View Full Version : Pomp, unusual circumstance

05-06-06, 08:07 AM
From The Northwest Herald
Pomp, unusual circumstance

When Pfc. Maureen Gard was in grade school, the other children joked that "Maureen Gard would be a Marine guard."

Now, Gard is a Crystal Lake South High School graduate and a private first class in the U.S. Marine Corps.

And if she is stationed at the Crystal Lake recruiting office at the end of May, something her mother, Joanne, Gard is 95 percent sure of, Gard will be the first student in recent memory to walk across the stage June 3 as an active-duty Marine.

"I called and asked if I could wear my dress blues and be called private first class at graduation," Gard said.

"They had to double-check with the principal because no one had done it before."

Director of Guidance Mike Dunker has worked at South for the past 22 years, or most of the school's 28-year history.

"As far as I know, I don't remember it ever occurring before," Dunker said.

After graduating early from South, Gard headed to boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., as a 17-year-old recruit.

For three months, Gard endured hand-to-hand combat and rifle training, miles of swimming and jogging, and numerous physical fitness tests.

Then there was the weeklong rite of passage known as the Crucible.

In the Crucible, recruits receive three ready-to-eat meals to ration over 54 hours and sleep four hours a night while confronting 29 problem-solving tasks and traveling 42 miles on foot.

But Gard said her only moment of hesitation in her decision came long before she passed the grueling tests and completed miles of hikes.

She was on the bus entering the recruiting facility when she had her first doubts. The instructors told the recruits to close their eyes and lower their heads. They wanted to make sure no one knew how to escape.

"I heard the drill instructor say, 'there's no freedom,'" Gard said. "If we tried to leave, we would be prosecuted," Gard said. "They made me feel like I wasn't a person. I thought, 'I don't know what I just did. I just want to go home.'"

But Gard did not go home. She completed boot camp and graduated as private first class April 21.

Gard, who played tuba in high school, will join the Marine Corps Band after six months of music training in June. She left May 1 for three weeks of military combat training at Camp Geiger in North Carolina.

When Gard first mentioned her military plans to her mom at the beginning of her senior year, she immediately vetoed the idea.

"I told her, 'Do you realize we're at war?'" Joanne Gard said.

She also did not understand why her daughter wanted to join so soon.

But Maureen Gard, who always had considered graduating high school early, continued pursuing the idea. One day while she was at the Marine recruiting office in Crystal Lake, her mother called her cell phone. Maureen Gard told her mom she was working on a project at school.

She said she knew how her mom felt about her enlisting, but Maureen Gard already had made up her mind.

Because she wanted to join the Marines at the age of 17, Maureen needed the written consent of both of her parents. Like boot camp, persuading them was no easy task. Thoughts of U.S. troops scattered across the Middle East made Joanne Gard's objections even stronger.

It was not until her 15-year-old son, Mitchell, also expressed interest in the military that she realized her mistake.

"My reaction to him was completely different than to Maureen," Joanne Gard said. "I said, 'I am not being fair.' That's not how I was brought up, and that's not how I brought my kids up."

After that, Joanne Gard and Maureen's father, Jeff Gard, finally gave their permission.

After that, Maureen began going to the recruiting office not just to ask questions about the Marines, but to watch the film "Full Metal Jacket" and just hang out.

"The recruiters were really supportive," Maureen said. "I loved the office. It became like a second home for me."

Now, Gard has a new support network and a definite plan for the future, something she says not many other teens her age can claim.

"I'm set with a career," Gard said. "I have a plan that I know will work. It's a really good feeling, that I'm out of that teenage stage."

Gard turned 18 April 29, and hopes to play tuba in the "Commandant's Own" Drum and Bugle Corps, a small, elite horn and percussion sector of the Marine Corps Band. At her age, to be a high school graduate and a Marine is something to be proud of, Gard's former guidance counselor Kerri Bowers said.

"You can tell she has that sense of accomplishment," said Bowers, who Gard visited while on a 10-day leave in April. "She knew what she wanted to do and she went out and did it."



05-24-06, 07:12 PM
OOHRAH PFC Gard!! She is an awesome indiviual! http://i63.photobucket.com/albums/h128/lgsmile/Papa%20Co%20Graduation/MaureenGraudation4_2006-228.jpg

05-24-06, 07:38 PM
Congratulations. You seem to have some pride in your daughter, not that you didn't before. But WOW!!! what a picture. Welcome to the Marine Corps family and Smper Fi Pfc

05-24-06, 07:56 PM
GySgt Reagle,
I know you understand when I say "pride" does not begin to describe how I feel about my daughter,her accomplishment. and the incredible love and committment I have seen from her for the Corp. She has just returned from MCT for her 3 week RA position. I'm amazed at even the transformation in her 3 weeks after PI! I wouldn't want to "mess" with her! :)

Thank you Sir, for your service.
Semper Fi.

