Company A recruit graduates as company honorman after nine-month tour on depot
By Pfc. Carrie Booze
| | July 20, 2007
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO --
After nine months on the depot, one Company A Marine proved nothing could hold him back as he graduates today as a lance corporal and the company honorman.
With a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Full Sail Real World Education in Orlando, Fla., Lance Cpl. Jonathan R. Zimmer initially never considered the military as an option. As Zimmer pursued his education, he steadily developed an interest in the Marine Corps infantry. As time went on, his desire to protect his family and his freedom increasingly grew, but a problem with his appendix hindered his decision on enlisting.
When his appendix ruptured in July 2006, Zimmer was taken to a local hospital in his hometown of Cedar Grove, Wis. While driving home with his mother after being released, Zimmer spontaneously told her he wanted to join the Marine Corps.
Weeks later Zimmer enlisted into the Delayed Entry Program and left for boot camp that following October where he picked up with Company L, Platoon 3247.
After the Initial Strength Test—evaluation during first week of training on 1.5 mile run, crunches and pull-ups—Zimmer began to develop a severe stress fracture in his right tibia. He was taken out of training and sent to the Medical Rehabilitation Platoon.
He spent the next six months in rehabilitation until he eventually picked up with Company A, Platoon 1013 at the end of April 2007.
“When I found out, I was extremely concerned because they initially wanted to drop him from training all together,” said Nancy E. Zimmer, his mother. “I was ecstatic when he was put back in training, and happy he still had the positive attitude to stick through it.”
Zimmer admitted being a little down when he first arrived at the MRP barracks, but after refocusing on his goals, he reminded himself why he was there and took action toward recovery.
“It was depressing seeing other Marines that arrived on the depot after me graduate before I did,” said Zimmer. “But MRP is as easy as you want it to be; I just kept a positive mind set and got through one day at a time.”
Zimmer continued with training mentally stronger than ever. His natural-leader instincts were recognized by his drill instructors, which earned him the billet of squad leader upon the arrival at his new platoon.
“Zimmer proved himself to be an outstanding role model to the other recruits,” said Gunnery Sgt. Johnny P. Robinson, a drill instructor from Platoon 1013, Company A. “He earned his platoon’s respect, and made them want to follow him by consistently leading by example.”
During the second phase of training, his platoon was bused up north to Edson Range, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., for field training. There, Zimmer was given the billet of platoon guide and from then on he led his platoon for the duration of training.
“He was demanding of the other recruits but also fair,” said Robinson. “He exemplifies good leadership and I am confident he will do well in the Fleet Marine Force.”
After 10 days of boot leave, Zimmer will be furthering his training by attending the School of Infantry, Camp Pendleton, for two months where he will train to become an infantryman.
“It is a great relief to finally get through recruit training,” said Zimmer. “I cannot wait to begin my military career.”