Marine applicants received their first taste of Corps life at the University of Minnesota Armory Dec. 18 when recruiters and newly-pinned devil dogs demonstrated the finer points of physical training.
More than 30 Twin Cities residents filled the armory gym for their monthly Delayed Entry Program training session, an initiative established to help men and women prepare for the mental and physical challenges of boot camp.
“Leadership starts with the basics,” said Sgt. Van Tulmau, a 29-year-old Roseville, Minn., recruiter. “Service members have been motivating each other on these grounds for more than 100 years. That’s why I'm down there doing push-ups with them.”
Among the instructors present, a handful earned the right to be called Marine only a few weeks ago.
“For three months I worked for the title these poolees are striving to attain,” said Pfc. Jeremy Amundson, a 20-year-old from Osceola, Wisc., who graduated from boot camp Nov. 24. “To be able to come back and encourage them gives me a great sense of pride.”
The main focus of the event centered on turning mush into muscle; however, Marines also stressed the importance of camaraderie and unit cohesion once they become one of the few and the proud.
“It’s all I talk about with my friends,” said Chase Tillett, a Tartan High School graduate and St. Paul, Minn., native who departs for recruit training Feb. 7. “The strength of the group is stronger than the individual so we’re always motivating each other to improve.”
Unfortunately, some participants didn’t anticipate the level of physical activity they’d face at the event and quickly found their bodies pushing the limits.
“A few of them told me it was the most intense workout they've done in their life,” said Tulmau, a Koror, Palau, native. “I can't wait until the next poolee function so I can motivate them to the next level.”
For more information on the Corps, visit Marines.com or contact your local recruiting office. Additional photos of the event can be found on the Recruiting Station Twin Cities Facebook fan page.
“Some kids just sit on the couch all day so pain for them is a paper cut,” Tulmau said. “If you can motivate a couch potato to be a french fry you've done your job.”