With loud speakers blaring the sounds of bullets and helicopters on a battlefield, Marine Corps recruits struggle underneath the barbed wire on the training grounds at Marine Corps Recruit Depot/ San Diego (Courtesy of MCT Campus)

With loud speakers blaring the sounds of bullets and helicopters on a battlefield, Marine Corps recruits struggle underneath the barbed wire on the training grounds at Marine Corps Recruit Depot/ San Diego (Courtesy of MCT Campus)

By: Adriana Szaboova, Staff Writer

You may know a Marine; it could be your mother, your father, sibling, child, your friend or a friend of a friend. You see them everywhere, even in the halls at Bergen Community College. Marines are the most prestigious branch of the military. “We don’t just take anyone, that’s why we call ourselves the few, the proud, the Marines,” said Staff Sergeant Santiago of the Clifton, NJ recruiting office.

When asked what they look for in a potential candidate, Staff Sergeant Santiago stated that they look at the whole person. Recruiters begin by verbally asking a list of qualification questions. These qualification questions include if they have any prior drug use, any tattoos, prior convictions or if they have any moral issues.

Once the candidate has passed the qualification questions, they begin the process of the mental evaluation. Some preferred qualities recruiters look for in the candidate include courage, poise and a well rounded person. Not everyone is eligible to sign up. You must either be a senior in highschool, have a high school diploma or a GED with 15 college credits.

Benefits of enlisting include a paycheck and basic medical benefits as soon as you begin bootcamp. Basic medical benefits include health insurance and dental care. After enlistment, benefits include a guaranteed paycheck twice a month, medical and dental benefits, education benefits and travel between bases.

Even though there is a myriad of reasons why someone would leave school to enlist, students should take their time in making an informed decision of whether to enlist or not. Staff Sergeant Santiago stressed that people thinking of enlisting, should make a point to ask questions. Gather as much info as you can to make an informed decision. The military life portrayed on TV and in movies does not have to be what you end up doing. Always ask for info before making a final decision.