Marine gets new identity while at recruit training
By Cpl. Christopher A. Raper
| | July 12, 2002
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. --
After graduating from Northridge High School in his 'little' hometown of Middlebury, Ind., Timothy J. Kidder decided it was time to better himself and do something with his life.
"I joined the Marine Corps to better myself and do something with my life," said Kidder. "Marines are top notch. I figured if I was going to join the military I might as well go with the best."
Kidder's first introduction to the military proved to be a little more than the 19-year-old bargained for. In one night, he lost his identity along with his hair and clothes. Jeans and a t-shirt were replaced with camouflaged utilities. His daily routine was simplified to physical training, drill and uniform maintenance.
"April 15 is a date I will never forget," said Kidder. "It was chaotic and horrible. I didn't think the first night would ever end. Just knowing that you are just another recruit in the group, it was sobering to realize your individuality could be stripped away that quickly and that thoroughly."
The first night of training was the first of many challenges Kidder faced during his three months with Company C.
"Recruit training is very challenging both mentally and physically," said Kidder. "Being the guide of the platoon was extremely mentally challenging. You get the brunt of everything having to take responsibility for the entire platoon."
Kidder was able to overcome his fears and take charge as the guide of Platoon 1074. He didn't begin training at the top of the list though, as he recalls when reflecting on his first two weeks aboard the Depot.
"The toughest part of training was the first two weeks," said Kidder, "trying to adapt to military lifestyle, making up my mind of why I came here and having to convince myself that I made the right choice, having to deal with the stresses and getting used to the surroundings of recruit training."
Now that Kidder has conquered the rigors of recruit training, he will be carrying a few intangibles home with him for his 10 days of boot leave.
"Recruit training teaches you the discipline to go from being able to do whatever you want to not even being able to scratch your face," said Kidder. "It changes the way you speak, move and act. Discipline brings everything else together."
Along with discipline and a ready response to all orders, Kidder carries the core values of honor, courage and commitment across the parade deck with him.
"I have gained the morals: honor, courage and commitment," said Kidder. "It just makes me realize how much has changed in me. My perception of the world is completely different. It makes you realize the things that you took for granted."
Kidder, carrying a different perception of the world and taking nothing for granted, now also carries with him a love for the eagle, globe and anchor he worked so hard to earn.
"I have also gained a loyalty to my country and the Corps that I didn't have before," said Kidder. "As much heart and effort I have put into training, the Marine Corps has become a part of my life. I believe once you start something then you have to finish it. You can't just leave it."
Today, Kidder completes his three-monthlong trek through training and marches across the parade deck carrying the red guidon with the numbers 1074 emblazed boldly in gold.
"Graduation is going to be overwhelming," said Kidder. "I'm looking forward to it. It is the greatest accomplishment I have ever had."