Winchester, VA --
Recruiting Station Frederick’s area experienced a large amount of snow this year causing pool function dates to be changed and canceled, but that did not stop Recruiting Sub-station Winchester Marines and poolees from this month’s cold weather activity; paintball.
A pool function occurs once a month and is designed to improve the fitness, leadership and camaraderie of the poolees before shipping to recruit training on Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.
Even after winter storm Pax dumped almost 18 inches in RSS Winchester’s area, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge made it possible to keep the function date of Feb. 15, in place.
“Everyone has a life outside of the delayed entry program, and it is not always easy for them to get off work or get transportation so it is very important to keep the schedule if possible,” said Staff Sgt. Jorge Santiago, the Recruiting Sub-station Winchester SNCOIC.
For some poolees, there were not many concerns.
“Being cold was the only concern,” said Jordan Dawson, RSS Winchester poolee who is scheduled to ship to MCRD Parris Island S.C. on July 21.
Even with snow showers and 25 degree temperatures the cold did not stop the group of 35 from playing five rounds, however the snow did create some challenges.
“You did not have any traction,” said Santiago. “You were exposed no matter where you went.”
Pool functions like paintball are effective in maintaining the pool and building a relationship between recruiters, poolees and applicants.
“It brings everyone closer together,” said Santiago. “It builds teamwork, leadership, pride, and it is fun. These benefits are key in the fight against pool attrition, when long wait times to ship to recruit training are part of the process.”
Wait times in the Delayed Entry Program can last up to a year. It is important that the RSS’s to put on events in an environment that fosters brotherhood.
“It helped us build a stronger bond as a team,” said Dawson. “It gave us the opportunity to build confidence in ourselves and our leaders.”
This gives the poolees a taste of the Marine Corps and the core values.
“It was interesting to see how well the two teams worked and communicated when the Marines were not running the show. I enjoyed seeing the competitive side in everyone,” said Santiago.
The ultimate goal of the pool program is to ship strong poolees.
“We develop the pool physically and mentally before shipping them to recruit training and them becoming Marines,” said Santiago.
This is just another way in which Recruiting Station Frederick stays on mission and fosters the growth of the Marine Corps.