SAN DIEGO — Recruits come from all different backgrounds. Some come from small farming towns and some from urban hot spots.One new Marine Corps recruit recently traveled from the big city lights of Las Vegas to sunny San Diego with dreams of becoming a Marine and carrying on a family tradition.
Pfc. Mason A. Davis, 20, was born in Virginia. When he was five months old, his family moved to California, and then to Nevada when he was five. Once there, his family decided to plant their roots in Vegas.
"It was fun growing up in Vegas," Davis said. "I'm not 21, so I haven't participated in much, but I still go to the main strip with my friends and hang out. It doesn't matter how long you've lived there, it's still beautiful to see every night."
Family Tradition of Military Service
Davis grew up in a military family. His father, grandfather and two uncles served in the Marine Corps, so he knew his path would lead to serving his country. However, it didn't start out that way.
He grew up playing football. Like tough Marines who defend their country, this lineman fiercely defended his quarterback. Once Davis reached the high school level, he decided to put a hold on joining the military to pursue a football career.
"I trained hard to be the best I could be," Davis said. "There is a special feeling you get when you dig your cleats into a football field and prove yourself better than the opposing player you're clashing helmets with all game."
It wasn't long before college offers filled up the football player's mailbox. One particular school caught his eye and sparked his interest over the rest.
Plays Football, Joins Marine Corps
"Earlham University offered me a full ride with plenty of money, so I decided to sign with them," Davis said. "It's located in Richmond, Indiana, which was a fun area to go to school."
Although Davis played well in his games and maintained a high grade point average, he decided to cut his football career short for what he described as his true calling.
"After playing my first year, I was awarded Defensive Newcomer of the Year and voted team captain," he said. "There was something else I needed to do, though."
The college student left his school with a 3.5 grade point average and set off to join the United States Marine Corps.
"When I first got home, I immediately got a job at Home Depot to keep money in my pocket," Davis said. "I then went straight to a Marine recruiter, and within a month I was on my way to recruit training."
Graduates Boot Camp
Now that the new Marine has graduated with Charlie Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, he will attend Marine Combat Training at Camp Pendleton to further his combat skills. Once he graduates from there, he will attend school for his military occupation specialty to become a motor transportation operator.
Davis will be a Marine Corps Reservist and plans to go back to college in Las Vegas to earn a degree in criminal justice.
"Carrying on the family tradition of serving this great country has a special meaning to me," Davis said. "I look forward to making them proud and giving back to my country."