The reasons why some young Americans have chosen to become
United States Marines
As told by their mothers, fathers, wives, and other loved ones
…Why did my son want to serve, I think it is a calling. My son was raised around no guns, not allowed near guns, but he always had the desire. He crawled through sewers and left greasepaint on our freshly painted walls and light switches. He wanted to be a Navy Seal, so he would don all his gear (bought at the military surplus store) and climbed the fence to the city pool and swam and swam to learn how to handle the cold and the gear in water. He would leave a smear of greasepaint so his friends would know he had been there the night before. He sat on our roof in the middle of winter so he could adapt to being in the cold. And he is very, very religious, but he saw that there is a need for warriors in our world to fight evil and he felt that is what he is meant to do. He changed his desire to be a Navy Seal to the Marines in high school after taking a military history class. IT IS HARD -- VERY, VERY HARD, I have cried and so has my husband, but we love our son and respect him so much. So we swallow our tears and wait for him to finish doing what he feels he is meant to. And we are proud that our son is not just our son, but our hero too.
…I don't know about any other guys and gals, but I do know about my son. He is using the Marines as a stepping stone. He knew we didn't have the money to put him through college, so that is one reason. He also said he wanted to travel. He is in Presidential Security. If there are any other motives, I don't know. These are the ones he gave me. I had the same questions you do and maybe even more. I want my son to be in church, a Pentecostal church, and that hasn't happened yet. I have put him in God's hands and I "bug" him all the time. When they are grown-up, maybe they will tell us.
…We have asked ourselves the same question you have about a million times. Our son has always been an "extreme kind of kid." He raced motocross and did everything to the limit. He is a wonderful kid and loves the Lord and has great friends but felt he wanted to go into the Marines. He didn't want to go to college and I think that he thought the Marines would be the answer to his future for right now. If he was going to join, he wanted to join the Best of the Best! When you are 15-21 years of age, you THINK you know what you want but you really have no idea what the future has in store. Our son has questioned his decision since being in boot camp but I think he is just homesick (in his sixth week). We write to him every day and support him 100%. We continue to tell him how proud we are of him, Marine or Not! We are trusting in the Lord to guide him through these trying times and Us too! The way we look at it is this: God doesn't make mistakes, and if you trust in him, all things will be for the good. That is what keeps us going.
…I'm sure there are many reasons. Some feel this is what they wanted to do for a long time, like being a doctor, or an attorney, or they just know it's what they want to do. My son knew he wanted to be in the military, but he also wanted to be the best of the best and that's why he chose the Marines. Why else? They train harder, they have to earn it -- it's not give to them, and once they are in, the Marines have to do more with less, compared to the other branches.
…Apparently your kid is the kind that needs to make a point! I had all of the same questions when mine joined and never got the answer that I wanted. My son was always very independent and did what he wanted, no matter what.
…There is a saying I came across a while back, it goes something like this: It is because you protected them, that they are so willing and able to protect you. I feel also that it is a calling. I think 9/11 had a huge impact on my son's decision. Like your son, my son also said that joining the Marines is something he "just felt like he needed to do." My son graduated from boot camp in October, 2003, so he's on his last year. He has done one tour in Iraq and will be going on his second tour after the first of the year. The whole Marine Corps experience has been a good for him. Good luck to your son and please thank him for his service.
…Freedom is not free and he firmly believed that he was helping the Iraqi people get freedom from Saddam. My son said what Saddam did to that country was unbelievable.
…Your son’s choice to become a Marine is an example of the leadership and selflessness that you have taught him. It is his choice to be one of the finest, and to challenge himself is a choice made by those who appreciate the gifts that God has given them, and the opportunities the USA has provided them. My son is a Marine, and it has been over twenty years since I was in. The challenge of being one of the few and the proud was something that lived with me for years. I passed up college to be a Marine, and I have since become a successful business owner. I am so proud that my son has continued with my commitment to serve not only my personal wants for him but the needs of a great society.
…That's a tough question to answer. Some want to be part of the best; be something not everyone can be. You usually picture a Marine as being the strongest, smartest, etc., but there are many that were small and not at all athletic. All find themselves in the process of becoming a Marine. I notice that whenever my son-in-law is in uniform he is taller, he stands straighter, and he is very proud. He has been a Marine for 10 years now - 4 years active duty (grunt) and the rest as an active reservist (combat engineer). He has deployed 4 times - 2 active duty, 2 reserve to Iraq. He left active duty to allow his wife to come home and finish college and have her career as a teacher. As a reservist he can still be a Marine which he loves. He just made Staff Sergeant. Even after being in Iraq twice, and seeing some friends die, his desire to be a Marine has not lessened. I'm sure there is a lot of fear in being over there, but they focus more on being there for the Marine next to them. Many who have left active duty miss it and come back - it's the brotherhood of the Marines. Being a Marine is never easy, and that challenge might be why many select it. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, I really was able to see the respect bestowed upon the Marines by those in the other services, and by the public.
…This would not have been the life I would have chosen for my son-in-law. He is a second generation Marine (father and 2 brothers were Marines), but I have seen the Corps build him into a fine young man. I hope your son will find himself as well and hope you're able to stand behind him. That is the toughest job, but one you will carry with pride.
…If you ask your son a few months from now why he wants to be a Marine, his answer may not be any different than it was before he left. But when you see him, I pray that you will receive answers to your questions without having to ask. Hang in there. He is an incredible person for doing what he is doing.
…He always had a strong personality and I think he needed a challenge. He also told me that if he stayed home and went to college first he didn't feel like he would become the man he wanted to be. He felt like he needed the discipline of the Marine Corps to motivate him to another level and he really wanted to be a part of something bigger than himself. He identified with The Commander in Chief and felt called to this. Face it, he is no longer your little boy.
THANKS TO DIANE, ONE TERRIFIC MARINE MOM!