Making a Marine: Meet the men who turn recruits into the Few and -

Making a Marine: Meet the men who turn recruits into the Few and the Proud

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Drill instructors shape recruits over 12 weeks to make them into Marines (Credit: KMOV) Drill instructors shape recruits over 12 weeks to make them into Marines (Credit: KMOV)

This week, we are taking you inside Marine Corps boot camp. We were there as St. Louis- area educators got an up-close and personal look at how Marines train to bring that knowledge back to the classroom.

Tuesday our own Marine, Venton Blandin, introduces us to the drills instructors who come to know the young men from our community very well.

SAN DIEGO ( -- Every command leads to its own move. Every move leads toward becoming one of the “Few and the Proud.”

"You get these kids who don't know their left foot from the right foot when they get here, and they transfer into a walking and talking trained Marine," said Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Peres.

Drill instructors, like Peres, know it takes 12 weeks to get there.

"You got to come out here eager and wanting to do it,”he said. “You come out here and work hard."

Work hard mentally by handling the yelling and in-your-face demands, and work hard physically in learning defense and completing obstacles.

"I talk to them about why they came here,” said Staff Sergeant Leonardo Gonzalez. “[If] it was the values their families raised them with, that gives insights on why they took the journey to become a United States Marine."

Gonzales is one of many drill instructors helping more than 22,000 young men earn the Marine Corps'  Eagle, Globe and Anchor each year.

"I try to be the role model,” he said. “I try to give them that passion the drive to become a Marine. I got to explain to them it's that quality individual or quality Marine that's going to be serving their country the right way."

The right way is what the Marine Corps wants from educators when talking about the Marines in the classroom.  

READ: Making a Marine: St. Louis educators get an in-depth look at boot camp

"What I have really been impressed with was talking to the actual recruits and hearing the incredible pride that they have in what hey are going through,” said Scott Cornwell, a counselor at Ladue High School. “It is very clear they love what they are doing and not being told what to say or how to say it."

The Marines invited Cornwell and dozens of other St. Louis area educators to boot camp.

Most of Cornwell's students go to college, but the experience taught him how rewarding other avenues can be.

"It's helped me realize for the right kid, this could be the right place, and I think really that is what the core of our job is. Getting the right next step for each of them,” he said.

We're taking you inside boot camp all week on News 4 at 5 p.m.

Wednesday evening, we introduce you to Major Nicole Bastian, the first woman to oversee recruitment in the St. Louis area.

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