The first boots on the ground in most wars are the boots of U.S. Marines. They're the frontline of an all volunteer force fighting the war on terror on several fronts. But it's a dangerous job. Just this past Monday a road side bomb killed four Marines in a western Iraqi town. So why do young people volunteer for the Marines?
All Marines from the eastern half of the country start their careers on Parris Island, South Carolina. A whopping 40 percent of them are from southern states. A little more than 10 percent of males recruits don't even make it through training.
We caught up with two local recruits just beginning their training. Twenty-three-year-old Barry Taylor is long way from his home in ft. Walton beach. Fourteen days into his Marine Corp recruit training he's gotten used to the food in the mess hall, waking up at 4 a.m. and a rigorous physical regiment.
Twelve weeks of Marine Corp boot camp instills self-discipline, team work and love for Corp and country. For many of these young men, the challenge of conflict in the Middle East awaits them after their Parris Island training.
Unlike Barry Taylor, Nick Hagood from Rutherford High isn't waiting until he's in his twenties to join the Marine Corp. For Nick, joining the Marines has become a family tradition. As for the thought of war, he already seems motivated to do his part.
The Marine Corp motto is Semper Fidelis, Latin for always faithful to god, country, family and corp. For Nick and Barry, their time on the island may be some of the toughest in the lives. But that's what it takes to be a part of the world's most elite fighting force.