PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. - For one local, becoming a Marine was his opportunity to not only serve his country but also to start a career.
When recruit Kyle Sees was thinking about his plans once he graduated from Hughesville High School last June, he knew there was only one option that would give him the best opportunity to achieve his goals - the U.S. Marine Corps.
"I wanted to get into the state police and figured this would be the best way," he said.
Photo by JOSEPH STENDER
Recruit Kyle Sees, of Hughesville.
Sees' mother Angela said she had mixed emotions when her son told her his plans to enlist.
"I was extremely proud of him for serving his country, but as a parent I was worried," she said.
The 19-year-old recruit from Hughesville is expected to graduate Friday. At the time of this interview, he said he still was making the adjustment to recruit life.
"Physically, you can get used to it," Sees said. "Mentally, it's a lot tougher than at home."
One of the biggest adjustments Sees said he had to make is the pace at which everything is done with recruit training.
"You have to move a lot faster," he said. "There's a lot of yelling."
Sees said he questioned his decision as he was ordered off the bus on his first night at Parris Island.
"For me it's kind of like, 'What did I get myself into?' " Sees remembered.
Every aspect of a recruit's day is planned and structured. Sees explained there is a correct way of doing everything while in recruit training, even something as simple as eating.
Each recruit must sit with their chest against the table and tray. Recruits are allowed one hand to eat with while the other rests on their knee and they must look straight ahead.
"And most of the time you've got to eat fast," Sees said as recruits are given only 20 minutes to eat each meal.
Angela said she's also making an adjustment. The only contact recruits can have with their friends and families is through written letters.
"We were pretty close so in the letters I can tell when he's down or not," she said.
To help with the three months that Sees is away, Angela said her son's friends "have stepped up to the plate," and visit and text message her.
Besides his family and those back home, Sees said the ability to make decisions for himself is a luxury he misses from his civilian life.
"I miss just being able to relax," Sees said, "Just to be able to watch TV and be able to do whatever."
Angela just wants a safe return for her son.
"The Marines can have him but they better return him safely," she said.
Even though he may miss the freedom, Sees understands the reason for the sacrifice. There's a reason he chose the Marines over any other path.
"If I was going to do it, I want to be with the best," he said.