Father and son share same recruiter
By Sgt. Eric Lucero
| | May 24, 2004
6TH MARINE CORPS DISTRICT, S.C. --
It’s not unusual for a father to be extensively involved in his son’s decision-making process that will send his precious offspring down one of life’s most arduous journeys, like Marine Corps recruit training. What is unusual, however, is for that parent to follow their child on that journey.
C.J. D’Alesandro recently joined the Delayed Entry Program early this year after many conversations with Sgt. Brandon Jamison, canvassing recruiter for Recruiting Substation Columbia, S.C. C.J. was named for a close relative nicknamed C.J., but his given name is actually C.J.
Four months after C.J. made the decision to join, his father, Terence, 36, made the same commitment, also after talking with Jamison.
For Terence, the decision was easier than it may seem. He had already served more than six years in the Marine Corps, from 1990 through 1996.
Leaving the Corps in 1996 was a tougher decision. Terence was thrust into a situation where he had to decide between taking orders that would land him overseas, or leaving the Corps and drudging through a long, pain-staking process of obtaining full custody of his teenage son.
The decision to leave the Marine Corps had been tearing at him for the better part of eight years.
“C.J.’s mother asked if I can take him for a while when he was close to about thirteen years old,” said Terence. “I was getting ready to get orders overseas and knew taking over custody and having to leave him with someone while I went overseas would be wrong.”
After leaving the Corps, Terence took a civilian job, finished his degree in sociology from South Carolina State University and most importantly, began to build a relationship with his son.
“Going from being single to living with a thirteen-year-old young man was a bit of a transition for me,”Terence said smiling. “It was something I was clueless about.”
C.J.’s approach to the matter didn’t exactly help.
“I was a little hardheaded,” C.J. said grinning. “I was thirteen and thought I knew everything.”
Three-and-a-half years of high school later, the two had forged a strong bond of which many other fathers would be envious.
“We talked about everything,” said Terence. “He even told me all about wanting to join the Army.”
Terence’s support for his son’s decision was immediate and unconditional.
“I told him that if he wanted to be part of something fraternal like a brotherhood, he should join the Marines,” he said. “After that, I told him I would back any decision he came to.”
After much soul searching and talking with Army recruiters, C.J. ultimately made the decision to join the Marines.
Days later, C.J. was in the Delayed Entry Program and Terence was left with a familiar taste in his mouth.
“Being around the recruiters made me miss the Corps,” he said. “The conversations we had made me miss the guys back in the Fleet. You don’t make friends out in the civilian world the way you do while in the Corps.”
The longing to belong again put Terence in the same chair his son sat in just three months earlier. After putting in a package to enlist once more in mid-April, he was accepted.
The chance to share many things is common among fathers and sons. Sharing the same Marine Corps recruiter,however, is not. After all, it’s not every day a son gets credit for referring his father to a recruiter.
Terence is now awaiting orders to report to the School of Infantry while his son is currently assigned to Company E, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C.
C.J. is scheduled to graduate September 10, a date that Terence will hopefully not miss for the world.
“It’ll be a great day for me,” Terence said. “It’s not like I’ll be losing my son to the Corps, I’ll be gaining a brother.”