03 August 2012


by Andy Weddington
Friday, 03 August 2012

"Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone." G. B. Stern

By the time Robert Moore reported to F Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, to tackle recruit training, I had already left the company and was soon to assume command of D Company--F Company's twin brother.

But my absence really did not matter for even if in the company the chances I'd have known Recruit Moore are slim--unless he was struggling or exceptional.

So I did not know, nor do I know today, Robert Moore. I don't know anything about him. I don't know if he goes by Robert, Rob(by), or Bob(by), or an endearing moniker given him by family during childhood or a quirky one conjured up by his brother Marines. I don't know what he did after recruit training--what training he received; duty stations assigned; deployments; ranks, badges, decorations, or promotions earned; nor how long he served on active duty or whether or not he served in the reserves. I don't know where he lives. I have no idea what he does for a living nor if he's married and has children. And so on and so forth.

What do I know about Robert Moore? I know he's a Marine. So I know a great deal about his character. It takes considerable courage to walk into a Marine recruiter's office. It takes even more courage to sign papers, raise your right hand, and swear an oath.

And knowing how he was trained, I have a good idea how he thinks and that he's not a quitter--for it takes more courage still to complete recruit training and to conquer all the challenges of active service. Daily life in the operating forces is rigorous.

Even without him saying so, I know becoming a Marine changed Robert Moore's life.

And when his service, however long it was, ended the Marine Corps, as it pledges to do, returned a better citizen to the community.

A few days ago I visited the Facebook page for F Company: https://www.facebook.com/groups/110877762294246/

I dropped by to review photographs recently posted of the F Company drill instructor reunion held at Parris Island a few weeks ago (I was fortunate to be among a handful of the officers in attendance). I noticed there were a few posts from someone named Robert Moore. The name Moore struck a chord but not Robert. Back in the day, the company's first sergeant (today a retired sergeant major and in attendance at the reunion) name was Moore but his first name not Robert. Another Moore in the company did not come to mind. So I read Robert's posts.

In his words...

"To the men who were Drill Instructors in 2nd Bn. Fox Co. congrats on a fun reunion. Well deserved. This recruit will forever be in your debt for your service to your country and to the thousands of young men you have trained. My life was at a dead end and in three months I was reborn with hope, life skills and motivation which has made my life a success. You may never fully realize how many lives you have enriched. Semper Fi" 

"Enjoy your time! You men have earned it. I was a recruit of 2nd Bn. Fox Co. from April to June 1985. My life was transformed due to the Drill Instructors of this Bn. I cannot thank you all enough for what you have done for your country and for myself. Semper Fi" 

"Please make sure 1SGT [sic] Moore gets this message as well. He was my 1SGT [sic] and were we scared (respect) of that man. 1st class role model."

Drill instructors lead and train their recruits by means of a simple pledge:

"These recruits are entrusted to my care. I will train them to the best of my ability. I will develop them into smartly disciplined, physically fit, basically trained Marines, thoroughly indoctrinated in love of Corps and country. I will demand of them, and demonstrate by my own example, the highest standards of personal conduct, morality, and professional skill."

With that bit of guidance drill instructors change lives. And every once in a while they hear about it--words of gratitude are never too late. Thanks, Robert. Rest assured the drill instructors of F Company appreciate your words. As will any Marine who has ever been a drill instructor.

Semper Fidelis.

The men of "F" Company - 1983

Some of the men of "F" Company - Reunion 2012
(with Regimental CO and 2nd Bn CO)

In closing, an update...

A few weeks ago I met a gentleman whose son was, the next day, off to Marine Corps Officer Candidates School and I wrote commentary about that encounter. After nearly three hours visiting with him aboard the airplane and speaking with his son, by phone, for a few minutes to offer an encouraging word, I asked to be kept apprised of progress. The following email, from his father, arrived last week...


Just wanted to let you know that we received a couple of letters. Thought you would be interested to hear some of his comments. 

He wrote one letter the night before they met their Sergeants - "I'll let you know how things go tomorrow.  I'm sure it's one of those things I'll hate, but cherish forever." 

"The hardest part is probably the lack of sleep. I'm getting 2-3 hours a night. But the PT is hard and the training is fun. Of course, I'm the only one who thought low crawling through trenches filled with muddy water with barbed wire over our heads was fun.  But that is what I came here for." 

About the food he said - "For some reason, they're really big on boiled eggs here. I've eaten more boiled eggs than Cool Hand Luke."  "I have never eaten so much food in my life. And I'm still not gaining weight. The food isn't that bad either." 

He had this to say about "The Quigley" - "Probably the scariest thing I've done. But it was awesome."

He seems to be keeping a pretty good and positive attitude about everything. No real complaints - just a lot of hard work, which is what he expected.  

I hope that I have not gone on too much. Thank you for your emails and for sharing your blog posts.  I will keep you as informed as you request to be. Honored to have you interested."

And in response I wrote something along the lines of, 'Heartwarming. Your son's words could have been written by a candidate some 32 years ago and going back decades further. Happy to hear there has been progress at the OCS chow hall--in the "old Corps" they did not cook the eggs. Yes, please keep me informed."

No more updates as of this posting. But I can pretty well imagine. Will keep you posted.  

Post Script

Gunnery Sergeant Cooke and Staff Sergeant Hardison were my platoon sergeant and sergeant instructor at Officer Candidates School. Superb Marines!


Tom H. said...

A nice, light, uplifting blog. I needed this after a very long, challenging week. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Tom H...I was a Drill Instructor of F Co., 2RtBn, from 1983-1985. Semper Fi to all the Marines, their spouses and children.I have retired from the USMC, with 30 years, as a Gunnery Sergeant. Robert N.