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USMC Honor Graduate LCpl Douglas Pfeifer
by U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Andrew Skiver
November 9, 2022

On average, there are 60 recruits in each platoon at Marine Corps basic tanning, multiply that by six platoons for a company and you have over 360 recruits per cycle. One cycle for one company of recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego graduates the equivalent to a high school graduation class.

Now, imagine you graduated first in your class, not only for your academic excellence ... but your physical, moral, and mental ability, as well.

Lance Cpl. Douglas C. Pfeifer graduated basic training on August 5th, 2022, with Delta Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion. He excelled in everything he did while at boot camp, earning the title of company honor graduate.

August 15, 2022 - U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Douglas C. Pfeifer, a Marine with Recruiting Sub-Station Long Beach, Recruiting Station Orange County, poses for a photo after conducting an interview at RSS Long Beach, California. The Marines of Orange County come from many different backgrounds and situations, but all of them enjoy helping the young men and women answer their call to serve. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Andrew Skiver.)
August 15, 2022 - U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Douglas C. Pfeifer, a Marine with Recruiting Sub-Station Long Beach, Recruiting Station Orange County, poses for a photo after conducting an interview at RSS Long Beach, California. The Marines of Orange County come from many different backgrounds and situations, but all of them enjoy helping the young men and women answer their call to serve. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Andrew Skiver.)

“I remember sitting down with SSgt. Mann, my recruiter, and asking him how do I get (promoted to) E-3 out of boot camp?” His response was, “it is definitely something you can achieve, but you know you will have to be the best at every single thing you do.” said Mann. “Even something as little as making racks; you must literally be the best. All I remember is saying ‘okay!’” said Pfeifer.

Shortly after arriving to MCRD San Diego, Pfeifer recalled going to the clothing issue station and seeing lance corporal chevrons on a dress blues coat. It was that image of the chevrons on that coat that served as his motivation throughout the entirety of basic training.

“I remember seeing a blues jacket with the cross rifles and was like, ‘I need that’. On most nights before I went to sleep, I would envision myself wearing cross rifles at graduation and using that image to make sure that I was constantly motivated,” said Lance Cpl. Pfeifer.

He experienced many different types of adversity while at basic training, but one stood above the rest.

“Self-doubt, I doubted myself a lot along the process because I was never number one. I don't think there was a single event I placed first in. Across all the events in basic training, I was always getting second or third, because of this, I was always worried about achieving my goal of honor grad,” said Lance Cpl. Pfeifer.

He explained how he wanted to surprise his family from the start and how he never once mentioned it to anyone. This secret was easy to keep because he was the platoon guide and always put his future Marines above anything else. Pfeifer expressed how it was worth every sacrifice when he graduated as a Lance Cpl. and it was announced that he was the honor guide during graduation at MCRD San Diego.

"They just knew. I don't know how my family knew, but they did. Growing up, it was my grandmother who always told me since I was little, ‘You can do anything you set your mind to.’ and I think that's something I lost a little bit before the Marine Corps. I kind of lost that mentality, but achieving my goal really reaffirmed it again for me," said Pfeifer

He stated that he will continue to look for ways to be the best in everything he does and will never forget the advice his grandmother gave him all those years ago.

"I think I’m just excited for the transition from in the pond, to the lakes, then on to the oceans if that makes sense. So I already competed in the small pond at the depo within one company. Now, I'm excited for more competition and chances to prove myself again and again,” said Pfeifer.

"So, I guess to sum it up, I’m excited for more chances to continuously keep proving myself and to keep achieving. It's just fun and it keeps my mind busy always trying to be the best version of myself I can be," said Pfeifer.

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