MCRD/ERR PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. -- Recruit Nicholas Mink graduates today. His family came to see their second son, third-generation Marine, graduate from recruit training at Parris Island. The new Marine has taken his first step toward carrying on the legacy set by his brother, father and grandfather.
His grandfather enlisted and served time in Korea, attaining the rank of corporal, and that short time in the Corps has had a resounding impact on this family.
Nicholas' father has served in the enlisted ranks, as a warrant officer and now a commissioned officer, who recently returned from Afghanistan.
His brother, Dustin, graduated from recruit training in April, and now it is Nicholas' turn.
The Marine mentality is something that is not in short supply with this family, and they have nothing but good things to say about and continue to give to the Marine Corps.
It stems from a grandfather who wishes he had stayed in the Corps longer; he has spread some of his love for the Corps to his family. After serving three years in the Corps, much of that in Korea, he began a family and began to share his love of the Corps, and that is obvious to all of its members.
"God and country is just a part of our family," said Kim Mink, Nicholas' mother. "The Corps has always been great to our family. I pray that the Corps is as good to them as it has been for us. I would be very surprised if it was not. "
Nicholas said that joining the Marine Corps will continue to uphold the trust and traditions that his brother, father and grandfather have all put into the Corps.
"My family always had a blind faith in our superiors and that they know what they are doing," said Nicholas. "It is a blind faith, but it is also a trust in the government and in ourselves, of the right thing to do."
The love is clear in his reasons for joining, and what he intends to get out of the Corps.
"I have lived in America for 18 years now, and I have gotten all of the benefits of it. Why not show some appreciation and improve myself by going to boot camp?" he said. "It is almost a double positive, I am getting improved and my whole life will improve. I will give back to the government by serving. I can help to give back, and I don't see a negative to that."
Kim said he is more advanced, as to how life works. He is very focused and he knows that he has to get through this to get to the good part.
"Besides growing up in a Marine Corps family, my father was in the Corps," Kim said. "In that esprit de corps, that attitude, there is something, and I guess he conveyed that [to the family]."
His name is James R. Davis and the saying, once a Marine always a Marine, could not have been truer with him, she said.
Giving of their life to the Corps is not an unusual thing among members of this family; after all, the father, Capt. Michael Mink, is currently serving and has even had a tour aboard Parris Island.
"My husband was a drill instructor when Nick was two weeks old," said Kim, where he served from 1986 to 1988.
The mother wondered aloud if her son was still was as fond of pugil sticks while in recruit training, as he was when his father was a drill instructor here.
"Nick used to love pugil sticks as a child. He used to growl," she said.
While her husband was a drill instructor aboard Parris Island, the insight he bestowed upon his children in regards to going through that rite of passage was very minimal.
"One thing that I remember him telling the boys was to volunteer for everything," she said. "That shows that you are willing to do what you have to do."
The mother may remember that bit of information, but Nicholas remembers it quite a bit differently.
"My father said basically there is the recruits, a guide and the squad leaders," said Nicholas. "That's all that you need to know. He left it for me to discover myself, and my brother didn't say anything either."
Although he received little insight into recruit training Nicholas did have the life experience of living with a Marine along with his grandfather's stories about his time in the Corps remain fresh in his mind.
"I have talked with my grandfather about going into the Marine Corps and I look up to him a lot," he said. "We talked about it being, not a right of passage, but part of growing up."
Mink's past experiences with the Marine Corps have helped him with his evolution during recruit training. It has helped him to remain simple-minded and take things in stride.
It helped him to basically be like water, not ice, and have flow, he said.
All of his current actions have come from a need to help, a need inherent in the private to contribute to the world.
"He is quiet, but he has definite ideas," Kim said. "He wants to help and this is an important way for him to help."
He also has tried his hand at contributing in different ways; he went to Belize, Central America, on a pilgrimage.
He went with doctors and dentists to help the indigenous peoples of the area, said Kim.
"They rode around in a bus going from village to village," she said. "He did a lot to help build buildings in the villages."
For seven days he helped give out prescribed medicines and helped with dental operations. He also helped lay seven layers of bricks on a youth clinic.
Each layer of that brick will stand as evidence that he did indeed contribute to the world and he will continue to through his time in the Corps.
"I hope to go to college, get a degree and become an officer and help out through that, said Nicholas. "I don't hope to save the world or anything, just to help [and give back to the Corps.] The military is all volunteer now, and I have seen a lot of other teenagers at school that have done nothing. I don't really know why, I just knew I had to do it."