Uniform. It's a word used as an adjective or noun. As an adjective it means unvarying, conforming, always the same. As a noun it describes a distinctive outfit intended to identify those who wear it as members of a specific group. I cannot think of a uniform that is harder to earn or more proudly worn than that of a US Marine.
By the time you read this my son Marine Recruit Robert Eubank will be in his fifth day of basic training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego.
Robert started his journey to become a Marine Recruit in 2012. After talking to his recruiter Sergeant Bryan Burnell he decides joining the Marine Corp would provide him with the opportunity to finish his university degree and to work in the intelligence field in foreign countries. I suspect too Robert's desire to challenge himself to see if he measures up with the best of the best.
As part of the recruiting process Robert undergoes the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) proved he has the skills to serve his country well in a number of capacities. Once he makes the commitment he becomes Poolee Eubank, as in "in the pool" of prospective recruits. Tall and lanky Poolee Eubank begins months of physical training to get his body in shape to better withstand the rigors of basic training that looms a few short months away.
As parents a Poolee at home means learning new terms and acronyms. Tom and I attend a potluck with other Poolee Parents to learn more about what our sons and daughters have been doing to prepare for basic training and how we can best support them in their commitment to serve their country.
Robert's status remains Marine Recruit until he graduates from basic training in June. His current uniform is a Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform (MCCUU). These uniforms in either desert tan/brown shades or woodland green/tan/brown/black shades were developed to give the Marines an edge over their enemies. Generally people think of camouflage clothing as having big splotches of colors to make the person disappear. The MCCUU fabric pattern is made of millions of computer generated digital rectangular pixels. With so many tiny pixels of the various colors meshing together the Marines can more effectively conceal themselves from their enemies. The uniform is designed to keep the Poolee comfortable in hot weather for those long 20-mile hike with full loads.
Over the next thirteen weeks Robert will be tested in unimaginable ways. He will be forever changed. He will learn to be uniform in his commitment to this country, uniform in his squadron and proud to wear the uniform of a recruit.
This article won't reach Robert for a few weeks. I want him to know how proud we are of him:
"Honor Courage Commitment!"