Leadership Stories – The Final Phase
It was all beginning to sink in. I was just a few days away from finishing Marine Corps Boot Camp! WOW!
The struggle had been unbearable at times. When this all began about thirteen weeks ago I thought there was no way I would ever finish. I truly had the feeling that I would be trapped here for the rest of my life. It must be the way prisoners feel.
Leadership Stories – Such a dramatic change in my life!
I had arrived a punk little immature kid and would be leaving a United States Marine. Was this even possible. What started off as a challenge from my Dad, would be ending in such a dramatic change in my life.
When my Dad said that he didn't even think I would make it through Boot Camp, I had to show him. I had to prove that he was wrong. Did my Dad know what he had provided for me? Did he actually choose those words he said that day, or was it just a reaction?
I had asked him later and he claims that he knew what he was doing and saying. He claims that he said those words because he knew it would drive me to accomplish my goal.
As a father of four children today I hope I seem that wise to them. My Dad had provided me with the push and drive to make it through Boot Camp. To not only make it through Boot Camp but to excel and receive my first promotion for finishing as a squad leader.
We were only one or two days away from graduating and the Senior Drill Instructor called me into his office where he was meeting with the other two Drill Instructor's.
As I ran from my bunk where I had been shining my brass preparing for graduation day I couldn't help wonder why he wanted to see me.
My mind was racing! What had I done that was so bad that all three were going to have a piece of me? I quickly ran through the list in my mind. Had I locked my foot locker? Had I left something out? Was I doing something just now that was wrong? The answer was no to all of them.
When I arrived in his office standing at attention I yelled out the customary greeting “Sir, Private reporting as ordered, Sir!”
Out of no where he pounds me with his fist into the left side of my chest! Then he grabs me by my collar with both hands clinching the top of my shirt tightly around my throat as me pushed me back into the wall.
I knew whatever was going on, or whatever I had done, I must have deserved it.
These three men that I will never forget had transformed me. If they thought I needed a beating, then a beating I would get. I trusted them enough to know that every experience I had been through so far, as painful as they were, helped to make me better.
As I was standing there being supported a little by him with his hands clinching tightly on my shirt that was making it hard to breath and the wall, I wondered what would be next.
Then he released me!
I don't know if I smiled when he spoke those words or not, but on the inside I was beaming!
I thought to myself that this guy who was the Senior Drill Instructor had just congratulated me!
Now maybe he did this to each and every one, I don't know for sure. But for just this one moment in time, I was in his good graces. He had congratulated me for a good job!
About that time he got in my face again with a little bit of a smile, which I didn't think was possible, and screamed “Now get the Hell out of here!” Then he pulled me away from the wall a little and shoved me toward the door!
I knew that smile was meant for me! I knew that under this tough shell of man was a real person after all.
I was on cloud nine, whatever that means, for the rest of the time I was there!
Graduation Day was just right around the corner!