25 October, 2006

A Marine in the Making

Sometimes someone who passes through the USO makes such an impact on me that I wish I could keep on eye on his future and see how things develop. Last week I encountered one of those people, a young recruit I suspect I will never forget.

A group of four Marine recruits had nervously approached the reception desk. After they received their instructions and a verbal tour of the facilities they stood around a moment, seemingly a bit unsure what to do next. Seeing their hesitation, the volunteer seated next to me teased them a little, commenting loudly to a Marine Corporal standing nearby, "Poor things, they look so lost."

Three of the recruits shuffled their feet and looked a little bashful, though they tried to act like they were comfortable and unafraid. But one recruit who had already started to walk away, turned suddenly when he heard the volunteer's teasing comment. Standing proudly, he raised his eyes to her and replied with a firm voice of absolute confidence, "No, ma'am. I just now found my way."

"Now that's the right answer!" I exclaimed as I turned toward the corporal who quietly nodded his head and tried to disguise his approving smile.

What I wouldn't give to see where that young recruit is in 15 or 20 years...