'I’ve always wanted to join'
By Sgt. Tiffany Carter
| | February 11, 2006
FREDERICK, Md. --
High school years are a time when memories are made from homecoming, senior prom, finals and finally graduation. It is also a time for many important decisions. In the junior year of high school these decisions could have a major impact on the next five years of a student’s life as he or she starts narrowing lists of colleges and career paths.
Military and college recruiters visit schools to provide information about these possible future paths. One way Marine recruiters do this is by handing out the “Class-of-Tomorrow” CD-ROM. It was the information on this disc that brought one junior from Maryland into his local Marine Corps recruiter’s office.
“I always wanted to join a branch of the military since I was real little,” said Dustin Miller, a poolee out of Recruiting Sub-station Frederick, Md. Unfortunately Miller was just 15 when he initially walked into his recruiter’s office, too young to enlist in the Marine Corps.
Just five days after celebrating his 17th birthday, Poolee Miller took the first step to taking his place among the few.
Miller, a Mount Airy native, had influences about his decision from his family. His grandfather was in the Navy and his father served in the Army. Miller was originally going to join the Navy in honor of his grandfather but figured the Marines is still a Department of the Navy.
“My grandfather said it would be the best thing for me. I just think there are more possibilities for me with my personality in the Marine Corps than in the Navy,” says Miller.
He also knows a few local veterans. Most of them consist of older men who come in on the weekends and drink coffee at the gas station where he works. A few of them are Army and there’s one Marine.
“They all told me to join the Marines because it was the best branch,” he said.
Miller’s boss wishes he would stick around a bit longer but Miller wants to begin his career right away.
“College just isn’t my gig. I figure if I want to get ahead in life and actually do something good for my country, it’s through the Marine Corps.”
Miller has been in the Delayed Entry Program just over five months now and has learned what is expected of him at each pool function.
“Always come prepared to do something physical. Don’t come in steel-toed or cowboy boots and jeans. Wear sneakers.”
Getting physically fit is just one of the ways to prepare for recruit training. Miller is also taking advantage of his time in the DEP to work on a few personal goals.
“I’m going to quit smoking and start really working out. While in the DEP, I’ll get to learn some of the drilling movements and learn all the ranks especially through all the different uniforms.”
But his most important goal is getting his diploma.
“I’ve just got to graduate,” says the South Carroll high school senior. “I’ve never done really well in school. I’m more of a hands-on person.”
Luckily his recruiter Sgt. Charles Jones is there to help him accomplish his goal.
“He calls my school and checks up on me. I recently got into some trouble at school and Sergeant Jones came and picked me up and talked to me. He’s somebody to talk to that’s not my mom, meaning he’s not biased about how I’ve been in the past. He just wants to push me to be the best.”
Poolee Miller has about half a year left to graduation day, and with his recruiter’s help, he will walk across that stage, taking the first steps toward a new journey in his life as a United States Marine.