Uncle, nephew leave home island, graduate together
By Lance Cpl. James Green
| | July 28, 2006
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO --
Pvts. Estrada O. Edeyaoch and his nephew Adrian N. Edeyaoch never stepped foot in the U.S. until the day they stepped on the yellow footprints here.
The two I Company recruits left the small tropical island of the Republic of Palau and transitioned to the challenging environment of Marine Corps recruit training.
While the two young men had different reasons for joining, they had the same idea of where they wanted to end up.
“I joined the Marine Corps for my son,” said Estrada, 22. “I wanted to be able to support him financially.”
Adrian, 18, came into the Marine Corps with the intention of furthering himself in school with the financial aid the military could offer him.
Estrada said he and his nephew worked at a grocery store in Palau together before recruit training. A worry-free day of climbing coconut trees and fishing was their usual routine, he added.
Before joining the Marine Corps, Adrian and Estrada underwent a military entrance exam, offered twice a year on the island and proctored by a recruiter from a recruiting station in Guam.
Acclimatizing to their new surroundings was more difficult than the physical drain of boot camp, said Adrian.
Having grown up on Palau the two spoke great Palauan, but their English wasn’t very polished. They both struggled to get through boot camp due to the natural language barrier.
Basic English was taught at the Catholic missionary school they attended in middle and high school, but it wasn’t enough to prepare them for life in the U.S.
“Sometimes I would want to say something, but I didn’t know how to say it in English,” said Estrada.
They used their native language to translate and decipher what the other one didn’t understand, said Staff Sgt. Paul Ruiz, senior drill instructor, Platoon 3003.
The two Marines remembered getting into trouble as a pair. Adrian said if he got singled out by a drill instructor, he knew his uncle’s name was going to be called next.
Apart from the major lifestyle adjustment and occasional homesickness, a physical problem also arose for one of them.
Adrian lacked the strength for the hikes during field week, a week when recruits spend the majority of their time in the field at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. Up until the “Reaper Hike” Adrian always fell into the back of the formation, said Estrada.
When the test came for I Company to hike a total of 10 miles and climb the 700-foot hill, however, Adrian showed his true Marine nature and accomplished his mission without a struggle.
Having persevered through the challenges in recruit training, Adrian and his uncle are excited about graduating from boot camp and the path leading them to Marine Combat Training at Camp Pendleton.
After MCT, the two will go their separate ways for military occupational specialty school where Adrian will study to become an aircraft maintenance technician and Estrada will pursue a career in legal administration.
Even when they part ways, they will accomplish and do great things, said Ruiz.
Only through hard work and dedication did the natives of Palau pass the physical, mental and moral challenges set before them as United States Marines.