CAMP GEIGER, N.C. -- A group of camouflaged figures scramble off a bus and form up in platoons in front of various Marine Corps officers and staff noncommissioned officers. These aren’t the newest batch of Marines from boot camp but college students aspiring to be future officers.
College students with various Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps from all over the country are visiting here to get a glimpse into what it’s like to be a Marine through the month of June.
“This is the one chance for them to get an idea of what the Marine Corps is all about,” said Maj. Dan T. Canfield, an Marine officer instructor with North Carolina State University.
The students spend four days with Marines to give them an orientation of Marine life in the fleet, according to Capt. Sean Pieja, commander of troops and an MOI from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI.
This week is a step in their journey to become officers, according to Gunnery Sgt. Carlo Gaita, an assistant Marine officer instructor at the College of the Holy Cross.
All of the students have received a Chief Naval Education Scholarship, and their visit here is part of their summer training to become Navy or Marine Corps officers.
During the week, students run the endurance course, conduct physical training, shoot the M9 pistol and go on a tour of the base and Marine Corps Air Station New River, according to Pieja. They also do part of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and do a land navigation course.
“The obstacle course was the most fun,” said David E.S. Milender, a student at Perdue University, Indiana. “We don’t get to do obstacles anywhere else and it’s a nice change of pace.
The students also receive classes on the set of combat units and receive tours of different kinds of units including artillery, tank and infantry units, according to Gaita.
The week is not meant to be for recruitment for the Marine Corps but just for the students to see what the Marine Corps is all about, according to Gaita. Whether or not the students decide to become officers in the Marine Corps, this will help them to work well with the Marines in the furture.
“This will give me a lot more opportunities than if I went to a normal job,” said David Miller, a student at Georgia Technical University. “I’m looking forward to my time as an officer.”