Marine's sense of team makes drill field work
| | January 30, 2004
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. --
Teamwork is a must in sports. It binds a group of athletes together for a common goal, working together so they may receive their prize as one. The teamwork philosophy is used in many other facets of life. However, that may range from a job, maintaining a family or making Marines.
Staff Sgt. Jerry McDonough, senior drill instructor, Platoon 2143, Company E, grew up in San Diego and said he's used teamwork to get through his life.
"I think teamwork is the key to everything," said McDonough. "Anything an individual can do can be done better by a team."
McDonough took a year off after school and decided to join the military. He was unimpressed by his first choice, the Army.
"The Army didn't stress teamwork enough and I felt like the recruiter came on too strong," said McDonough. "The Marines emphasized teamwork and offered me the discipline I wanted."
At the age of 19, McDonough, now 29, entered the Corps as a hygiene equipment operator. That same year, he married a woman named Maria, whom he said has been his most valuable teammate thus far.
"Maria is more than just my wife," said McDonough. "She is a big part of my career. She's been with through thick and thin."
Maria is the Co. E Key Volunteer president and helps the company out in many ways, according to McDonough.
"She organizes get-togethers for initial and final drill for the company," said the father of two. "Sometimes, late at night, she'll bring chow for the drill instructors, even when we're at the Crucible."
Maria also appreciates the union she has with the Corps.
"Teamwork plays a vital role in our marriage, as well as all other aspects of our lives," said Maria. "Teamwork has been our success tool here at the Depot. The fact that my husband wants me to be a part of his career has opened many doors of opportunity for me in the Marine Corps."
McDonough has taken the example from his MVP and applied it to teaching recruits and junior drill instructors.
Platoon 2143, McDonough's eighth and final cycle, was named honor platoon. Of his eight cycles, four have been honor platoons, which is almost unheard of, according to McDonough.
His platoon won first place in every competitive event this cycle, including initial drill, rifle range, final physical fitness test, practical application and final drill.
"It's not a coincidence," said McDonough. "The only way a platoon can pull together and win every event is through exceptional teamwork."
His recruits have seen how learning teamwork early can pay off late.
"Staff Sgt. McDonough taught us that teamwork is the most important thing," said PFC Anthony Robertson, McDonough's guide. "The teamwork he instilled in us is absolutely the only way we could've won every event."
McDonough said teamwork is important among drill instructors as well.
"Every cycle is the start of a new (drill instructor) team," said McDonough. "If we can't show the recruits early on that we are a tight-knit team, our mission will be a lot harder. It really comes down to a team caring what kind of product it puts into the Corps."
With his tour on the drill field drawing to an end, McDonough, his wife and two daughters, 9-year-old Rena and 8-year-old Sarina, are preparing to move to Okinawa, Japan for three years. McDonough will resume his primary duties at the Marine Corps Base there.
"The teamwork I've seen and learned here is something great," said McDonough. "I plan to take it back to the fleet with me and use it in every aspect of my life."