Marine Infantryman Applies Military Experience to Life as a Student

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By Darryl Maddox

Metro Associate Editor

After accomplishing his dream right after high school to join the U.S. Marine Corps, a Tri-C student now balances his academics and serving his country in the Reserves.

Looking back at his military experience Dennis Clark is proud of his experience and takes an inventory of how it has made him a better person. The Marine boot camp is known for its intense training which Clark endured physical and mental strain daily, but learned to rely on teamwork and the ability to stay focused in extremely stressful situations.

Clark joined the Marines as an infantryman when he was 20 years old. His job is the central component of Marine ground forces and the line of defense that engages the enemy in war situations.

Clark said courage has to be a part of your character to be an infantryman. Boot camp prepared Clark for the many challenges he would encounter in the field, such as precision in shooting the M-16 assault rifle, and hand-to-hand combat – both qualifications needed to be considered for infantry.

“(I chose infantry), because I wanted to be on the battlefield,” Clark said. “I couldn’t see myself doing any other job.”

One of the most demanding experiences that every Marine should recall is “The Crucible.” The daunting rite of passage for every Marin is described to test every recruit physically, mentally and morally, and is the defining experience of Marine recruits training, a military Website explains to recruits’ parents.

This final level test in boot camp can last 72 hours and builds on teamwork and problem solving skills.

“(The Crucible is done with) very little food and no sleep under stressful conditions,” Clark said.

Clark is a Tri-C student working toward an Associates of Science degree in physical therapist. Like any other proud Marine, Clark said he waits on the call from Uncle Sam to be the American hero he always dreamed of being, if he has to deploy.

The Marines Reserves are men and women who supplement the active military forces when needed.


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