Photo By Lance Cpl. Javarre Glanton | Lance Cpl. James LaFrance, Platoon 1070, Bravo Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, stands in the front of his platoon before they were led by their senior drill instructor to victory at their company’s final drill Aug. 31 at the Peatross Parade Deck.
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PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. -- A 21-year-old from Orange County, N.Y., who was influenced by the events of 9/11, graduates today as the honor graduate of Bravo Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion.
Lance Cpl. James LaFrance, guide of Platoon 1070, received a meritorious promotion after showing exceptional leadership skills within his platoon.
“Most of the reason why I joined the Marine Corps was because of 9/11,” LaFrance said. “I chose infantry because I wanted to be there first hand. I felt it was the best way to get back at the terrorists.
“Even though I was in upstate New York, a lot of my friends and I had family there that day,” he added.
LaFrance initially wanted to become a Marine upon his high school graduation but was encouraged to attend college by his parents.
“I went to Virginia Military Institute to learn how to lead Marines and go to college all at once,” he explained.
LaFrance grew from his experience at the military college although he was enrolled for only a year and a semester.
“My experience at VMI really helped me out with recruit training,” he said. “I was already used to being yelled at and being told what to do all the time.”
LaFrance earned a perfect 300-point score on both the physical fitness test and combat fitness test. In addition, he earned an expert rifleman score.
His drill instructors noticed his leadership abilities early in the training cycle.
“He’s been the guide since Training Day 6 and I noticed he had some serious leadership skill,” said his senior drill instructor, Staff Sgt. Gilbert Gillis. “He was always moving the platoon. He always motivated the platoon to move faster,” Gillis said of the Corps’ newest lance corporal.
“He helped the weaker recruits by pulling them aside and having them work on what they were inefficient at,” Gillis said. “LaFrance did outstanding. A lot of the time he controlled the platoon just as well as a drill instructor.”
“I’m not a fan of promoting recruits to lance corporal out of recruit training, but he deserves it,” said the Annapolis, Md. native. “I highly recommended him for the rank.”
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PARRIS ISLAND, SC, US
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