Off to boot camp

Senior Austin Sherriff accepted into Marines


Photo courtesy of a. sherriff

Some students see college as the perfect stepping stone from high school to a career, and some plan to dive straight into the workforce. For senior Austin Sherriff, the Marines will act as the introduction to the rest of his life.

   “The military has always been something that I wanted to do,” Sherriff said. “I think it’s always been my calling… It’s kind of my family legacy; everybody on my Dad’s side and a lot of people on my Mom’s side have been through the military, and so it feels like a tradition to carry on.”

   Before Sherriff could begin to fulfill his his goal of being in the military, he went through a long and trying enlistment process. He spent around 16 hours at MEPS, Military Entrance Processing Command, over the summer.

   “[Enlisting] was an interesting process,” Sherriff said. “It took longer than usual because they were understaffed that day, and there were 54 other people there enlisting… I woke up at 4 AM and didn’t get home until 8 PM.”  

   During Sherriff’s day at MEPS, he went through a variety of physical and psychiatric evaluations that are meant to ensure an individual’s good health before they enter the military. The evaluation is highly selective and often difficult to pass.

   “You can get kicked out for some pretty stupid stuff,” Sherriff said. “There was a girl there who got kicked out for just using iron supplements.”

   Despite the challenging nature of the evaluations, Sherriff was soon notified that he had been accepted. After he completes his senior year, he will ship out to Basic Training, or “boot camp,” on July 15th, 2019.

   Boot camp will last for three months, and it will likely take place at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California.

   “[Basic Training] is a rough process, but it’s definitely something that I’m looking forward to,” Sherriff said. “I’m expecting a lot of pain and suffering and yelling; I’m expecting what the movies make it out to be, more than anything else: a lot of yelling, a lot of exercising, a lot of learning about how things function.”

   Once Sherriff completes boot camp, he will go through about a year and a half of training for his MOS, or Military Occupational Specialty, which will be in aviation mechanics. He will focus on building airplane parts and ensuring that they work correctly.

   Because of the versatility of Sherriff’s specialty, he could be deployed anywhere, whether it be overseas or on US soil. Either way, he won’t be near a combat zone which has been good news for his friends and family who share his excitement.

   “My family’s proud of me, and my friends are definitely excited for me. My girlfriend’s excited, but she’s definitely nervous about me having to leave,” Sherriff said. “[My parents] are definitely proud that I’m doing it; they’re excited to see me take that step in life.”

   Although Sherriff now looks forward to going into the Marines, prior to this past summer, he planned to enter the Army. A call from Staff Sergeant Casey Yelton convinced him to transfer to another branch.

   “Over the summer, I got a call from Staff Sergeant Yelton, and he asked me why I was going into the Army and not the Marines,” Sherriff said. “He showed me that the Army recruiter was not necessarily giving me the full truth on some things. That struck a chord with me, and I decided to join the Delayed Entry Program in the Marine Corps.”

   The Delayed Entry Program (DEP) is where one first enlists, before starting their Basic Training. Sherriff will remain in this program until he ships out next summer.

   Beyond his service in the Marines, Sherriff has little idea of what he wants to do with the rest of his future.

   “I don’t really want to go through four more years of school just for a useless degree that I don’t know I’m sure about. I know that I’m sure about joining the military,” Sherriff said. “I’ve gotten my job contract signed and everything for my first enlistment, so I’m going to see how that goes before I make a decision on what I want to be doing in the future.”

   While Sherriff knows that there will likely be hardships and obstacles to come, he feels ready to face them and is confident in his decision.

   “I’m not necessarily worried about anything,” Sherriff said. “I’m just ready to get out there and get it done.”