MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO --
After challenging his mind for more than three years as a chemical engineer, one Company A Marine decided to change gears for a more physical challenge.
Private First Class Terry Sporrer, Platoon 1011, grew up in the small farming town of Dedham, Iowa, where he spent his high school years fascinated by chemistry.
After receiving his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Iowa State University, Sporrer, 27, moved to Omaha, Neb., to work for Cargill, a processing plant. While employed there, one of his many tasks was processing corn into sweeteners that are commonly used in beverages.
He said that although his already established career was mentally challenging and paid well, he felt like he needed to broaden his horizons and tackle a different kind of challenge.
"I wanted to serve and protect the future of the country," said Sporrer. "And, to me, money had nothing to do with accomplishing one of the greatest challenges anyone could ever face. The years are flying by fast and I wanted to see if I could measure up to the brave men and women that came before me, and I had to do it before I got too old."
Sporrer said he thought recruit training was difficult because he lost many of the freedoms he had before he enlisted. He said he was used to living on his own and doing everything for himself, so it was hard for him to adjust to the way of life in training.
He found the challenge he was looking for in the numerous hikes he completed during training and the Crucible, a 54-hour exercise that culminates everything a recruit has learned in boot camp. Sporrer said that even when he was exhausted and sleep-deprived, he was happy because he enjoyed pushing himself to limits that he never thought he could reach.
"Terry grew up helping me on the farm and playing a lot of sports like football," said Richard Sporrer, his father. "I think the amount of physical activity he had as a young man is what gave him the desire and ability to complete something as strenuous as boot camp."
Sporrer said he learned more discipline, time management and critical thinking skills in recruit training. He said gaining this knowledge helped him better learn how to mentor and lead the people around him.
"Sporrer made a lot of improvements throughout training," said Staff Sgt. Nathan Schoemer, senior drill instructor, Platoon 1011. "He is very intelligent and had great initiative to perform tasks without having to be told. I could also count on him to do whatever I asked of him."
Richard said his son has always been the kind of person to do his best at everything he did, so he chose the Marines because he felt it was a bigger challenge.
Sporrer said that although chemistry was challenging, he wanted something where he could work more with his hands so he decided to enlist as an engineer maintenance mechanic occupation for the Marine Corps reserve unit in Omaha, Neb.
"I chose another form of engineering for my military
occupational specialty because I believe that any extra mechanical training and knowledge will help me advance in my career."
Although Sporrer had completed the prerequisites to become an officer in the Marine Corps, he said he decided against it. He chose to be an enlisted reservist because he wanted the flexibility to continue working in the engineering field.
He had quit his job with Cargill before leaving for boot camp, but will have numerous job opportunities available to him for when he returns home as a Marine.
Sporrer said along with his duties as a reservist, he plans to work as a chemical engineer in the beer industry. He also wants to continue his education and achieve a bachelor’s degree in business. Although he is undecided about what type, he said he plans on putting his degree to work and owning his own business.
"The Marine Corps has already been a great learning experience for me," said Sporrer. "I plan on using all the training I get, whether formal or informal, to help better myself and the lives of those around me."