VPMM Joanne

sgt tony
05-24-06, 08:52 PM
Semper Fi Marine and mat the wings of the eagle keep you on your path

Arlene Horton
05-28-06, 04:31 PM
:flag: To Marine Pfc. Maureen Gard's parents:

You can be justifiably proud of your daughter. She is a welcome addition to the Marine Corps, especially the Woman Marines. Semper Fi, Marine Maureen:iwo:

05-28-06, 06:40 PM
Thanks for carrying on the tradition of THE FEWER THE PROUDER! Semper Fi!

06-06-06, 10:56 PM
http://i63.photobucket.com/albums/h128/lgsmile/Maureen%20HS%20Grad/546573096305_0_SM.jpgVery wonderful, outdoor graduation. Of couse I could pick her out this time!

06-07-06, 12:01 AM
OOHRAH PFC Gard!! She is an awesome indiviual!

Yes, she is!

Parris Island Marines - attention to detail! As I was inspecting for Irish Pennants (there are none - nice job) I noticed her wrist and hand that she is saluting with - those little red bumps.

ALL PI Marines know what that is!!!

Say it all at once ...

06-07-06, 07:26 AM

06-07-06, 03:29 PM

:thumbup: ding-ding-ding ... and we have Winner!

And what have you won? Orders will soon be cut for Parris Island. Yes, the island by the sea and mite will be your new permanent duty station for the next three years!

Thank you very much for playing!

:scared: ahhhhhhh!


06-07-06, 03:37 PM
The pride is intensified when you have a Marine son or daughter. Congratulations.

06-07-06, 07:10 PM
:thumbup: ding-ding-ding ... and we have Winner!

And what have you won? Orders will soon be cut for Parris Island. Yes, the island by the sea and mite will be your new permanent duty station for the next three years!

Thank you very much for playing!

:scared: ahhhhhhh!



Been there, done that, got the t-shirt and all of the left over bottles of skin so soft!:bunny:

06-07-06, 09:09 PM

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt and all of the left over bottles of skin so soft!:bunny:

You chicks got Skin-So-Soft??? Sheesh - our DI's only gave us bayonnets to scrap away the bites, and then only as we walked to and from the Chow Hall (up hill both ways) and we marched through the snow in the summer and winter.

OK .... we did not get Skin So Soft ... ugh!

06-24-06, 10:35 PM
Maureen is doing great at her MOS in Norfolk and is hoping her perm duty station will be, get this, Hawaii or PI. Hmmmm, get the sand fleas didn't get the best of her. Believe it or now, she still considers it "home"!

VPMM Joanne

06-24-06, 11:29 PM
She shouldnt have any problems with strength test totting that damn big tuba or what ever they call that big honken thing.A Camp Gieger Marine, hopre it is as still as tight(squared away) as it was for me 28 yrs. ago.(aaahhh crap I just ruined my night)

09-03-07, 09:11 AM
So it's been very long since I've updated on LCpl Maureen Gard. She is now stationed at MCRD San Diego - with her now husband Cpl Austin Jones. Austin and Maureen went to HS together, played in the band together and joined the Marines a couple of months apart. Austin graduated from MCRD San Diego in Jan 06 and Maureen from PI in April 06. Both went to the School Of Music at Little Creek and the CWO there took a liking these 2 dedicated Marines. He pulled some strings for them and when Austin originally was supposed to be stationed at 29 Palms, he later learned he was going to San Diego as Maureen was going to be there as well. OOHRAH!

So, did I completely approve of the Civil Ceremony they had in March without my knowledge? Well, no...but hey - they are of age and as far as I'm concerned, if they're old enough to be a Marine, they're old enough to make their own life decisions.

THey will have a FULL-BLOWN military wedding next year - but for now they are enjoying their townhouse in Chula Vista - Plus I don't have to pay for a hotel when I've gone out there for business and gotten to spend a couple of days with them!! :cool:


09-06-07, 06:53 PM
Well, what are the odds ;) I come here looking for Marine Corps knowledge for my Meritorious Corporal board and I find LCpl Gard from bootcamp, and her Mom as well! :)

09-06-07, 07:03 PM
Hey there!! TOO FUNNY!! How are you doing?? You need to send LCpl Gard an email and get some conversation going. She is down in the dumps on the music and band right now --- she needs to feel fortunate she's not on the other side of the world as you are and apart from family. She's such a good Marine, but I don't believe she really realizes how bad it could be for her.

I won't say "Say HI to your Mom for me" - since I IM her all the time! :)

Have a great one - wise one!


09-11-07, 10:00 PM
Yes, she definately needs to cheer up. She could be a whole country apart from her family (like you said) and stuck on a tiny little island where it's impossible to get a driving license, you have a midnight curfew, and you can't leave base without a liberty buddy. Then having a command that wants to treat you like you are in bootcamp again. Oh.. and smile - you could be running boots, uts, flak jacket and a 35 pound weight for PT. I'll play the sax any day over this life!