Norfolk, Va --
In a historic moment, U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Station Richmond’s newest Officer Selection Station in Norfolk, Virginia, contracted their first officer candidate July 7.
Jamie Gastrich, a 20-year-old native of Richmond, Virginia, became the first officer candidate to sign a contract in the Norfolk, Virginia, officer selection station.
“It is pretty exciting, but nerve-wracking at the same time,” said Capt. Devin Claridy, an officer selection officer at the station.
Taking a station from nonexistent to the first of many contracts he will be writing over the next several years, all in just a few short months, is no simple task.
“We have got a lot of work to do in order to build up our pool of contacts,” said Claridy. “We have to work our way up one contact at a time to where the other, more established (OSSs) are at.”
Claridy is not alone when it comes to feeling the pressure to perform.
“I feel extremely honored to be the first contract, but I feel a lot of pressure to set the standard high for OSS Norfolk candidates,” said Gastrich, a junior studying computer science at Old Dominion University.
Like many others who seek to become Marines, the challenge is what drew Gastrich to the Corps.
“I want to earn the title of Marine officer,” said Gastrich, who hopes to become a signals intelligence officer. “I felt compelled to give back to this great country and be a part of something bigger than myself. The Marine Corps stood out to me as the most challenging and highly respected branch of the military.”
Meeting and exceeding challenges is a staple of life in the Corps. To demonstrate this to his candidates, Claridy contracted Gastrich on the first day the station was able to contract.
“It was nice to start off on a positive note, and set the pace to move forward,” said Claridy.
Gastrich will attend Officer Candidates School, were he will be given the chance to earn the title of Marine, and be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He will then have to complete The Basic School and a school based on his military occupational specialty.