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    Echo Company Marine serves as rare Active-Reserve Drill Instructor

    Active Reserve Drill Instructor

    Photo By Lance Cpl. Michelle Brudnicki | Staff Sgt. Jason Thompson poses for a photo on Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris...... read more read more



    Story by Lance Cpl. Michelle Brudnicki 

    Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island           

    Drill instructors are an elite group, but Staff Sgt. Jason Thompson is even more of a rare breed– he is one of the few active-reserve Marines who currently serve as a DI.

    For Thompson, becoming a drill instructor was a dream of his since he was in recruit training. As a recruit he idolized one of his DIs, Sgt. Jenkins, who Thompson believed was the gold standard of a Marine.

    “He was the epitome of a Marine,” said Thompson. “Every time I thought about what a good Marine was, I thought of him. It sounds cliché, but I wanted to be that individual for someone else.”

    Thompson served in the Marine Corps from 2006 to 2010, but when his re-enlistment package didn’t go as planned his only choice for continuing in the military was a lateral move to a different occupation. Bitter about his re-enlistment issues, he decided instead to finish out his contract and become a civilian police officer.

    After four years in law enforcement, his dream of becoming a drill instructor still weighed heavily on his mind. He had spoken to friends who were still in the Marine Corps and who were becoming drill instructors. Determined to follow suit, he went to a recruiting office where he learned about the active-reserve program. He would sign up for the program and become a motor transport mechanic. His regular duties included maintaining vehicles for reservist Marines in his unit as well as training them to operate and maintain the vehicles themselves.

    Thompson’s road to becoming a DI was not smooth. Initially, his drill instructor package was denied. Only two active-reserve Marines are selected to be drill instructors per year, and another Marine was chosen over him. When that Marine was dropped from the program, Thompson was asked if he was still interested. He jumped at the opportunity to get back into a more active-duty lifestyle and become a mentor and figure for new, future Marines.

    Now Thompson is a year and a half into his three-year tour as a drill instructor, and says he’s enjoyed every minute of the experience.

    “If I could, I’d stay here on the drill field for my entire career,” Thompson said. “I love training recruits. I like being in this atmosphere with other Marines who want to do good things and make the Marine Corps better.”

    Thompson said he is working every day to make himself a role model for his recruits and carry on the legacy and high standards his Dis set for him.

    “Ultimately, all those recruits are a product of us and they’re going to get out what we put into it,” Thompson said. “If we just go through the motions, they’re just going to go through the motions and that’s how they’re going to be in the fleet.”



    Date Taken: 02.12.2020
    Date Posted: 02.20.2020 10:05
    Story ID: 363480
    Location: PARRIS ISLAND, SC, US 

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