MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — Six Eagle Young Marines received challenge coins and words of wisdom from Sgt. Maj. Michael Kufchak, the sergeant major of 1st Marine Division, upon graduating recruit training at the base theater here, Aug 18.
The Eagle Young Marines Pvt. Marco Alviter, 13, Pvt. Edward Raymond, 12, Pvt. Alonso Garcia, 12, Pvt. D’Ambria Brooks, 16, Pvt. Angel Maldornado, 14, and Pvt. Adan Lopez, 13, had gone through approximately two months of training where they learned drill and engaged in physical training exercises before they earned the title of Eagle Young Marine.
“I believe that this program is vital for the next generation,” said, Kufchak. “It instills discipline and leadership in these kids."
In order for the kids to learn how to lead they need good role models, said Duane Siegmann, the commander of the Eagle Young Marines.
The Eagle Young Marines mentors are active duty Marines who volunteer every week to give these young men and women role models to look up to.
The two Marines who volunteered their time were Sgt. Andres Rivera, a maintenance administration clerk with Marine Aircraft Group 39 and Sgt. Erick James, a motor transportation mechanic with 5th Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment.
“I love this program because we can pass on our Marine Corps core values to these kids,” said James, a 31-year-old native of Rushford, Min. “We influence them on making the right decisions while teaching to set the example when they’re with their friends.”
Kufchak said that it’s the individuals these young warriors surround themselves with that makes the difference. By choosing to be around Marines instead of criminals shows that they already have good judgment.
The Eagle Young Marines met every Saturday to train and drill here.
“I have been an Eagle Young Marine for five years now, and its just great,” said Young Marine Cpl. Lena Mojica, the 11-year-old Eagle Young Marine. “I get to teach my younger brother what we learn; teamwork and how to share.”
After the graduation ceremony ended, the children recited the Young Marines hymn with smiles on their faces. They ended the ceremony with three loud “ooh-rahs” and turned to their families, who reached out and hugged their proud young warriors.
The Eagle Young Marines of the Marine Corps League is a non-profit youth organization dedicated to drug demand reduction, academics, and community service. It was started in 2007 and the purpose of the Young Marines is to provide an organized program devoted to the development of character and physical fitness as exemplified by the United States Marine Corps.