Living behind a sound barrier no problem for new Marine
By Cpl. Ryan Smith
| | December 20, 2002
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. --
More than 60 years ago, a young Air Force pilot began his flight training at Luke Field, Ariz., not knowing soon he would become the talk of the aviation field. October 14, 1947, flying a Bell XS-1, Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager soared past the sound barrier becoming the first supersonic pilot.
Today another Yeager is flying past another barrier-Marine Corps recruit training.
"I really don't like the attention I get sometimes," said Pvt. Kip D. Yeager, Platoon 2127, Company H, and grandson of the famous flyer.
"Most people hear the name 'Yeager' and automatically the conversation is turned toward my grandfather," he said.
Even in the squad bay, Yeager is receiving attention he says he doesn't deserve.
"My drill instructors say 'isn't he special' and the rest of the platoon has to respond 'yes, he is,'" said Yeager.
"I am just a normal recruit. I train the same way and work just as hard as all of them," added the 19-year-old Marine.
This self-proclaimed "normal recruit" joined the Marine Corps during his senior year of high school in the small town of Powderhorn, Colo.
"Powderhorn is just a speck on the map compared to most places," said Yeager. "The nearest actual town is about an hour drive from home."
In his hometown, Yeager was a regular outdoorsman. Hunting, fishing and trapping replaced what may have been considered down time for most students finishing school.
"Some people weld and some are electricians; I just grew up loving the outdoors and working with weapons," said Yeager.
His love of the outdoors is what lead him to the Marines.
"I joined the Marine Corps for me. Not for anyone else," said Yeager.
"I said to myself, 'who else pays you to stay physically fit, fire machine guns and gives you a chance to tour the world?,'" said Yeager. "It is all right here in the Marines.
"I decided to join because the Marines are more respected," said Yeager. "I wanted to keep my feet on the ground so I didn't join the Air Force and I didn't join the Navy because I didn't want to be stuck on a ship."
Now that Yeager has made his way through the rigors of recruit training, he strains to think about what he would be doing if he wasn't a Marine.
"If it weren't for the Marine Corps I would have probably moved to Alaska and become a hunting and fishing guide," said Yeager.
"I try not to think about that though. I am just looking toward the future," said Yeager.
According to Yeager, his future includes the completion of jump school and becoming a scout sniper.