Sibling Marines share same blood, duties, goals on depot's drill field
By Cpl. Thomas Perry
| | July 26, 2002
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT PARRIS ISLAND/EASTERNRECRUITING REGION - --
Most brothers and sisters have shared many things throughout their lifetimes. They share their toys when they are children, their parent's car keys as young adults, and advice as they grow older. Not many brothers and sisters can say they have shared the Parris Island drill field, however.
For Staff Sgt. Alonzo Baxter, senior drill instructor for Platoon 3086, Kilo Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, and his little sister Sgt. Nicole Norman, drill instructor for Platoon 4031, November Co., 4th RTBn., it is a distinction they are more than happy about.
They not only share the drill field, but a love of it. Baxter, who loved the drill field enough to do it all again, served as drill instructor from May 1996 and September 1998 at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego during his first tour.
He has much more experience than his sister, who is on her first full cycle on the drill field after serving a partial tour a few months ago.
"We are on two different levels," said Norman. "We have two different mentalities when it comes down to things. From what I can see from him here and all the advice he has given me, he's definitely the better drill instructor right now. Maybe if I serve a second tour, I can say that I'm the better hat."
Throughout their lives, it has always been more about being together, than being better than, which led to the two siblings finally being stationed together.
"To me, it didn't matter where I was stationed, as long as we were together," said Baxter. "I was always stationed in California, and she was always stationed in Florida and North Carolina. I told her if you go to the drill field I'll go back."
While Norman was in Drill Instructor School, she leaned on her big brother for advice and guidance.
"He gave me a lot of pointers that helped me a great deal when I was going through school," said Norman. "He always kept me motivated, pumped up and ready to go."
Baxter never sugarcoated anything when he was telling his sister about the drill field.
"I told her if you're going to be a drill instructor you're going to be working a lot of hours," said Baxter. "A lot of people are going to give you constructive criticism. Even though it doesn't sound like it, they're just trying to help you out."
They both now deal with the long hours and great amount of mental stress that come attached to the job of drill instructor, but at least now, at the end of the day, whenever that may be, they can go home as a family.