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April 12, 2016 Marine Corps, Marines, Navy, York River

Testing Oneself Under Sail

Sailing Psychology, Williamsburg Charter Sails

 

You never know what your limits are for personal endurance, and sailing under extreme conditions is one test. So is joining the US Marine Corps.

Kyle Turrentine of Roanoke went sailing on the York River on a crisp and sunny spring day with his fiancé Pauline Ferguson. He was content to sit quietly, having just completed three rigorous training programs at Parris Island, Fort Lejeune and Fort Leonard Wood. He had the steely look of someone who could snap my neck in two without breaking a sweat—morally or physically.

“At boot camp, you don’t wash out. You more or less recycle by putting a month back to another class. They’ll do that if you do something wrong, like lying or some other infraction. Boot camp is three months, and afterward they do a background check. If they find something on a police record that you didn’t tell them, you can remain for months until they decide what to do with you. They keep you there doing odd jobs, in limbo.

“But if you’re hurt during training, they’ll keep you there to get repaired and then let you resume training.

“We started out with 84 men, and 84 made it. I was the oldest, at 24. Most of them are 18.

“The Drill Instructors holler at you to replicate the chaos and noise and tension of battle. That’s the main difference between Army boot camp, the DI doesn’t holler at you. I saw them training at Fort Leonard Wood, an Army base. Army boot camp isn’t that much different from the Marines.”

Kyle is now a heavy equipment operator with the Marines. I told him about the Navy transport ships that transit the Coleman Bridge to Naval Weapons Station Yorktown. They deploy 800 Marines with all their gear, including tanks and heavy equipment like his. He nodded.

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