Teachers become Marine Corps recruits - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Teachers become Marine Corps recruits

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    MCAS MIRAMAR -- In the Marine Corps, shock and awe comes in all varieties. Teachers from across our region got to see Marine Corps Air power up close.

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SAN DIEGO, CA. -- We're kicking off a series of stories giving you an inside look at the United States Marine Corps, the most elite fighting force in the world.

We traveled with a group of teachers all the way from Chicago, to West Memphis, Arkansas for a week-long total immersion experience.

The teachers got much the same reception that recruits get as we got our first introduction to Marine Corps life: shock and awe.

"I had no clue what was going to happen when we showed up here at boot camp," said Beth Palmer of Vienna High School.

But Palmer learned quickly, along with about 25 other so-called recruits at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot.

Palmer and other teachers, and a reporter or two, learned the hard way what recruits go through as they join the most elite military fighting force in the country.

At the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, discipline hits you right in the face, from the moment you arrive.

You learn the code of military justice before putting away all your worldly possessions and living like a Marine.

The Corps hopes these teacher recruits will help them choose the best candidates for a tough program that turns run-of-the-mill men and women into United States Marines.

"We need the influence of all the teachers, the counselors the principals the coaches that are with these young men across the United States," explained Col. Stefan Bien, Chief Of Staff at MCRD.

What happens next with these teacher recruits? Well, that's anybody's guess because the Corps keeps its schedule intentionally vague so the drill instructors always have the element of surprise.

And they use it well.

After initial reception and gear assignments, it's off to the barracks.

This is where the recruits meet their mother, father, big brother, and eventually, best friend...their drill instructor.

A door slams open and out march three other drill instructors.

But it's an intimidating introduction.

Three instructors will oversee recruits and get them into shape, Marine Corps style.

That includes mental,  and physical preparation.

Still, Palmer has no idea what lies ahead.

"It's amazing, it's crazy.  A little intimidating?   A little more intimidating, a lot more intimidating," she said.

Nor do the others.

"It's a lot more intimidating than I expected" said Chad Pritchett, Assistant Principal at Kennett High School.

For the next week, these teacher recruits will get a taste of what it's like to join the Marine Corps.

They'll endure, intense physical challenges, learn about leadership, and Corps values.

Drill instructors make sure these citizen recruits know what's expected of them.

"Above all else, never quit or  give up," said Staff Sargent Gray.

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