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thedrifter
07-12-07, 03:39 PM
Marine recruits ready to fight for their country

Web Posted: 07/12/2007 01:39 AM CDT

Jessica Silva
KENS 5 Eyewitness News

Part two of two

More than 25,000 Marines are serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Marine recruits go through much stress and physical demands from the moment they step off the bus, but the training only gets harder as recruits get closer to graduation from Marine boot camp in San Diego, Calif., and the front lines overseas.

With just three days left in training, Judson High School graduate Joseph Delfrate can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

"After high school, I was like, 'Well, I'm not going to college,' and I wanted to make a name for myself, so the Marines ... they're the best and I want to be part of the best," he said.

However, becoming a Marine also means deployment to Iraq.

"I'm ready to do whatever my country wants me to do," Delfrate said.

He's not alone. Recruits in all stages of training share Delfrate’s sentiment.

"I have no problem going overseas, fighting for what I think is right," Marine recruit and South San High School graduate George Aldana said.

"I'm hoping to be deployed," Marine recruit and South San graduate Joshua Esparza said.

"If my number was called to go to war, I would have to accept the fact," Private Michael Reta, a Kennedy High School graduate, said.

Phase two of the training moves recruits to Camp Pendleton, only 30 minutes north of San Diego, but worlds away.

At Camp Pendleton, recruits go through what's called the Crucible.

"All the stations are geared toward working as a team, working as a team,” recruit Jared Griggs said. “It's not about one person, it's about everybody working together.”

Over the course of three days, they get very little to eat and only four hours of sleep a night.

"They just got to pass that mental block of being fatigued and hungry and all that, and just push on, move on, just like you would in a combat scenario when you're fatigued," drill instructor Staff Sgt. Ryan Hurtado said.

From start to finish, the Crucible is designed to create a high-stress environment so that recruits are as prepared as possible for real combat.

Once recruits complete the Crucible and phase two of their training, they move on to phase three, where recruits are tested on everything they've learned and prepare for graduation.

For the first time in three months, families can catch a glimpse as recruits run past them on their motivational run.

Even though recruits may not be worried about going to war, for parents like Joe Delfrate, Joseph's father, it's a huge concern.

"As a father, that role, I mean, is where the apprehension comes from,” Joe Delfrate said. “Wanting to be the protector, make sure that he's safe."

However, fear soon turns into pride as family members emotionally watch their sons become Marines.

"He's everything I never was," Joe said.

"I love my family so much. I haven't seen them in three months, and it's been the longest I've been away from home, as well as the hardest," Joseph said.

"This is my boy, my Marine, right here," Paul Anderson's father said.

"I've accomplished things I never thought I could do, and I've changed for the better. I'm the same person, but I'm not," Paul said.

After experiencing a very condensed version of what it takes to become a Marine, KENS left with a whole new perspective of their motto — " Semper fidelis" — or, "Always faithful."

That's because these young men sweat, cry and bleed their way through to commit their mind, body and soul into serving our country.

After graduation, Marines have 10 days leave to spend with their family and friends. Most will spend about four months in the United States before deployment overseas.

Ellie