SAN DIEGO – Some kids dream of becoming like their parents in one way or another. Marine Corps Pvt. Thomas J. Shevlin patterns his life after his father’s.
Shevlin, a member of Platoon 3249, Company L, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion here, sets his life goals by drawing inspiration from his father’s life accomplishments.
His father left his home after being thrown out by his parents when he was a teenager. He was constantly on the move from house to house. Shevlin said his father made the choice to enlist in the Marine Corps, where he found a career.
For Shevlin, his father’s choice to become a Marine became his motivation.
“I was inspired by my father [to become a Marine]. I have never met a man better than my father,” said 19-year-old Shevlin. “He was able to make something of himself after going through a rough time.”
As a result, Shevlin, who hails from Bend, Ore., enlisted and shipped off to recruit training on Nov. 4, 2013. Before he departed for recruit training, Shevlin said his father told him, “I don’t know if you are trying to follow in my footsteps. If you are, you’ve made me the happiest and proudest father on the face of the earth.”
Shevlin grew up around Marines at different Marine Corps installations, including Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii and Camp Pendleton, Calif.
“The Marine Corps is embedded in me and it’s a part of my nature, how I grew up,” Shevlin said. “The Marine Corps is a lifestyle and it stands above the rest.”
Shevlin said his father, now a retired gunnery sergeant, deployed many times and was often absent. However, he added, his father always managed to spend time with the family regardless of his schedule; he was always present at his football games. His father was equally committed to his work and to his family.
According to Shevlin, he learned a lot from his father, not only about commitment, but also attention to detail. While growing up, Shevlin was indirectly being trained by his father. He instilled many traits and routines of a Marine such as proper customs and courtesies, discipline and leadership.
“He definitely had a good base when training started. He has the ability to lead from the front and that is important,” said Marine Corps Sgt. Elias R. Jimenez, a 26-year-old senior drill instructor. “People have to be able to trust you; they won’t trust you if you can’t do things you are asking them to do.”
For Shevlin, his father was not only a mentor, but also a friend.
“I’ve always had a close bond with him,” Shevlin said of his father. “Our relationship was close, as if I had come across somebody at school and knew I had found a best friend.”
Shevlin said his father now serves as a police officer, and he’s still very competitive, a trait which most Marines possess. According to Shevlin, even after retirement, his father aspires to be the greatest in everything he does. That’s something Shevlin said he also attempts to mirror in his life.
“I picked him to be one of my squad leaders because he stood out amongst recruits in the platoon. He is determined and you can tell he wants to be here,” Jimenez, who hails from Miami, said of Shevlin. “You can tell who is moving as fast as they can and who is giving 100 percent effort. He was one of those.”
For the next step in his training, Shevlin will attend the School of Infantry at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., to become a rifleman and continue in his journey to emulate his father.
“I have what it takes to be like my father,” Shevlin said. “I want to make it a full 20-year career because I’ve been around the Marine Corps my whole life and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”