This story is instructive as well as interesting. It is instructive in that it reveals the kind of character that makes a good Marine. This young woman has the optimism and the determination of one who knows what she wants to be and the inner strength to get it done.
Kaline Hoppe joined the Marine Corps after graduating from high school this year. She won her mother’s permission to do so with the help of Kaline’s Marine Recruiter, who explained what the Corps could do for her daughter. With her mother’s permission, Hoppe then went to Parris Island MCRD, SC, and began the rigorous training that is common to Marine Corps boot camp, which challenges and enhances the physical and mental strengths of Marine recruits. Anyone who has been through boot camp knows what that involves: lots of long runs, push-ups, sit-ups, long hikes, and so much more, as well as learning the history of the Corps and the meaning of unit cohesiveness through marching as a unit and going through all of the elements of training with your boot camp company.
Hoppe’s attitude is expressed in her own words in the local TV news interview that accompanies this article. She was not scared of the prospects that lay ahead of her when she arrived at Parris Island for boot camp. She was not nervous or scared; she says she felt like laughing. I think her comment reveals something about her character too. It was not out of teenage bravado that she wanted to laugh, but out of the youthful sense of joy that comes with the thought of a new adventure. It seems that that attitude and her intense desire to become a Marine went with her throughout her boot camp experience.
Why do I say that? Well, as you will see, she ran into a real problem, a real physical and mental challenge more than halfway through her boot camp experience. On one of the long hikes, she had an accident of some kind that is not explained in the interview. It would not come out until later, just before graduation, that in that accident she had fractured both hips and her pelvis. She felt considerable pain, but kept on and finished the hike.
She did not only finish the hike but the rest of boot camp training, including the grueling Crucible that concludes Marine Corps boot camp training, doing everything required despite the deep pain she was experiencing. She finished all of the elements of boot camp training and received her Eagle Globe and Anchor (EGA) pin with her company at the end of the 54-hour-long event that tests physical stamina, mental toughness, and the ability to think critically while under various levels of stress, including hunger, sleep deprivation, and physical exhaustion. It is called the Crucible for obvious reasons. And Recruit Hoppe did it all while her injuries were screaming at her to stop. She did not stop!
It was at that time that x-rays were finally taken to determine the cause of the pain she had fought through during the last part of her boot camp time. It was then that the fractures were discovered. Because of the findings, she has begun treatment and the healing process to take care of the fractures. We all know how difficult it is to deal with pain, and when pain becomes a constant, it can claim all of our attention, distracting us from our daily duties. The kind of mental and psychological strength that this 18-year-old recruit, Kaline Hoppe, endured during the final weeks of boot camp, and especially on that Crucible, is really rather mind-boggling to contemplate. This young woman is one tough Marine, indeed. Her mother is certainly proud of her, but the Marine Corps is too.
Hoppe was not able to walk with her company during her Graduation Ceremonies but was able to sit in the stands to watch. She is very proud of her accomplishment in becoming a Marine. And we say to her, Bravo Zulu, Marine! She is currently undergoing physical therapy, and when the healing is complete enough for her to run three miles in under 30 minutes, she will be heading to Florida for the next portion of her training, for a specialty in the Marine Corps air wing.
Kaline Hoppe is a Marine. She has an opportunity for a great career ahead of her. If she carries this mental attitude and physical toughness with her throughout her career, she will enjoy much success indeed. Semper Fidelis, Marine. OoRah!Whizzco