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Training and Education Command

United States Marine Corps
Recruit overcomes family struggles to become Marine

By Pfc. Paul Matthew Paul | August 22, 2008

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Goodwin waits for a teammate to pass him a plank so he may cross a gap without touching the ground during an obstacle course exercise during the Crucible.

Goodwin waits for a teammate to pass him a plank so he may cross a gap without touching the ground during an obstacle course exercise during the Crucible. (Photo by Pfc. Paul Matthew Brown)


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Recruit Andrew W. Goodwin sights in and provides security while his fellow recruits finish a Crucible exercise at Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Camp Pendleton, Calif., Aug. 12

Recruit Andrew W. Goodwin sights in and provides security while his fellow recruits finish a Crucible exercise at Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Camp Pendleton, Calif., Aug. 12 (Photo by Pfc. Paul Matthew Brown)


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MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO -- The rigors and swift change in lifestyle that comes with Marine Corps recruit training can often be a damper on a recruit’s motivation. There are some that are able to retain their motivation and drive during the highs and lows of recruit training. Pfc. Andrew W. Goodwin of Platoon 1069 was one such person.

Before leaving for boot camp, Goodwin’s home life was slowly becoming overwhelming, and a strain was put on his relationship with his mother.

At first, his mother was very supportive of his decision to join.  She even helped her son sign up in the Delayed Entry Program because he was still a high school junior.  While in the DEP, Goodwin focused his time on preparing for the Marine Corps, both physically and mentally, with his recruiter.

Goodwin was only in the DEP six months before learning his ship date to boot camp would be moved forward.

Although Goodwin was still motivated to become a Marine and was having good experiences in the DEP, Goodwin’s mother had trouble handling his early departure to recruit training.

As the time for Goodwin’s departure to recruit training drew closer, his family situation became worse and more complicated because his mother was going through personal struggles that began affecting her emotionally.

Goodwin ended up moving in with a good friend for the remaining two and a half months until his ship date.

“When I got (to the depot), I still really wanted to be a Marine, but I was really down,” said Goodwin, a native of West, Texas.

Although Goodwin was feeling down, he did not let it affect his performance.

Initially, the majority of recruits have problems with teamwork and obeying all orders immediately, but I never really experienced too many problems with Goodwin, explained Sgt. Lindsay J. Poorman, a drill instructor, Platoon 1069, Company D.

On his third week here, Goodwin received his first letter. It was from his mother, who wrote apologizing for the way she treated him. 

As he continued through recruit training, Goodwin took to heart what his drill instructors would teach him and was replacing his personality faults of lying and tardiness with our Corps’ values of honor, courage and commitment.

This transformation would soon find its way into Goodwin’s persona; he was motivated to make sure of it.

“In second phase, Goodwin was ready to be a Marine,” Poorman said. “He was taking the initiative, more outspoken and was standing taller.”              

His mother continued to write asking for forgiveness, but it wasn’t until third phase when Goodwin contacted her.

“I realized that I had a commitment to her. She was still my family, still my mother. People make mistakes or bad choices sometimes and deserve second chances,” said Goodwin. “It took courage to forgive her.”

This action was proof that Goodwin had successfully made the transformation from a raw recruit to a refined Marine.

“I’m proud of the work the other drill instructors and I did,” said Poorman, who is from Toledo, Ohio. “I’m certain Goodwin will be a good Marine.”

After amends were made, his mother said she would come to his graduation and try to make things right.

“If she needs help, I’ll help steer her in the right direction,” he said. “If she needs motivation, I will try and motivate her.”

Goodwin graduates with his company Friday.


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