Archive for March, 2014


The Newest Rifleman

Posted on Mar 14 2014 | By

Grandson joins ranks of fabled fighting force 

The United States Marine Corps was created in 1775 and for more than two hundred years has served as the world’s elite fighting force. Marines are First to Fight; warriors in the truest sense. To be a member is an honor earned, not given.

Preston and his mother Diane

Preston and his mother Diane

“Every Marine a rifleman” is the axiom that embodies the strength of the Corps. Each Marine learns the basics of being an infantryman regardless of what role they may later assume in the organization.

The training enables Marines to deploy to any location in the world on a 24 hour notice. All troops under a Marine commander are capable of front line combat.

The graduates

The graduates

On March 7, our oldest grandson, Preston Scott Hagarty, graduated as private first class from the legendary Parris Island, SC Marine boot camp. Jean and I witnessed the ceremony along with his family, his other grandparents and several of his friends.

All of us could not be more proud of Preston’s achievement.

Boot camp

Recruits receive an intensive 13 weeks of training that is demanding and rigorous. It includes physical conditioning, marksmanship, hand to hand combat—and perhaps most importantly—the ability to operate as a cohesive unit, a team.

During his ten day leave after graduation, I spent some time talking with Preston about his experience. It was instructive to learn why this 18 year old young man chose the Marines and what he has learned in the process.

“What prompted me to join the Corps was doing something most civilians will never do. Not many people can say they’ve served in the Marines. It fits my personality. I’ve always wanted to serve in the military. At first I considered the Army, but I wanted to be the best of the best. It was the challenge,” he explains.

Drill Sargent & Preston

Drill Sargent & Preston

When he arrived at Parris Island, he was a full-fledged civilian and found his first test was taking orders from fierce drill instructors that were never far from his face shouting commands at full voice.

“My worst experience was the first two weeks. You had no idea what you were doing. No idea why you were there. I asked myself, ‘Why did I come here?’ ” he recalls.

For those who knew Preston as a high school student, taking orders was not easy for him. But his transformation at boot camp was swift.

Early on, a drill instructor said to think of the training as an initiation process. “I thought, well that makes sense. It’s their Corps and they were going to make us the best Marines. We are the future. We will fight the next war,” he says matter-of- factly.

He also began to change when other recruits he admired became squad leaders. He was dissatisfied he was not advancing. “Who you hang out with is who you are going to be.

“I got with my buddies around week three and said I would show my leadership skills.” Soon afterward, he was assigned squad leader with 12 men reporting to him. He was also promoted to private first class, an honor not bestowed on all recruits.

“I was the second squad leader. I took care of them. I think we had the best squad in the platoon. We were really close to each other,” Preston says.

To underscore the change he underwent, the day before graduation we met one of his drill instructors. The sergeant came up to me and said, “This man has made more progress than any other recruit in the platoon.”

The observation highlights the natural leadership skills our grandson possesses and speaks well for his military future. Receiving and executing orders has become second nature to the young warrior and reinforces the Parris Island slogan “We Make Marines”.

Next chapter

When he returns to duty after home leave, he will undergo Marine Combat Training, or MCT, at Camp LeJune, NC. This will in essence be a graduate course in combat training. The majority of the 27 day exercise will be spent in the field.

“From day one I go straight to the field. We will learn everything about becoming a combat survivor,” he says.

Following MCT, he will be sent directly to Ft. Benning, GA to train in his Military Occupational Specialty; likely artillery or tanks. As expected from a young man looking for adventure Preston says, “I want to do tanks. It’s more fun; more exciting.”

Indeed, it can be both. But most importantly, it will be providing our Nation with the ability to defend itself in a world replete with aggression and terror.

As for the future? Our young soldier looks forward to traveling the world and contributing to freedom’s defense wherever he may be assigned. After his four year enlistment he will decide on his next career.

“If the economy is good, I will leave the Corps and go into to real estate with my Dad. But if the Marines are looking good, I will probably re-enlist,” says Preston.

We salute Pfc. Preston Scott Hagarty for the courage to pursue his dreams and thank him for his service to our country. Semper Fi.

Brian, Diane and the family

Brian, Diane and the family


Categories : HAGARTY TALES