USAG STUTTGART, Germany --
The Marine Corps has enlisted its first applicants since beginning recruiting efforts in Germany, Feb. 27, 2017.
Two American citizens, one in high school and a college student, have taken the first steps toward becoming United States Marines, even though they currently live and work in Germany.
Alex Voyer, a senior in Wiesbaden High School; and Peter Rice, a student with University of Maryland University College Europe, recently joined the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program, a program that prepares individuals for recruit training. Once the enlistment process is completed, they will fly back to the States en route to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, to begin training.
“I’m joining the Marines because being connected to the military has given me everything - food, family, friends and education,” said Voyer. “Now I want to give back in any way I can.”
Voyer’s family is former Army; his father retired in Germany and became a Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) teacher with his wife. While his military exposure has been that of the Army, Voyer knew a long time ago what his career path would be.
“I have wanted to be a Marine since I was in the seventh grade,” said Voyer. “I researched the Marine Corps ever since. I feel that the Marines have the highest level of discipline, camaraderie, and esprit de corps. While my parents would have loved for me to join the Army, they have seen that joining the Marine Corps has been my passion for years.”
Rice himself was raised in a Marine Corps family and is currently taking college classes while working at the post exchange aboard Panzer Kaserne, part of United States Army Garrison Stuttgart. However, since taking the steps to enlist in the Marine Corps, he quit his job to follow a strict workout schedule with a reconnaissance Marine in preparation for recruit training.
“I talk to a lot of Marines at Stuttgart about boot camp, overall Marine life, and what I could expect in my first few years,” said Rice. “It makes me excited to start a Marine career of my own and become a better person and possessing the traits of a Marine.”
The Marine Corps started offering in-country enlistment opportunities to American citizens in Europe in November of 2016 with the proposition of creating two recruiting offices out of USAG Stuttgart and Kleber Kaserne manned by Gunnery Sgt. Zachery Zapotoski. Since then, he has been on the road visiting the DoDEA schools in Germany letting everyone know that the Marines have landed.
“It’s an enlightening experience on both ends,” said Zapotoski. “Being the first Marine recruiter to come in and educate them on the unique things we have to offer is a different experience .”
While there is currently only one Marine recruiting office in Germany, the goal is to have a permanent station with the ability for the recruiting force to travel outside Germany to other DoDEA schools to offer enlistment opportunities. But for now, two individuals have been given easier career choice access.
“I have lived around this military installation all my life; all my friends transferred out while I have remained here,” said Voyer. “Now I have the opportunity to be on the other side of things and build a career in the Marine Corps and experience a new way of life.”