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Ooh-Rah! For the newly inducted Marine recruits

Three Cal State LA students successfully inducted into the U.S. Marine Corps

Photo by John Griffith

Photo by John Griffith

Anthony Karambelas, Staff Reporter

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Ever wonder what Cal State LA students do after graduation? Some continue to serve the university as staff members. Others serve the private sector through corporations. And still others choose to serve something even bigger: serve their country.

        This summer, three Cal State LA students attended the Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Quantico, VA. There, they were evaluated for their academic, physical and leadership potential to determine their aptitude for the United States Marine Corps. John Griffith, Steven Barrios, and Bette Bosch all graduated with flying colors and earned the rank of second lieutenant. Although these three commissioned officers wound up beginning their military careers at the same time, each have unique stories and motivations that got them there.

        John Griffith, a graduating senior, studies Mechanical Engineering. Less than four years ago, he entered as a 14-year-old through the Early Entrance Program (EEP).

Since then, Griffith’s passion for his field of study has landed him two production internships at SpaceX. Although Griffith liked the environment of the aerospace company, he didn’t feel that it was right for him. “I wanted something that I could use to directly influence lives, that would be more fulfilling than sitting at a desk like some faceless engineer in some corporation.”

What better way than to join the military?

        But here comes the big question: why the Marines? “I guess I’m just the kind of person who always strives to do the best and be the best so the Marines is definitely, out of the armed services, the one to go for,” Griffith said.

The fact that his father was a former Marine only made his choice easier. “So I guess I had the feeling that if I were to join any branch but the Marines, I would spend my entire career thinking, ‘why didn’t I join the Marines?’ So I thought, go big or go home,” he added.

While Griffith’s long-term goal is to become an astronaut, he says that is far off as of right now. However, he has a game plan and hopes that through the military, he will achieve his dream. After graduating, Griffith plans to attend the Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, where he will prepare himself for the role of company-grade officer. Griffith will first receive piloting training, and then apply to the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School, where he will be instructed in experimental aircraft, weapons systems, etc.

        While Griffith is completing his senior project that will give him his Bachelor’s, Barrios and Bosch are already training at the Basic School.

        Barrios, who graduated with the Class of 2016, majored in criminal justice. He says his major relates to the military because both are about protecting and serving the U.S. and citizens.

“One thing that really drove me towards the military is that I have always wanted to do something bigger than myself; I have always wanted to be a hero since I was a kid.” Barrios always knew he wanted to be an officer, but struggled to decide which branch to join. In the end, his visit to the Marines office solidified his choice.

        Being a member of track and field while at Cal State LA, Barrios didn’t have any difficulty with the physical aspect of candidate school. Instead, the military environment posed a challenge for him. “I was not too familiar with military customs and courtesies so I struggled in that area,” said Barrios.

        Barrios reportedly benefitted in numerous ways from the OCS. “[This summer] let me understand more about myself and its limits. I was pushed to my limits and had to operate on minimal sleep. Overall, I enjoyed it and realized that to succeed you just need to get 1% better everyday and be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

“No matter what life throws at you, resilience is the key to success,” concluded Barrios.

Bosch, a fellow graduate and member of the track and field team, double majored in exercise science and biochem and minored in psychology. Feeling a need to serve her country, she joined the Marines.

        We can expect great things in store for these newly commissioned officers as they begin their military journeys. The few, the proud, we praise you.

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