15th MEU News

Marines put 15th MEU on display for Corps' future

5 Oct 2002 | Cpl. Anthony R. Blanco 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

SAN JOSE, Calif.  -- Carloads of future Marines recently swarmed the Moffett Air Field flight line like a pack of wolfs, hungry to learn more about the organization that would soon change their lives forever.
The Marines and Sailors of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit took a break from TRUE training to showcase their weapons and equipment to approximately 300 future devil dogs and their families Oct. 5.

"I liked coming here and having the opportunity to talk to the Marines about their jobs and what the Marine Corps is like after boot camp," said Eric T. Leaphart, who will step on the yellow footprints at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego June 23 next year.  The 17-year-old Alameda native was impressed with the weapon systems and is looking forward to joining the infantry after talking to Marines in the same field.

Leaphart was not the only person impressed with the Marines from Force Reconnaissance and the equipment they presented.

"You can feel the power when you hold one of these guns," Jovani Roa said after holding one of Force Recon's .45 Caliber pistols.  The 17-year-old San Francisco native is expected to leave for boot camp next year in July.  After seeing Force Recon and hearing their stories, he decided to join the infantry and be like the Marines standing behind the weapons. "Being a Marine must be the best, because they just go and there and do it," he added.

The guests and their families weren't the only people to enjoy the interaction; the Marines also enjoyed talking about their weapons and what it's like to be a Marine.

"I think this is a good opportunity for the poolees to look at and touch the weapons they might get to use in the future," said Cpl. Chris A. Callahan,  of  3rd Platoon, 1st Force Reconnaissance. 

Callahan said he was pleased with the number of people interested in the infantry.  "Why would you join anything but the infantry? That's what the Marine Corps is -- a forward fighting force," Callahan added.

While the eager teen-agers were looking at the weapon systems, they continued to inquire about the Marines' knowledge of life in the fleet.

"I hope these kids got something out of this today," Lance Cpl. Mark E. Moore, infantryman, Trailer Platoon, Battalion Landing Team 2/1 said.  "One recruiter told me that everyone he enlisted was going into the infantry, and I know they got something out of this."

Some of the poolees seemed mesmerized with some of the weapons and really enjoyed staring down the sights of an M240G Medium Machine Gun with a night vision scoped attached to the top.

"I think it's overwhelming for most of them because they probably have never handled a weapon before today," Moore said.   "Most of them have probably only seen these weapons in the movies, and to see them here, it's going to grab their attention."

Not everyone flocked to the weapons though. The future Marines who weren't joining the infantry spent time talking to communications, intelligence and the air wing Marines about their jobs.

As Cpl. Michael R. McDonald said, "It's a good feeling letting (the poolees) know what they're about to get into, about boot camp, and the Marine Corps as a whole.  This was a good experience for the poolees to see how the Marine Corps works, and not just from the recruiters perspective," he added.

Seeing the Marines in action up close and personal might have made the difference in making a decision on what they wanted to do in the Marine Corps, according to Cpl. Keith P. Garrett, geographic intelligence specialist, 15th MEU.

15th Marine Expeditionary Unit