From the Classroom to Marine Corps Boot Camp
SAN DIEGO, Calif. After high school students have different paths to choose from, college, the workforce and the military are among them. For many teachers looking to guide students, the military is foreign territory to them. NewsChannel 5 followed Western Slope educators to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, where they saw a whole new perspective of the United States Marine Corps. On day one, Eric Brunner, a teacher at Grand Junction High School, made his way through the same bayonet assault course that thousands of marines have trekked through before him. “It’s all about teamwork out there. You’re only as strong as your weakest link,” he said after he finished. Images he’s seen on television all his life became real for the first time. Images he can take back to his classroom. “The more pressure they can put on those men, the better the can respond in pressure situations," he said. For five days, he and educators from across the nation learned what it takes to become a marine. Major Hardy Robinson, Commanding Officer for Recruiting Station Oklahoma City, said, “A method of teaching people how to face adversity. Life is not easy. We teach marines how to overcome adversity." “I never really had understood the process of what it takes to be a marine. As an educator you have your perceptions, but in order to understand what those perceptions are you have to go through a workshop like this,” said Brunner. The educators obeyed orders, watching how drill sergeants break recruits down. “What I found was they want the cream of the crop, the best of the best to be the marines. They made every marine the same. As far as haircut, clothing, so no one really stood out,” Brunner said. Each day educators saw the Marine Corps through new eyes. Many also witnessed a new side to the Marine Corps. “A lot of times when you think about the armed services you think about war. When you sign up for the marines, it's more of a lifestyle change,” said Brunner. Major Isaac Moore with Recruiting Station Denver, said, “The strength of the Marine Corps is not our tanks, its not our aircrafts. The strength of the Marine Corps is our people.” “You've got to be mentally tough, you've got to be physically tough, and their big coin word was commitment. The way they were able to overcome those weakness and rise to challenges,” Brunner said. Throughout the week teachers broke their own barriers, and took home a new perspective of what it means to be a marine. In addition to Grand Junction High School, teachers and counselors from Central High School, Palisade High School, Fruita Monument High School and Cedaredge High School attended the workshop.