I posted my question on Facebook and received lots and lots of great advice from family members, friends and acquaintances. Below is a listing of the advice that we received on my facebook page, anonymously and in no particular order.
- My cousin is currently in Afghanistan and is in the Marine Corp. He jokes when people ask him why he joined the Marines. He says, "He lost the Air Force Brochure". Seriously, it is going to be tough. If your daughter can get through boot camp then she will be fine.
- So far the only advice I could gather up was that she needed to run her butt off to the point of being able to run at the very least a half marathon and to be able to do pushups like no other. Someone else had suggested that she start doing P90X.
- P90X will get her in great shape for push ups, pull ups, and sit-ups but it won't help her with running.
- Cross fit is another good exercise program. For the running I would suggest a combination of running, swimming laps, and spinning classes. All is cardiovascular work but the swimming and spinning will not be so hard on her legs and back.
- The swimming will help with the push ups also. Builds the shoulders up very well.
- Three things to start off,
1. Her faith MUST be strong. The first 10 days will literally be Hell on a young person. That is the most crucial "breaking" period.
2. Endurance is key. The IST is important, but the ability to keep steady for prolonged periods of time is a must.
3. Marksmanship, Marksmanship, Marksmanship. She needs to become familiar with using open sights. The M16A4 is similar to the AR-15, so someone needs to let her borrow one at least twice a month to get comfortable with it. The hardest position is standing, so get comfortable with it. 200, 300 and 500 yards target are miniscule in open sights.
On the home front - Prayer, prayer and more prayer. When you add that to daily letters and cards...it eases the stress.
- Every Marine IS a rifleman...you can't qualify, you can't become a Marine.
- I spent 6 years in Uncle Sam's Gun Club (USMC) and the one thing that helped me through boot camp at Parris Island was some advise my father gave me when I shipped out, don't ever give up and remember that they can't kill you, it might feel like it at times but the DIs are they to train you not kill you. Also getting mail from home is very helpful. Good Luck and Semper FI!
- I pray God gives your daughter strength and wisdom and peace and joy through this very difficult but rewarding period of her life.
- She should have joined the Air Force but from one oldish Soldier, I wish her all the best and Semper Fi! I work as a civilian on a Marine Corps installation.
- What a noble calling. You must be proud. :)
- OMGosh!!! She really did join??? I will pray for her safety. Where are they shipping her?
- Sounds like positive changes are happening!
- It all depends on whether she is going Active Duty or Reserves. The recruiter should give a list of things she should do. After 21 years of faithful service, the services have changed and the young Service members have changed too.
- My cousin just graduated....we went to her graduation....i would suggest that she start exercising and training now. Getting familiar with how to shoot a pistol and rifle is also a great idea. She will also need lots of moral support from family. Semper fi!
- Wow, that is a challenge of a lifetime. I'm proud of her.
- No marine experience...but tell her to listen to her drill sgt's, don't take criticism personally (it's just training) and if they pick on her its because she is lacking in some area that needs improving- training in disguise, don't complain when it gets tough...keep trying, never cry, it's not personal at all, do your best without ever complaining, ignore those that drive you crazy with their complaints, volunteer to lead...it removes you from the complainers and gives you some peace, and over time the drill sgt's (whatever they call them in the marines) will leave her alone. Don't be cheesy, pretty or act girlish...she is a marine now...So be tough, do what she is told to do and don't let any of the cruel training comments or screaming discourage her...interpret it as this is what I need to improve on or this is just more testing. I hope this helps.
- No advice but tell her thank you!
- OMG! Wow! Good for her! :)
- Also please do not try and give her any marksmanship training. Whatever she learns will have to be unlearned so she learns the way the Marines want her to learn.
- P.S. I'm not sure what the Marines do, but my husband's niece is in the Navy. Before she actually had to go in her recruiter picked her up everyday. He got her physically ready for boot camp. He ran with her, did sit ups, push ups, etc. This way it wouldn't be too tough when she actually went in.
- I am proud of you that you came to this decision to join the Marines all on your own. It speaks volumes that you are not waiting around to see what your friends will do. Kudos!
- I am proud of you !! ;-) Make sure you give me your mailing address or any contact information and I will be sure to write you while you are in basic and beyound! ;-)
- I know your family must be so proud of you. From the bottom of my heart, "thank you". Coming from a military family I know what a special person it takes to commit yourself to your country. Like I tell my cousin, whenever you can just post something on facebook so we know you are okay. Even if it's "hello everybody".
- I am also very proud of you. Once you get to Boot make sure your mom posts your mailing address. In all my deployments and training over 20 years in the Army the biggest moral boosts came from mail.
- ...as you can see from the overwhelming response people are in awe of what you are doing and intend to follow you with nothing but thanks and encouragement on your journey with the Marines. Be sure and share your mailing address with me and I will make sure you get lots of mail when you ship out. OORAH!!!
- For you I'd say read "Keeping Faith: A Father-Son Story About Love and the United States Marine Corps" for your soon to be Marine, I'd say prepare to be challenged beyond belief and rewarded for all of the effort put forth. The journey from civilian to Marine is an arduous one but one you never forget.
Some of the most successful people has produced wear the title Marine and it's one that's never given but only earned through a commitment and desire to persevere when present with insurmountable odds. No two people face the same challenges in the process as it's stress each member based on their life's experiences.
I'm jealous as the beginning of the process is what truly makes us Marines and I'll forever remember that first day I arrived at Boot Camp, scared, alone, unsure yet excited to embark on my personal journey.
I hope my ramblings help and if you can't tell, I'm still excited and proud to bear the title, MARINE! Once it's in your spirit and blood it's forever.
Feel free to call me if you just want to chat about the process.
Semper Fi and God Bless.