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Honor Grad Rises Above Challenge
by USMC Lance Cpl. Francisco Abundes - September 1, 2011

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USMC recruit Cory Marshall, Platoon 2064, Echo Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, provides security for the rest of his fire team during the Crucible at Page Field on Aug. 18, 2011. Photo by USMC Lance Cpl. Francisco Abundes
USMC recruit Cory Marshall, Platoon 2064, Echo Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, provides security for the rest of his fire team during the Crucible at Page Field on Aug. 18, 2011. Photo by USMC Lance Cpl. Francisco Abundes

PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. (8/29/2011) - Every recruit who passes through the silver doors of recruit training has his own story. He has a reason to fight – a reason to earn the title Marine.

Graduating today with Platoon 2064, Echo Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, is a Marine who overcame a great deal of adversity just to get to Parris Island.

Pfc. Cory Marshall had a rough start in life, with no father figure to guide him and only a working single mother as his role model. But today, he graduates as the honorman for his platoon with the satisfaction of making mom proud.

“I cannot be more proud of him,” said Shontelle Marshall, his mother. “It's not every day a child gets to follow his dreams, and Cory is following his.”

Marshall was the first member of his family to graduate high school.

“He took charge because he knew all [we had] was him, his brother and I. He had to do something that would make him a man for the rest of his life,” his mother said.

He first considered enlisting when he participated in his school's Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps for four years.

“I wasn't surprised,” Shontelle said. “After the first day of Marine Corps JROTC, Cory was a Marine from that day on.”

Through recruit training, Marshall showed traits of a true leader.

“He has always been expected to fail, so he had something to fight for,” said Staff Sgt. Oscar Orellana, Marshall's senior drill instructor. “In recruit training, he had the opportunity to prove himself.”

Orellana said Marshall always looked out for other recruits, and even though he was only 18 years old, he was one of the most mature recruits in the platoon.

“He definitely exhibits leaderships qualities,” Orellano continued. “He'll make a good leader one day.”

He earned the role as guide for the platoon and held onto that billet through all of recruit training.

“That didn't surprise us at all because Cory has always been the kind to take charge,” his mother said. “I was a single mom – I wasn't going to have a brat or smart-mouthed son.”

Marshall said he worked to demonstrate he had what it took to hold the top recruit billet in his platoon because his childhood taught him to be competitive.

“I was always taught not to accept failure,” Marshall said. “If you want to be the best, why not push to be the best.”

In training, Marshall looked up to his senior drill instructor as his role model.

“He's told me I've been his first father-figure,” Orellana said. “He never had anyone who had such high expectations of him. I expected him to be perfect compared to every other recruit because he was a guide – he had to work to prove himself.”

Marshall hopes to make the Corps a career, go to college and maybe become an officer.

In fighting to earn his high school diploma, then his Eagle, Globe and Anchor, Marshall has taken nothing for granted, and says his greatest inspiration has been his mother.

“It was worth it, just being able to know that my mom could say her son had made it, just being able to say that someone finally did something good with their life and made something of himself,” Marshall said.

By USMC Lance Cpl. Francisco Abundes
Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2011

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