Drill instructor helps recruits work for honor platoon
By Cpl. Walter D. Marino II
| | January 31, 2013
Marine Corps Recruit Depto San Diego --
Despite expecting the birth of his first child soon, Staff Sgt. Michael E. White, drill instructor, Platoon 1009, Company A, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, has not missed a beat of the operational tempo aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.
Before joining the Marine Corps, White grew up on a ranch in Livermore, Calif. There, he worked with his family raising cattle into his early twenties. When the urge to travel seeded itself in White’s mind, he decided the Marine Corps was the answer.
Twelve years later, White has participated in multiple deployments, including two tours to Afghanistan, one to Iraq, and one with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Throughout his military career, White had numerous mentors, but those he admired most were former drill instructors, explained White.
“They had a swagger, presence and confidence in the way they carried themselves,” said White, the 35-year-old.
It was one of the reasons why he became a drill instructor.
However, it was not the only one.
“You have the opportunity to pass on the legacy,” said White.
That includes passing on information on how to be a great Marine, explained White.
While the average working American works around 40 hours-per-week, drill instructors work approximately 24 hours a day, seven days a week for 13 consecutive weeks.
After a 13-week cycle, drill instructors receive between one and three weeks off before receiving a new set of recruits, explained Gunnery Sgt. Jarvis Rodriguez, chief drill instructor, Co. A., 1st RTBn.
Being a drill instructor is a three-year assignment.
Currently, White and his fellow drill instructors are nearing completion of a cycle of recruits. Thus far, Plt. 1009 has taken first place in the initial Physical Fitness Test, and first on a test of knowledge in topics such as combat care and Marine history. If the platoon wins the last recruit training event, they will earn the title of Honor Platoon.
White’s leaders described his work ethic and guidance as his strongest attributes as a drill instructor.
“He’s always around the company. He strives to be better and doesn’t cut corners to make the company better. He works tirelessly day in and day out,” said Rodriguez.
He explains things very thoroughly and detailed, said Rodriguez.
With a year-and-a-half under his belt as a drill instructor, White passes on what he has learned to other drill instructors.
“He trained me well,” said Staff Sgt. Jessie W. Fielder, drill instructor, Plt. 1009, Co. A, 1st RTBn. “He’s highly motivated, squared away and definitely a good leader.”
Part of the platoon’s success comes from White’s passion for drill, said Fielder.
“He’s always striving for perfection in drill,” said Fielder. “Drill is the foundation to discipline and discipline contributes to the success of all the events.”
Being a drill instructor is a 24-hour responsibility and so is being a father. Although White’s son is expected to arrive in the next few days, White is not scared but looking forward to a new step in his life.
“I’m excited about becoming a father and enjoying fatherhood,” said White, with a smile.