Pvt. Completes Training in Spite of Loss

The Marine Corps prides itself in instilling recruits with its core values; honor, courage and commitment. For Pvt. Justin B. Vannoord, Platoon 1033, Company B, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, it was his grandfather, who taught him commitment to a task at hand and through the Marine Corps Vannoord can now display what he learned from him.   As a child, the 21-year-old, Blossom, Texas native, was raised by his grandparents on a farm. Sometimes the work day was long and would last 14 to 16 hours.   "Every morning we had to be up at three and the long days were not a problem because that's what needed to be done," explained Vannoord.

Growing up on the farm made manual labor part of his daily life. His grandfather being the father figure that raised him, showed him the importance of commitment to getting a job done.   "There is one memory that stands out to me, my grandfather had a 1980's Ford truck that he was always working on. He worked on that truck more than he drove it," said Vannoord.

The dedication that Vannoord's grandfather displayed was always an inspiration to him.

Vannoord joined the Marine Corps and shipped off to recruit training May 6, 2013.   Throughout training, his senior drill instructor noticed that Vannoord had the ability to keep his focus and bearing during stressful times.   "He is mentally and emotionally a strong person. His grandfather would be proud of him for completing training," said Staff Sgt. Roger Reyes, senior drill instructor. "He is going to do great in the Marine Corps because of his work ethic and ability to stay committed regardless of circumstances."   Unfortunately during third phase of recruit training, the man who raised him, since he was only a few months old, had passed away. Vannoord was given permission to go on emergency leave to attend his grandfather's funeral. However, even though he lost his father figure, he did not let that deter him from achieving his goal of becoming a United States Marine.

"I want to honor my grandfather by doing the best that I can in the Marine Corps because it is something he instilled in me," said Vannoord. "If he was here he would say, ‘do the best that you can with what you have and do the best that you can at what you are doing.'"   Vannoord has earned the title "Marine" and is ready to move on with his Marine Corps career and complete Marine Combat Training at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton Calif., then, on to Marine Artillery Detachment at Fort Sill, Okla. where he will learn his job of Fire Support Man.   "He is not afraid to fail and keep going until he accomplishes the mission," said Reyes.   His grandfather may have passed away but his teachings and legacy lives on in his grandson.

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