From MRP to MVP
By Lance Cpl. Mike Wick
| 12th Marine Corps District | November 14, 2013
San Diego --
Marine Corps recruit training, a grueling 13-week challenge of discipline, physical fitness and teamwork.
At the end of those three months the recruits graduate together as a company, and the nation’s proudest, newest Marines. However, there are always a few who get injured along the way.
Those recruits are put in the Medical Rehabilitation Platoon to recover from their injuries and eventually get back into training. Some recruits view this as a difficult obstacle to overcome, but others take it as an opportunity to get ahead of the game.
Lance Cpl. Jonathan N. Soeung was one of those Marines who took the opportunities given to him in his four months at MRP, which eventually led him to graduate as company honor graduate with Company B. aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego Nov. 8.
Soeung, who spent a total of seven months aboard MCRD, fractured his right fibula at the obstacle course during his first few weeks of training. He said going through MRP after his injury presented the hardest challenge for him during boot camp.
“In MRP, time stops for many recruits, as it did for me,” said Soeung. “I didn’t see myself advancing in my training, and I saw my peers graduate before me, while I was stuck broken and recovering.”
But while he spent time recovering he saw a great opportunity to advance, better himself and put himself ahead of other recruits.
“I rejoined Bravo Company ahead of the ball game,” he said. “I knew my knowledge and drill, and I improved physically in whichever way I could.”
“The other recruits also still had first phase mentalities, whereas I was on the depot for five months already. I knew what was expected of me.”
Soeung’s senior drill instructor, Staff Sgt. Joseph C. Hunt, noticed Soeung’s character from the very beginning.
“When he first came he asked me about being a guide,” said Hunt. “I told him to show me, and he would earn it. Over time we watched him, and he constantly showed motivation and dedication. He would even get up in the middle of the night and help other recruits.”
According to Hunt, the motivation is what set him apart. Hunt also said his maturity put him at a level other recruits weren’t even close to.
“His demeanor and professionalism is what set him apart,” said Hunt. “He was in MRP for a while so he didn’t have the same mentality as a normal pick-up recruit. It set him apart drastically from his peers; no other recruit was even close to his level.”
Staff Sgt. Christian Lopez, staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Recruiting Substation Fontana, Calif., said he saw something in him from the very beginning.
“His initial discipline is what we noticed when he came in, it seemed like it was already there,” said Lopez. “He rose to the occasion and really proved himself, especially after being hurt. To come from MRP for four months and become the top guy really says a lot about him.”
And for those seeking counsel on how to be successful in boot camp, Soeung had some advice.
“Stay motivated, help your peers and love what you do, it’s how you’re going to survive. I’ve carried it with me from day one, and it’s helped me until the very end.”