KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Across the nation, the Marine Corps is looking for the next generation of Marines. Through the bustling streets of New York City or along the shores of Midwestern lakes, every Marine on recruiting duty hustles to find the best of the best – the next applicant who could one day become a beloved sergeant major or even a general.
On July 26, 2021, one poolee continued the family legacy when Daniel Hayek took the Oath of Enlistment while his father, Maj. Richard A. Hayek, the Commanding Officer of Marine Corps Recruiting Station Kansas City presided over the ceremony.
“I wanted to be a pro athlete like lots of kids do,” said Daniel, a Navarre High School graduate. “I wish I would have gone further [in sports], but I think I was bound to come to a decision with the military eventually.”
As a previously enlisted Marine and now a field grade officer, Richard has traveled throughout the United States with his family – even to the Middle East while leaving his family safely on the home front. Not only is Daniel’s father a Marine, but his mother, Heather Breeland, also dedicated her life to service. She retired from the Marine Corps as a gunnery sergeant.
Daniel moved around often as a military child. He is not sure what to expect from the future but he is excited for the new experiences of being in control of his journey instead of a passenger in his parents’ journey.
After weighing his options for the last few years, Daniel decided that he would become a Marine like his parents and follow in their footsteps.
“My mom and dad are definitely influencers for my decision,” said Daniel. “She [told] me this morning that she’s very proud of me no matter if I do or don’t [swear in today].”
With the commitment made and a shipping date set for the fall, Daniel will continue a long family history of service. Both his grandfather and great-grandfather served in the U.S. Army, making Daniel the fourth generation of service men and women.
“I’ve always told him that it’s his life and his path,” said Richard an Arlington, Texas, native. “What I really care about the most is that he understands success is different for different people and that the Hayek legacy is really rooted in whatever he defines as success.”
Daniel will not be alone in his path to become a Marine. His parents and girlfriend will be cheering him on as he approaches his shipping date where he will join a long lost childhood friend as part of the Buddy Program, a program that allows potential Marines to ship to Marine Corps Recruit training with someone they know throughout indoctrination to the Corps.
After recruit training aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Daniel will complete Marine Combat Training at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and finish his entry level training at his assigned military occupational school for motor transportation.
To learn more about becoming a Marine, visit Marines.com/RSKansasCity or call 1-800-MARINES.