Becoming one of the few and the proud


From Francis Howell to Fort Zumwalt East, high school students scattered all throughout the Greater Saint Louis area meet every Tuesday and Thursday after school at the Marine Corps recruiting station on Mid Rivers Mall Drive. Whether it’d be snow, rain, or the miserable heat of Missouri’s summers, these seventeen and 18-year-old students, will endure the rigorous physical training sessions lead by the Marine Corps recruiters and reservists. As members of the Delayed Entry Program, better known as poolees, these high schools have committed to serve and protect their country upon graduating high school. But before these poolees can claim the title of United States Marine, a title held by less than one percent of the American population, they must endure thirteen grueling weeks of boot camp. For thirteen weeks, recruits will have no contact with loved ones except through the form of pen and paper. For thirteen weeks, recruits will undergo the constant scrutiny of drill instructors. And at the end of those thirteen weeks, the recruits will emerge stronger than they’ve ever been before. They will be United States Marines.
According to Staff Sergeant Landis, the purpose of the stations triweekly physical training sessions is to help prepare the members of the DEP for the mental and physical challenges that they will face at boot camp.
“We help them on a multitude of avenues, whether it’d be running, pull-ups, crunches, or any other various exercises that we can do to help prepare they for boot camp,” Staff Sergeant Landis said. “We want them to succeed, and make the most of PT, and overall to come home as Marines.