Archived Story

Off to boot camp

Published 9:27am Thursday, April 3, 2014

About a month ago, two local recruiters from the United States Marines dropped by the Leader Publications office for a chat.

At 32 years old and far from prime physical condition, I was certain they weren’t going to attempt to recruit me for duty.

They did, however, offer to pay my way to attend and write about the Marines Corps boot camp April 7-11 in San Diego, Calif.

Never having been to San Diego — or California for that matter — I was excited about the opportunity.

I was also thrilled with the prospect of escaping the Michigan weather for a few days.

I’ve been told that I will be given the closest look I can get of the Marines basic training without getting my head shaved. I appreciate that, because I enjoy having hair.

While I won’t be undergoing basic training, I will get to participate in some of the activities the recruits will be going through while learning more about the Marines.

I have also been told that I will get to interview local recruit, Austin Herdklotz, of Buchanan, midway through the week. He is going through basic training right now. It should be interesting to talk to him about his experience so far.

Another local recruit, Jeffrey Jones, of Cassopolis, will be going through boot camp while I’m there. However, I was told he wouldn’t be available to interview because he is not far enough along in training.

Niles High School counselor Josie DeJong is also scheduled to attend the trip. She, like myself, will be there to learn.

I look forward to writing about my experiences at boot camp and hope you enjoy reading about them.

The first article should appear in Wednesday’s Niles Daily Star, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Wish me luck while I get a firsthand look at our nation’s few and proud.

Craig Haupert is the community editor for the Niles Daily Star. Call him at (269) 687-7720. Email him at

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