November is an auspicious month in the FRA universe. For starters, the Association will mark its 91st birthday on November 11th, commemorating the date that our founding fathers established the Fleet Reserve Association in Philadelphia. George Carlin and Bob White had a vision to give the enlisted community a voice on Capitol Hill and I think they’d be pleased to know the work they started back in 1924 continues to pay dividends for enlisted personnel and their families today.
That date is also the day our nation pays tribute to its veterans — all who served in uniform. Veterans’ Day is a day to honor their service and sacrifice, and FRA will host and/or be represented at a variety of ceremonies and services around the country, including the national Veterans’ Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery. Many military retirees don’t see themselves as veterans, but everyone who served and was honorably separated from service can proudly claim the title, as well as a variety of benefits available through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). FRA’s involvement with veterans isn’t limited to parades and speaking engagements on November 11th. Our legislative advocacy includes work to protect and enhance the VA benefits our members earned through their service to our nation.
November also includes the Marine Corps’ birthday and many FRA shipmates will celebrate the Corps’ 240th year of existence on November 10th. In honor of this important occasion, we’ve chosen to highlight an icon of the Corps — USMC Drill Instructors — as the subject of this month’s feature story. I had the privilege of interviewing some of the senior leadership of the Drill Instructor School at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. By coincidence, I happened to be there on a recruit training graduation day and it was truly awe-inspiring to see hundreds of newly-minted Marines, all sinew and pride, walking around the base. Most were accompanied by parents, grandparents, siblings and girlfriends who all wore obvious signs of pride in their Marine — smiles, adoring looks and t-shirts emblazoned with messages such as “My son is a Marine.”
As part of my research for the story, I asked Marine Private Cole Forbey, a new graduate from Bravo Company, what he’d learned from his DI that he thought would serve him well during his USMC career. “Discipline, ma’am,” he replied, without hesitation. “When your parents tell you to clean your room or do something, you can blow it off. But there’s no slacking here. And that discipline becomes a habit.”
Forbey’s response illuminated several points. His military bearing, manners and confidence were those of a Marine, one who had earned the title and would represent the Corps well. His reference to the household tasks he’d “slacked” on before recruit training spoke volumes about how young he truly was. And his immediate and direct answer confirmed that his DI had, indeed, taught him the primary lesson he’d need during his USMC career. Well done, Private Forbey. You and your DI should be very proud!
Lauren Armstrong is FRA’s Director of Communications and serves as the Managing Editor of FRA Today. Please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.