Special Assignment | Transforming civilian to Marine through 12-week training process

Special Assignment | Transforming civilian to Marine through 12-week training process

Twelve grueling weeks of Marine Corps Recruit Training results in finally earning the title of United States Marine.

For many, it’s the biggest accomplishment of their lives, they say. For the newest Marine families, it’s one of their proudest.

“Amazing. He looks tall and thin. We’re very proud,” says Tara Tolson of Lehigh County, as she spots her son running in his final run, the Motivation Run, before graduation.

“It’s hard to describe in words. It’s been a long three months,” she says.

Her husband, Stephen, undeniably agrees.

“I’m very proud of my son and all that he’s accomplished,” he says. “Seeing how he’s grown and matured, it’s a really big step forward for him.”

For the Tolson’s, the week couldn’t have been more perfect. They finally were able to see their son but also they got a unique look at what he went through to become a Marine. They attended the Educator’s Workshop.

“The timing was amazing to be able to come on the workshop when he would graduate,” Tara says. “I feel like that’s just God ordained.”

The Tolson’s spent several days going through obstacles, visiting the shooting range, and rappelling down a 50 foot wall; seeing what it was like for their son Luke.

“Seeing him in a uniform is wonderful,” Stephen comments. “I think it’s nice that he’s just committing himself to serving our country in this way.”

Life changes in a split second for the men and women who come to the Parris Island Training Depot in South Carolina. The graduation CBS 21 attended not only showcased the full transformation from civilian to Marine, but a citizenship ceremony for those from Vietnam and the Philippines, to name a few.

More than a dozen individuals became United States citizens by joining the United States Marine Corps, dedicating themselves to serving the U.S. before it was even their official country.

Recruiters are looking for prospects who are determined, physically fit, academically sound, and have a great moral compass.

Staff Sergeant David Galentine describes his job as a recruiter in few words.

“I don’t get to make Marines. But I get to pick them,” he says. “We want the future of America. That’s what we want,” says Galentine, who is a recruiter in Stroudsburg. “We’re looking for someone who has a clear mind, follows the rules, and wants to be a better version of themselves.”

It’s a great call of duty for Galentine, who previously served in the infantry in the Middle East. He plans on continuing his Marine Corps career as a recruiter.

Drill Instructor, Staff Sergeant Thomas Lagno, says his work is exhausting but it’s necessary and an honor.

“When you see somebody really take on the type of characteristics that it takes to be a good Marine, that’s the rewarding part.”

“I can see that this title means so much more,” says Christopher Singer, a new Marine from Yardley, Pennsylvania.

“It’s who you are. It’s a lifestyle. This has probably been one of the greatest experiences of my life.”

For more on U.S. Marine Corps training and recruitment, click here.

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