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    Turning The Tide



    Story by Lance Cpl. Ryan Hageali 

    Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island           

    (U.S. Marine Corps Story by Lance Cpl. Ryan Hageali)
    MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT PARRIS ISLAND S.C. -- While the term “Marine” often refers to things “of and from the sea,” many recruits come to bootcamp without knowing how to swim. Swim qualification is a graduation requirement; if recruits cannot become comfortable in the water, they are sent home.
    After failure Nathaniel Mensahsimms dedicated himself to completing his goal of becoming a Marine, fulfilling a promise to himself and his father.
    “The first time I saw a Marine, I was coming to the United States from Ghana,” said Nathaniel. “It was just the way he was disciplined, the way he was standing and dressed; I wanted to be that person.”
    After graduating high school, Nathaniel departed for Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in 2019 in the hopes of becoming who he envisioned when he saw a Marine for the first time. Nathaniel went through the first weeks of training eventually reaching Water Survival. Water survival occurs in the fifth week of training andtests recruits aquatic competence.
    Recruits who are not confident in the water receive extra guidance from the Marine Corps water survival instructors. If they are still unable to adapt, they will be sent home. Unfortunately for Nathaniel, this is what happened to him.
    “I failed swim qual, and I got sent home,” said Nathaniel. “Knowing that I was going back home without becoming a Marine was really a sad moment in my life. It was just hard for me to grasp the concept of learning how to swim.”
    Before Nathaniel went to bootcamp, he told his father he would be a Marine, but when he was sent home without the title, he discovered his father had passed away.
    “I told [my dad] I was going to be a United States Marine,” said Nathaniel. “When I got back and he wasn’t there anymore; I [knew I] had to accomplish this and do it for him,”
    For the next year and a half Nathaniel took swim lessons. Everyone around him could not believe he wanted to return to bootcamp, but for Nathaniel it was not a question of if he was going back, it was when.
    “I would go to work, and then after work my swim instructor and I would find a time to swim,” said Nathaniel.
    After countless swim lessons and hard work, Nathaniel returned to Parris Island in March 2021.
    “I was ready [and better prepared this time]” said Nathaniel. “The Marine Corps taught me to never give up.”
    With his new confidence in the water, Nathaniel passed the Marine Corps Basic Swim Qualification with ease.
    “I would say my dad would be proud of me,” said Nathaniel. “He’d never seen that not-giving-up mentality in me. I think he would be really happy that I did it.”



    Date Taken: 07.02.2021
    Date Posted: 07.10.2021 21:01
    Story ID: 400677
    Location: PARRIS ISLAND, SC, US 

    Web Views: 77
    Downloads: 0