ABOARD USS KEARSARGE AT SEA – A 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit noncommissioned officer hopes to gain experience in his deployment aboard USS Kearsarge that will benefit future Marines.
Sgt. William Repass, 26th MEU assistant headquarters commandant said he plans to become a drill instructor to infuse the military mindset of leadership, initiative and discipline into the hearts of Marine Corps recruits.
“I wanted to be a drill instructor ever since I set foot on Parris Island,” Repass said. “Ever since I saw them, I knew I would spend time in my Marine Corps career as a drill instructor.
“I love everything about them,” he continued. “I love how it is the first thing you see when you first get off the bus and you think to yourself, ‘That is what a Marine is.’ I want to train recruits to be Marines -- to take an ordinary civilian and mold them into what the Marine Corps’ expectations are. I think there is no greater thing you could do for the Marine Corps than to actually make people into Marines.”
Repass said one of the biggest things he hopes to impart is the importance of integrity.
Passing up traditional re-enlistment incentives, such as money or the option to choose one’s duty station, Repass chose to deploy with the 26th MEU in order to gain the skills he needed to be better able to teach Marines in the future.
“In my eyes, in order to teach people how to be a Marine, you have to have certain things accomplished in your career, and deploying for me was one of those things,” he said. “Now, when I become a drill instructor, I’ll have a deployment under my belt, and when the recruits ask me questions about deployments I will be able to answer it from firsthand experience.”
During his deployment, Repass is coordinating and controlling groups of Marines, something he said is crucial for a drill instructor to be able to accomplish.
“As police sergeant, he is responsible for all life support activities for the MEU,” said Marine Corps Master Sgt. John Collins, 26th MEU headquarters commandant. “He coordinates trash removal, maintenance requests, cleanliness, ships taxes and any other tasks that affect cleanliness by reporting of maintenance issues. ... [Repass] has become my right hand man and can assist me with many of my tasks.”
Since joining the 26th MEU shortly before their deployment, Repass has made his presence known. His preferred leadership style is leading from the front. If he is not giving instruction or passing information, it is not unusual to see him working side by side with everyone else.
“When you are trying to get a group of people to do the exact same thing, it is kind of hard, because not everybody understands what needs to happen,” Repass said. “If I show them firsthand what exactly needs to be done by actually doing it, there is far less room for error. I find it is also encouraging to show the Marines the job needs to get done, regardless of who is doing it. If I can do it, they can, too.”