Marines: Preparing to Serve Part 3

Minnesota Recruits Speak on Boot Camp

This week we’ve shown you Minnesota educators going through a miniature United States Marine Corps boot camp in San Diego, California, but what about recruits from Minnesota?

In part three of FOX 21’s Natalie Froistad’s special report, get a glimpse of real boot camp by meeting three Minnesota recruits and a senior drill instructor from Minneapolis.

“Whenever they finish high school they’re gonna get on buses and they’re gonna come see people like me and we do in roughly three months what people couldn’t do in 18 years,” said Ssgt. Jon Austin, senior drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.

Strong words from Minneapolis native Staff Sergeant Jon Austin, but young recruits know those words are accurate.

“Oh man, it’s a stressful environment, but kind of in a good way because you know you’re being pushed to your limits to make yourself better,” said 19-year-old Recruit Carlos Garcia of White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

There are three phases to the boot camp these recruits are going through at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.

“First phase, second phase, the drill instructors are super hard on you. They’re always constant stress, constant pressure ‘get this done, get this done,'” explained 18-year-old Recruit Jordan Chavez of St. Paul, Minnesota.

“Honestly, it’s a very good ego trip. It’s a reality check for a lot of them,” said Ssgt. Austin.

Though it may be tough, the intense environment provides results.

“This recruit slouched a lot when he walked around. He wasn’t like, didn’t really have a lot of things going for him,” said Recruit Chavez

Ssgt. Austin tells us there are countless benefits to being a United States Marine, “Instilling confidence is one of the biggest things we have, because if you’re going to be a Marine it comes without saying that you’re going to look the part.” Ssgt. Austin continued, “Instilling discipline, obedience to orders but also not being a robot.”

The tough talk isn’t always easy for the drill instructors either.

“As a drill instructor you’re, you’re screaming 18 hours a day. Your first cycle it’s humbling, you’ll wind up spittin’ blood,”Ssgt. Austin explained.

As phase three of boot camp gets underway recruits get a tiny bit of relief, but not too much.

“They kind of ease up on you, crack a few jokes here and there,” Recruit Chavez says.

At this point, recruits can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“This is all this recruit has wanted to do ever since he was little,” said Recruit Chavez.

“This recruit is just really excited. He’s ready to, you know, continue and go on and really be a Marine and contribute to the corps,” said 19-year-old Recruit Oldaipupo Lawal.

The extreme process very few will ever experience has bettered these young men.

“Just everything he’s learned here. His ability to overcome personal hardships, mental hardships, just stand up straighter, have more confidence,” said Recruit Chavez.

“They push you physically and mentally,” said Recruit Garcia.

For some being a Marine strengthens family relationships and for others it’s a chance to travel the world.

“This recruit will have an even closer bond with his uncle. Like, everything this recruit has wanted his whole life” said Recruit Chavez.

“I love Minneapolis, I love Minnesota, but I just wanted to go out there and see something different and put back into the country,” said Ssgt. Austin.

For all becoming a Marine is giving back to America.

“Being able to say I put my little thumbprint on that little cross section of humanity, it’s humbling at best,” said Ssgt. Austin.

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