View Full Version : Life's difficulties propel drill instructor

07-10-04, 10:49 AM
Life's difficulties propel drill instructor
Submitted by: MCRD San Diego
Story Identification #: 20047814242
Story by Cpl. Shawn M. Toussaint

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif.(July 9, 2004) -- Staff Sgt. John B. Noel, drill instructor, platoon 2079, Company H, overcame challenges and turned them into the passion that leads to winning in life.

At age 5, Noel lost his mother and was sent to live with his godparents. It was an experience that taught him nothing should be taken for granted and there are no second chances in life, said Noel. It is a lesson he takes with him into the ranks of the Marine Corps and his job of making Marines.

"Growing up, I learned to take nothing for granted," said Noel of his early years growing up with his godparents on the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia after his mother died. "I learned people will help you, but you have to be willing to help yourself first. My decision to join the Corps was made with that in mind."

Noel is aware that some of the young men he trains have experiences similar to his own. He also knows that for some of those men, joining the Marine Corps was the first step they have ever taken toward helping themselves.

"Everyone takes on challenges in life," said Noel. "The goal is to take those challenges and grow from them."

For many of the new recruits Noel trains, Marine Corps recruit training is the toughest challenge they've ever faced.

Though Noel does not often share the story about his mother with his recruits, he does let them know in true drill instructor fashion that things could be worse.

"I let them know it's about taking on challenges and over coming them." When I graduated from recruit training, I felt there was no challenge I could not overcome. I want them to feel the same way when they graduate."

Noel knows he is responsible for training his recruits to face one of the biggest challenges of mankind: war.

Having faced the challenges of war himself, Noel put every ounce of his energy into training his recruits to be the kind of Marines who do the right thing in battle.

"I know that once they graduate, after (Marine Combat Training) or (the School of Infantry), there is a ... chance they will be in Iraq during some point of their four-year enlistment," Noel said. "I want them to be ready to look out for the guy to their right and left, because those guys are their family. The Corps is a family."

Today, the guy to Noel's right and left are his fellow drill instructors. According to some of them, Noel's perseverance to overcome challenges is one of his primary strengths as a drill instructor.

"At Drill Instructor School, some of us thought his heavy Caribbean accent would hurt his ability to communicate with recruits and conduct drill," said Staff Sgt. Saul Barajas, drill instructor, platoon 2082, Company H. "He basically turned what people thought would hurt him into one of his biggest strengths. He is a dedicated hard worker and an asset to Hotel Company."

The driving force behind Noel's passion of transforming young men into Marines is his desire to be a positive influence in the lives of others.

"I'm having fun," said Noel with a smile. "I always knew I would be a drill instructor. It's the best job to have, if you want to influence people to change for the better."

Noel's role within his platoon as the "third hat" is mainly that of a disciplinarian and teacher.

"Discipline is what sets the Marine Corps apart from the other services, and it is also what makes the difference in how people overcome life's challenges," said Noel.


Drill instructor Staff Sgt. John B. Noel, platoon 2079, Company H, credits his ability to take on and overcome challenges to his success in life and on the drill field. Photo by: Cpl. Shawn M. Toussaint


The Drifter's Wife


07-11-04, 07:56 PM
Thank you for shareing that!