By Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego
New Marine Decides Business First In The Corps
(November 6, 2010)
Pvt. Eric Austin unloads his platoon's five-gallon water jugs after completing the Crucible at Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Oct. 28, 2010. The Crucible is a 54-hour training exercise in which recruits get little food and sleep. U.S. Marine Photo by Pfc. Mike Ito
| ||MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- It was fall of 2009 when Pvt. Eric Austin was stressing about a college scholarship essay he was writing. Austin was charged with writing an essay about he what he thought makes a member of the armed services a hero, for a scholarship worth $3,000. He thought back to each time his grandfather, a former helicopter pilot for the Air Force, had sat with him in their living room, telling great tales of Marines fighting in Vietnam. He explained how they fought through more than anyone else, and how they never gave up.|
Austin graduates from recruit training today with his fellow Marines. He has spent the last three months enduring everything boot camp has to offer to make his dream become a reality.
Austin came from a more fortunate family in St. Cloud, Minn., had several scholarships and grants, and invitations to attend both the Minnesota School of Business and Rasmussen College.
“I've always been good at math, and my mom is a very successful businesswoman. So it seemed very natural,” said Austin.
He liked the idea of business, but it seemed that Austin wasn't fulfilled from studying. He needed something more.
“Pvt. Austin's main goal was to make his mother happy and ultimately proud,” says Gunnery Sgt. Juarice Collins, senior drill instructor, platoon 2161, Company H. “But Austin felt a deeper desire that he wasn't getting from school.”
So Austin started to explore options other than college. His family has a military history, with a grandfather who retired from the Air Force, and a great grandfather who was in the Army. But Austin had already decided, asking himself, “if I'm going to join anyway,
|why not with the best?”|
|His parents, after expressing some concern over their son enlisting in the service, were immediately proud of his decision when he told them he chose the Marines.|
“Austin joined the Marine Corps because he felt he wanted to be a part of the best fighting force in the world,” said Collins.
However, his journey was far from over. He entered the delayed entry program in December of 2009 more than 40 pounds over the regulation weight. The DEP is a program to prepare recruits both mentally and physically for the demands of recruit training. But his determination to wear the eagle, globe, and anchor emblem won out. Between December and August, Austin worked hard to lose 50 pounds in time to sign his contract.
He also looked for motivation outside of himself, and found two friends with the same goals and ambitions. Pfc. Michael Baumann and Pvt. Alan Baumann, twin brothers from St. Cloud, were looking to graduate right alongside Austin. They shared with Austin a love for the Marine Corps, and for entrepreneurship.
After their tenure in the Corps, the three plan to start a video game development firm together.
“[Michael and Alan] love video games, and I love business,” said Austin. “It just makes sense”
Michael Baumann explains how Austin can add to the success of their venture, “He's not afraid to try something. It just seems like he always has the right answer,” said Michael Baumann.
Although in the Corps, Austin still has a desire to study business. He plans to use the educational benefits provided by the Corps to pursue a bachelor's and master's degree in business management.
Noting that ‘Once a Marine, always a Marine,' Austin looks forward to using everything he has learned while in recruit training. “I want to run a good business. When you think of business these days, everyone thinks of lying, cheating, stealing CEO's who do whatever they can to get more money. I don't want that. The Marines have already given me everything I need to run an honest business,” said Austin.
Even though he had so much going for him, with several scholarships worth thousands of dollars, and invitations to many prominent schools, Austin saw through it all. He knew that, although it would mean sacrificing almost everything he had worked for, being a United States Marine was worth giving it all up.
“Looking back, that scholarship essay that I stressed so much over, would have been way easier after seeing the heroism displayed every day in the Marine Corps,” said Austin.
|Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego|
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