Inside Marine Corps Boot Camp: Family Day

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

February 22, 2006

When you think about the United States Marine Corps, chances are, you know only what you've seen on television, or in the movies allowing family members to influence those wanting to be a U.S. Marine.

The Marine Corps is trying changing that, and they are starting with the classroom.

All week long, we've been taking you inside Marine Corps Boot Camp, thanks to the Marine Corps' Educator's Workshop. Here is another look at Parris Island, as family members see their loved one for the first time as a Marine recruit on Family Day.

"I'm proud to be here serving my country. That's why I am here. It's very exciting to see my family again on family day, and on graduation," said Scott Willis, a Marine recruit from Danville, Virginia.

Every week, family members storm aboard Parris Island, South Carolina on Family Day, to see who will soon become their favorite Marine. The day is one the recruits have been waiting on for twelve weeks.

"I have friends, and my girlfriend coming, so I am very excited about all of that," added Willis.

Since taking their first step off the bus, and onto the yellow footprints, the recruits have endured intense training. This training pushes the recruit, just beyond their known limit, both mentally and physically. Taking the average person, and molding them into a U.S. Marine for the family to see.

"They'll see me with more confidence, stand a little taller, a little bit better build. You know, bigger shoulders," said Willis.

While family members are not able to see the actual training of a Marine recruit, they are able to see an emotional event called the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor ceremony. The highlight of the ceremony for both recruits and families, which brings goose bumps for all Marines old and new, is when the recruits pin the Marine Corps emblem onto their uniform, and for the first time, are called a United States Marine.

"Unbelievable. To see them in uniform is just, I can't even describe it, because I didn't realize how much it would mean to me until I saw him out here today," said Dana Castilla, a former Marine and mother of a Marine graduating at Parris Island.

Now, full-fledged Marines going through everything except a formal graduation, they are given liberty to spend several hours with their family on base. Many take the time to show their guests the many sights and sounds of Parris Island. From the barracks, to the rifle range, and other areas; families can be seen walking side by side with their newly minted Marines.

There is no doubt the first conversations from the new Marines will be their personal stories from boot camp.

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