MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. --
After more than a two-year absence of the program, 16 Young Marine recruits graduated from the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Young Marine Boot Camp, aboard Marine Corps Station Miramar, Sept. 28.
The ceremony marks the completion of a four-week course for children who participated in the youth education and service program for boys and girls, ages 8 through 18.
“I am graduating and will become a Private,” said Nathan Finch, one of the graduates. “I am pretty excited and feel proud of myself, especially after all the drill and testing.”
The recruits’ graduation mirrored Marine Corps boot camp graduation. Marine mentors marched the recruits on the station parade field and called them to attention in tri-colored cammies in front of their parents. Their leaders spoke words of encouragement and challenged the families of the new Young Marines to keep their children involved.
“My son has learned Corps values: honor, courage and commitment,” said Capt. Arlington A. Finch, the Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 11, Marine Aircraft Group 11 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, avionics officer. “Congratulations on becoming official Young Marines. This program here will stay running as long as parents support the children.”
The program promotes the mental, moral, and physical development of its members. The program emphasizes character building, leadership, and promotes a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. They spend time helping the community by providing color guard support, visiting the elderly and helping with local charities.
“I volunteered to help mentor the Young Marines and to improve myself in the process,” said Lance Cpl. Michael Reo, an aviation electrician with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 11 and Young Marine drill instructor.
After the graduation ceremony, the new Young Marines were treated to cake and other refreshments concluding the day’s events.
“Because the units that sponsored the Young Marines aren’t here right now, there was a period we didn’t have any Young Marines,” said Greta Hayden, the senior advisor.
The recruit training runs four weeks and consists of PT, introduction to Marine Corps knowledge and conquering obstacle courses. The recruits also spent two weekends at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton for encampment training, similar to the Marine Corps Recruit training Crucible.
The next Boot Camp starts in January. Until then, the Young Marines intend to provide a color guard for the NFL Alumni Golf Tournament in October and community service in the San Diego area.
Parents interested in the Miramar Young Marine Program can contact Hayden at 858-829-8640.