Gung-Ho Recruit

Bay City High School senior Jeremiah Quintania, left, lifts a 30-pound ammo box once more in a timed two-minute speed drill while Palacios High School graduate Connor Crawford, right, spots him at a U.S. Marine Corps training session held last week at the El Campo High School track. Local Marine recruits from around the area, including graduates and students from ECHS and Louise High School, will be meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays to train for their upcoming boot camps.

Determination and physical ability are the key ingredients needed by local Marine recruits training in El Campo this summer as they prepare for their respective boot camps.

The local training camps are being held on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the summer. They are designed to help recruits build up endurance and strength before they enter the Marine Corps. Marine Recruiter Sgt. Kendall Guischard led the last session, held on July 13 at the Ricebird track, supervising a group of about 10 recruits as they lifted weights and ran laps.

To be accepted into the Marines, recruits need to pass physical exams and take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test. They also need to undergo training and complete boot camp.

“I wouldn’t say it’s difficult,” Guischard said. “I would definitely say, a lot of people say it’s harder to enlist into the Marine Corps … we do have the longest boot camp, but as long as you have heart, you have drive, you have determination, you have a passion you can achieve that and earn the title U.S. Marine.”

At the July 13 El Campo training session, Zackary Hynes of El Campo prepared for his boot camp in San Diego, Calif. on Aug. 30. Hynes was sworn into the Marine Corps in January, and entering the service has been a dream of his since he was 11 years old.

“You see many services, and they’re all close, but there’s something about the marines,” Hynes said. “The brotherhood … really drew me to that.”

An El Campo High School 2021 graduate, Hynes enjoys athletic activities, and is excited to begin his career in the marines. He is undecided on what specific job he would like to work, but is considering staying in the marines beyond his initial contract.

“I’ll take it day by day, but I do kind of want to shoot for a full blown career in the marines,” Hynes said. “The benefits are also what draw me to it. It’s not all about the benefits, but they really do help.”

Also an ECHS class of 2021 graduate, Josh Holder joined the marines to pursue a career as an air traffic controller. His father served as a marine, and Holder is excited to follow a similar path.

“I always was kind of … drawn to the military, and I knew I wanted something more than college,” Holder said. “I didn’t want just the basic: go to college for four years; get an education. I wanted something unique.”

Holder loves to skydive whenever he can and is working toward obtaining a license. He also leaves for boot camp in San Diego on Aug. 30, which will be a thrilling, but nerve-wracking experience, Holder said. 

“I really want to go, but it’s going to be tough too at the same time,” he added. “It’s not going to be easy. I’m excited, because you’ll meet a lot of new people.”

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