Poolees and their families from Marine Corps Recruiting Substations Saginaw and Flint recently received a sample of recruit training from two of Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego’s legendary drill instructors.
“(Family Night) was great,” said Markevin Wilson, poolee. “One important thing that I wanted to get out of this is my mom to understand my decision to join. She got a chance to see some of the training, ask questions and have them answered by a real drill instructor, and now she is 100 percent behind me in my decision.”
Staff Sgt. Hector Sotorodriguez, 1st Battalion, Delta Company series gunnery sergeant, and Gunnery Sgt. Anthony McLaughlin, Support Battalion, visited Recruiting Station Lansing specifically to give poolees and their families a taste of boot camp.
“I think that this is a great opportunity for the poolees to get out some of the pre-boot camp nervousness,” said Master Sgt. James Corwin, RSS Saginaw SNCOIC.“It also gives the parents an opportunity to see firsthand what recruit training will be like for their son or daughter and gives them an opportunity to ask the very drill instructors who conduct the training questions about recruit training.”
The family night event began with the national anthem and introductions from all the Flint and Saginaw recruiters.
After dinner was served the guest speaker, retired Gunnery Sgt. Toby Sewell, now a full-time road patrol deputy in Saginaw County, Mich., gave his remarks about his experience in the Marine Corps and how it better prepared him for his current civilian job as a policeman.
Then the “fun” began, with the introduction of the drill instructors.
More than 65 poolees stood tall as Sotorodriguez took them outside and taught them the basic boot camp survival commands and drill movements while Gunnery Sgt. Anthony Pompos, RSS Saginaw recruiter and former drill instructor, talked to the parents inside about the transformation their children will be going through during their 13 weeks in recruit training.
“When you are addressing a drill instructor the first and last words out of your month will be 'sir'! Do you understand?” said Sotorodriguez addressing the poolees.
“Sir, yes Sir!” answered the poolees in an immediate and earsplitting reply.
After 30 minutes of boot camp knowledge, drill and a lot of push-ups and running, the poolees returned inside to their parents, where Sotorodriguez helped the poolees demonstrate what they had just learned.
“I was amazed by the difference I saw in my son in just 30 minutes,” said Kathy Miller, a parent of one of the poolees. “I just can’t imagine what he’ll be like after 13 weeks.”
“For the poolees, one of the biggest advantages that they should take to boot camp with them is the ability to listen and respond to orders,” said Sotorodriguez. “The recruiter has a job to do and the parents understand that, but to hear it coming from a real drill instructor should help shoot down myths and misconceptions about recruit training. I hope the parents take away a good, clear understanding and better support their young adults choice to join.”
“I’m retired Air force and I was still very impressed with how, in such a short time, the drill instructor got them all moving at the same time and working as a team,” said Kraig Rermes, poolee Anthony Restifo’s step-father.
“It’s a great thing to let the poolees get hands-on with a DI,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Duggar, RSS Flint recruiter. “It takes away from the shock they’ll get on those yellow footprints. The DI's sheer presence is invaluable.”
The Marine Corps drill instructor has played a vital role in the Corps’ mission of making Marines. On this night, they also played a role in recruiting these Marines.