RS Albany holds first poolee field meet
By Sgt. Pamela Shelley
| | May 27, 2005
RECRUITING STATION ALBANY, N.Y. --
Confusion and fear immersed the cool May night as more than 200 pairs of eyes nervously followed the dark silhouette marching towards them. Stepping into a streetlight’s beam, poolees and guests of Recruiting Station Albany caught their first glimpse of life at Marine Corps recruit training: The senior drill instructor.
With the sharp edge of his cover’s brim shadowing his features, only the bright gleam of his belt glared back at the large platoon. As silence slowly choked the evening air, the senior drill instructor’s voice began hoarsely bellowing the infamous “yellow footprints” mantra.
“Congratulations on your decision to become a Marine,” said Senior Drill Instructor Staff Sgt.Wille E. Hood, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. “It is a decision you will never regret.”
Hood, alongside two fellow drill instructors, visited upstate New York, to assist RS Albany during their first Poolee Field Meet, which is intended to be a yearly event. Designed by Sgt. Maj. Andrew L. Yagle, RS Albany sergeant major, the field meet was established to, “build a core and unity amongst the poolees and also let them know that they're not alone. They need to understand there are many other young men and women that have in fact raised their right hand and joined the Marine Corps.”
Late Friday afternoon, 221 poolees and guests from all over eastern New York met at RS Albany Headquarters in Watervliet for the overnight field meet. All canvassing recruiters, staff noncommissioned officers in charge and A billets were also on hand to help facilitate the event.
Once all 10 recruiting substations were assembled, Yagle introduced the drill instructors to the future Marines. To provide insight on their first days at recruit training, poolees were immediately given the Yellow Footprints Speech, Senior Drill Instructor speech and an Incentive Physical Training class before retiring for the evening.
After a 5:30 a.m. reveille, poolees and recruiters began the field meet with a 1.3-mile formation run. The day ensued with each RSS competing against each other in tug-of–war, obstacle course, fireman’s carry and wheelbarrow races. RS Potsdam from northern New York claimed the winning trophy as the day drew to a close.
While the pool function was intended to motivate the poolees, it also managed to impact the recruiting staff.
“It was a motivational day for Marines and the poolees,” said Staff Sgt. Brandon Clarke, SNCOIC, RSS Utica. “It regreened some of the Marines and helped remind us of where we come from. Yet it also gave our poolees a first hand look at what it takes to earn the title.”
After the event, recruiters are noticing remarkable attitude differences within their pool.
“They’ve become thoroughly motivated since the event,” said Clarke.
“It was one thing for us to tell them about discipline and the quick, willing, obedience to orders, but the drill instructors really made them understand how it works. The whole day equated to nothing but success,” said Clarke.