Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bloomingdale area Marine Corps recruiters working with those interested in ... - NorthJersey.com

The young men and women frequently seen running with a uniformed member of the United States Marine Corps along borough roadways in the afternoon are preparing for the challenge of a lifetime.

Working with prospective Marine boots who are preparing the bodies and minds for Marine Corps training at the Bloomingdale recruiting office are Staff Sergeant Obrian Sangster, Staff Sgt. Shaun Getty, Sgt. Thomas McNicholas and Sgt. Ruby Vetreino.

STAFF PHOTOS BY JOE SARNO

Working with prospective Marine boots who are preparing the bodies and minds for Marine Corps training at the Bloomingdale recruiting office are Staff Sergeant Obrian Sangster, Staff Sgt. Shaun Getty, Sgt. Thomas McNicholas and Sgt. Ruby Vetreino.

Training cadets perform their sit-ups Thursday as part of preconditioning to get them ready for the rigors of boot camp.

Training cadets perform their sit-ups Thursday as part of preconditioning to get them ready for the rigors of boot camp.

They are the few who are smart enough and strong enough to have been accepted into a training program that will prepare them both mentally and physically for their futures as members of the U.S. Marine Corps.

These young people have passed an entrance exam, and if they are still in high school or college, they must maintain a minimum "C" average. They cannot have used drugs, have a felony arrest record, or have any gang-affiliated tattoos. And, before they sign their final commitment, they must have graduated from high school. A GED does not qualify for entrance into the Marines.

In other words, this is not an easy outfit to join!

Staff Sergeant/Station Commander Obrian D. Sangster of the Bloomingdale Recruiting Station is emphatic about the high standards maintained by the Marine Corps.

"We are not hurting for people. We have young men and women who are in high school and community college walk in every week, and we work very closely with these kids. Before we can even interview them, they have to pass an entrance exam," said SSgt. Sangster.

Then, once they have been accepted into the program, while they are still in school, they have to provide a copy of every report card so the recruiting station can review their grades.

"Even though we expect them to maintain at least a 'C' average, that doesn't mean they can let their grades slip to 'C's.' If they do we'll need to sit down with them and talk about keeping their grades up â€" see if there is something we can do to help. We provide a service. It's really a mentoring program," Sangster said.

Currently there are some 26 young men and women in the local preparation-training program, waiting to get into boot camp.

"If someone were to come in today and be accepted into the program, the earliest they could go to boot camp would be November. Of those who are accepted, only 3 to 4 percent drop out," SSgt. Sangster said, adding that there is no legally binding commitment to remain in the Corps until beginning boot camp.

"We have four full-time employees at this recruiting station, SSgt. Shaun Getty, Sgt. Ruby Vetreno, Sgt. Thomas Minicholas and myself, and we always try to meet with the parents before anyone joins the program," said SSgt. Sangster, although parental consent is only required for those who are not yet 18.

After passing the entrance exam, SSgt. Sangster said, "During the interview, we want to know why they are here â€" what they want to do. There are a lot of opportunities to be trained for a wide variety of occupations in the Marine Corps so we want to know where their interest lies, and we also give an aptitude test to see what they qualify for."

These United States Marine Corps occupations include aviation mechanic, computer programmer, electrician, air-traffic controller, legal-services specialist, public affairs, intelligence specialist, and military police, and the list goes on to include the elite Musician Enlistment Option Program (MEOP), where members perform full time as Marines and as musicians.

And while the young men and women engaged in this pre-boot camp training program here may not yet be certain which Marine Corps occupation they will pursue, they are all enthusiastically looking forward to meeting the challenges that lie ahead.

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