SFO takes advantage of MEOP Workshop for first time
By Sgt. David J. Hercher
| 12th Marine Corps District | April 01, 2003
RECRUITING STATION SAN FRANCISCO --
In the world of Marine Corps recruiting there are many terms used in everyday business that, unless you are a Marine currently on or having been on recruiting duty you may get lost in the jargon. One such is MEOP. What is it and what does it mean to recruiting?
To one particular Marine recruiter, MEOP is what he lives and breaths. GySgt. Stephen Jeremiah, musician placement director, 12th Marine Corps District, is in charge of filling the ranks of the music enlistment option program. Many countless hours and endless miles are spent traveling around throughout the district interviewing and auditioning prospects to see if they have what it takes to be a Marine musician. Another way the musician placement director fills these ranks is by hosting several MEOP workshops throughout the year.
Both Recruiting Station San Francisco and Recruiting Station Sacramento recruiters recently took the opportunity to take 28 local students to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego to participate in this year?s MEOP workshop.
It is designed to give young musicians a taste of life as a Marine musician, as well as what it means to be a Marine musician. ?You are a Marine first and Marine musician second,? explained Jeremiah.
The workshop marked the first time San Francisco recruiters had taken the opportunity to participate in this unique program.
?While it is difficult to take 227 years of history and squeeze it into a three day tour, it is my belief that the Marine Corps? sense of honor, courage and commitment are lodged deep inside each (applicant). Musically there is no better way to be mentored,? said Jeremiah.
The workshop begin with their visit to the yellow footprints where they received a greeting from a drill instructor. After experiencing the ?first two minutes of boot camp,? as the drill instructor later tells them, the students got to spend some time with the drill instructors and learn the basics of drill.
After the introduction to receiving barracks, the students toured the swim tank where they got a hands-on-demonstration of what it takes for a recruit to get swim qualified. Then it was onto to watch recruits hammer each other blow by blow as they prepared for the combat conditioning course (CCC) which is part of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.
Days two and three ? the young musicians spent most of their time practicing with the band and learning to march. Playing both the roles of Marine and mentors for two days, many Marines left lasting impressions with many of the students.
?I liked getting to see the recruits train, and I liked networking with the band,? said Cody M. Nelson, a 17-year-old tuba player from Will C. Wood High School in Vacaville, Calif. ?The audition with Gunny Jeremiah was a great learning experience for me as well. This has been an awesome trip. The only change I would make is to go up north to see recruits train and maybe get to visit another band.?
Friday morning was the highlight of the trip for many of the students ? it was their chance to actually perform with the band during the Friday morning colors ceremony and to see a graduation ceremony.
?One of the most striking comments I heard during this visit was at the recruit graduation ceremony after the playing of the Marine?s Hymn. One musician turned to another and said ?did you feel that?? He was referring to the tingly feeling he experienced inside. The other musician nodded and had goose bumps to prove it,? said Jeremiah, ?It is a feeling that can only be experienced. It is the feeling that Marine Corps? musicians know all too well.?