Losing to Gain
By SSgt Matt Olivolo
| | March 15, 2001
RSS PATCHOGUE, N.Y. --
Becoming one of the world's finest, a United States Marine, is not always an easy objective. Graduating high school is the first goal, and meeting the other requirements is vital to being qualified.
With some requirements easier to meet than others, meeting individual weight standards can be a serious challenge for some. Depending on height, there is a specific weight that should not be exceeded. However, if someone wants to be a Marine and they don't fit within the weight standards, there is hope.
A Sachem High School student knows first hand what it takes to lose excess weight and become a U.S. Marine.
Luke Train, an 18-year-old, class of 2000 graduate from Sachem H.S., Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y., was roughly 100 pounds over weight. He went to the local recruiting office in Patchogue, and was told that if he could lose 15 pounds before the next visit into the office, they would work with him.
Within two weeks, Train showed up and had lost 20 pounds. He spoke with Sgt. John Gallagher, a recruiter from the RSS Patchogue office, and knew from that point on that he wanted to be a Marine.
"When I first saw Train I was a little hesitant on working with him," said Gallagher. "I wasn't sure if he really wanted to be a Marine. Once he came back within two weeks and had already lost 20 pounds, I knew he had the drive and motivation to become a Marine."
From that point on Train stayed on a cabbage diet, eating only leafy greens and drinking water. He came into the Patchogue office and would lift weights and go for runs. As a result he lost more than 40 pounds and had made the weight standard.
"A friend of mine joined the Marine Corps and told me everything about it," said Train. "After my first meeting with Sergeant Gallagher I knew I wanted to be a Marine. So I did everything I could to lose weight and simply get into shape."
Train left for boot camp and lost an additional 50 pounds by the time he graduated. When he returned, he stood five feet eight inches, and weighed 165 pounds. His recruiter had to do a double take to recognize him.
"He looked lean and mean when he came back from boot camp," said Gallagher.
"My father didn't even recognize me when he came to my graduation ceremony," said Train. "I have to admit it was the best feeling I have ever had in my life. It is by far the best accomplishment I have ever achieved."
After graduating boot camp, Train visited the recruiting station and visited his old high school. His former teacher barely recognized him.
"Joining the Corps was the best thing I have done with my life," stated Trian. "If I could make it, anyone can if they have the drive to become a U.S. Marine."