View Full Version : Athleticism defines SDI

02-22-04, 06:55 AM
Athleticism defines SDI
Submitted by: MCRD San Diego
Story Identification Number: 2004218115612
Story by Sgt. L. F. Langston

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif.(February 13, 2004) -- Competitive athleticism is commonly found throughout green landscapes of American playing fields, but it also thrives on the blacktop center of the Depot.

Maintaining that competitive athleticism hasn't been easy for Staff Sgt. Mark Kand, senior drill instructor, Platoon 1141, Company D, who was born in Huntington Beach, Calif. and raised in South Carolina, Alaska, and Kentucky.

Living fit and being involved in athletics, Kand admits his athletics have suffered from long work hours and devoting time to his wife, Stephanie Kand, and their infant daughter Maci.

"Athletics is an important part of my life," said Kand. "I'll probably raise my girl with that same mentality."

Staying involved in athletics has been ongoing in Kand's life, which has created his reputation as a hard worker.

Involving himself in wrestling in his first year in high school, Kand was bigger than advertised, weighing 130 pounds and competing in the 145-pound weight class.

Currently, he still gets a bit of old-school wrestling in by way of Marine Corps martial arts.

"I really enjoy getting out there and grappling on the mat," said Kand. "You're not dependent on anyone. It's just you."

Kand has been at the forefront of leadership and is accustomed to teammates and Marines depending on him.

He played defensive end on the Chugiak High School football team in Eagle River, Alaska, and was chosen for the Alaska all-state team two years in a row. Even then, Kand displayed his enthusiasm and leadership that is evident now.

"I always remember the tough guys," said Bruce Shearer, former Chugiak football coach. "He was an outstanding player and always pumped up the guys on the field."

The football field wasn't the only place Kand's intensity was present, however. After losing a bet with his brother that he would make the Western Kentucky University football team as a walk-on, his cousin persuaded him to test his skills with rugby.

After a few pick-up games, Kand was hooked and a passion for the rugged sport erupted.

"As long as I'm healthy and able to play, I'll always play rugby," said Kand.

He got together with teammates to raise money for team fees and travel expenses to play throughout the Southern states. Kand said he enjoyed himself at Western Kentucky University.

But after about a year at the university, Kand found his grades slipping and his concentration on academics declining.

Kand made the decision to join the Marine Corps with a little help from a fellow teammate who was a Marine reservist.

Kand decided to take his hunger for competition to the Corps, hoping to continue his athletic routine.

His hopes came true and he continued to play rugby throughout his Marine Corps career, including with the Misfits of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. His participation in sports has helped him maintain high physical fitness scores.

"I enjoyed my first years being sent to schools and playing rugby," said Kand.

As any athlete wanting to be the best, Kand wanted to step up to the next level in the Corps.

"To me, being a drill instructor is the pinnacle of a Marine's career," said Kand. "I have a lot of respect for my drill instructors, and I wanted to achieve that level too."

Now on the drill field and maintaining a high work tempo, Kand still finds time to squeeze in the occasional workout.

Although the drill field is not entirely depleting his physical fitness, Kand said he is ready to regain his rugged sports days.


Staff Sgt. Mark Kand, senior drill instructor, Platoon 1141, Company D, has a passion for athletic competition, which blends well with his Marine Corps career. Photo by: Sgt. L. F. Langston