK of being called ma’am, c’mon kids I’m still “young”), because no matter what time it is, if they haven’t had lunch its still morning hours. 

After running out of chow, throwing their covers back on, they arrive back to their backpacks (this after the people watching the backs had a chance to eat) they wait for their drill instructors. Once all is completely correct they leave off to their next lesson. Now, yelling and singing their songs and doing everything asked. 

— As for tomorrow we have an early chow starting at 5 a.m. making sure we are out of the hotel by 6:45 at the latest. Graduation festivities starting by around 7:45-8 a.m.

We are supposed to be leaving Parris Island around 11 a.m. heading to Georgia and hopefully hitting a plane to Charlotte, North Carolina. Followed back to Albany, NY. Or at least that’s what I think the plan is. The best part (besides come back to lovely Saratoga Springs) will be the weather tomorrow will be in the 60’s!!!! Took long enough! So we can be comfortable rocking our Educators Workshop polos!