Young Marines benefit from devil dog experience

6 Jan 2001 | Cpl. Chad C. Adams

For some, it's the sound of a booming voice.  For others, it's the razor-sharp creases and spit-polished boots.  For many, it's the penetrating glare firing out from under that Smokey Bear.

But for every enlisted Marine, there is something they won't forget about one or all of their drill instructors.

Many of those lasting images are ones that Marines carry with them in their everyday lives - some token of thought, some perspective that enhances their outlook on life.

Several Marines here are duplicating that teaching effort by participating the in the barracks Young Marines program.  The program, which instills confidence and discipline through the Corps Values of honor, courage and commitment, graduated the newest of those Young Marines here, Jan. 6.

As the young devil-dogs sat proudly with straight backs, over 300 friends and family packed into the John Philip Sousa Band Hall and noticed the impact of these motivated instructors.

"I wish I had something like this when I was growing up," said Gunnery Sgt. Elvis S. Dixon, Marine Corps Community Services.  "It gives the kids a good outlet to see good role models."

The majority of the new Young Marines are residents of the local Southeast community, where tough streets bring even tougher choices.  The Young Marines program helps the youngsters make the right decisions.

"A lot of them are going in the wrong direction," Dixon said.  "So, if we can bring them back it's a good thing."

"The choices they make are a little tougher than the ones we had to make," added Cpl. Bruce D. Quach, Headquarters & Service Company, dining facility.

To help ensure the Young Marines were given the proper tools to make those right decisions, instructors dedicated nights and weekends to train their recruits.

"The amount of time they spent exemplifies the word commitment," Dixon said.  "They want to pass values on to those who would never see it otherwise.  It definitely speaks highly of them."

Highly motivated, instructors aimed for instilling the basic values and leadership principles that Marines learn in recruit training.

"I hope they gain a little bit of confidence and maturity," said Lance Cpl. Andrew Strohecker, H&S Company, Supply Section.

Ultimately, the instructors dedicated an overwhelming amount of time and effort, not for awards or accolades, but to simply do the right thing and give something back to the community.

"When I was growing up, there was no one there to help me out," Quach said.  "I had to learn from my own mistakes."

For Quach, the words of his senior drill instructor are ones that he carries through life, words he passed to his Young Marine recruits: "If you can go your whole life and make an effect on just one person, then you will live a life worth being remembered," Quach said.

Every enlisted Marine remembers something about their drill instructor.

Let's just hope the young ones do as well.