Determined Marine Steamrolls Recruit Training

Marine seeks better life after impoverished upbringing
Pfc. Ryan T. Bobbit of Company M, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, endured a difficult upbringing in San Antonio. (Sgt. Pedro Cardenas/U.S. Marine Corps)

SAN DIEGO -- To some, the Marine Corps provides an opportunity to travel the world while serving their nation. For others, the Corps is a gateway to a better life.

Pfc. Ryan T. Bobbit of Company M, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, grew up in San Antonio in an underprivileged home without a father figure, but it is through the Corps that he began to thrive and prosper.

Bobbit's mother spent most of her time working to provide for him and his sister.

Bobbit explained there were times his mother would come home from work, and he would ask her what the family was going to eat for dinner, only to realize there wasn't much.

"We had food, but it was always the same, beans and rice," Bobbit said. "It was hard going back to school, seeing other kids with brand-new shoes and clothes all the time and I was still wearing the same clothes from the year before that didn't really fit anymore."

Growing up in a poor household without a father, Bobbit looked up to his uncle, a retired Army soldier, to guide him.

Bobbit took on the role as the man of the house, and as such, he began to look for ways to provide for his family. His uncle offered him a job in the construction field at the age of 14. As he earned money, he helped with the essentials of his home by assisting his mother to pay some of the household bills.

Nevertheless, he did not let his household role interfere with his education. He played football and, even with work and extracurricular activities, he graduated high school with a 3.7 grade-point average.

"You realize you don't have a whole lot there for you, so I decided to enlist in the Marine Corps." said Bobbit, who shipped to recruit training June 17.

Most aspects of Bobbit's life have been difficult.

"Nothing has been easy for him. Everything was a challenge, but he won't quit. He won't stop. He is a determined kid," said Staff Sgt. Andrew S. Montreuil, senior drill instructor. "You put a wall in front of him, and he will find a way to get through it."

During the second phase of training at Edson Range aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Bobbit rolled his ankle several times during company hikes. He was diagnosed with a convulsion fracture, where the ligaments around the ankle are so tight they begin to chip away the bone around it.

"I fractured my ankle, which was swollen about three times its regular size," Bobbit said. "I was able to push through it and finish all the hikes with my platoon."

Bobbit's senior drill instructor attests to his determination. Montreuil said Bobbit did not stop pushing his body during training, even after he had recovered from his injury.

Montreuil said Bobbit has potential to excel in the Marines and has demonstrated that during recruit training; he was promoted meritoriously to private first class.

"He wants a better life than where he came from, and that's his motivation," said Montreuil, a Banning, California, native. "He has limitless potential. I would not be surprised if he comes back in 10 years as a drill instructor to give a little bit back to the Marine Corps."

For Bobbit, finishing recruit training was more than just pride. It was about moving away from his childhood life and succeeding.

"You can't get anywhere in life without honesty. I want to be a better person and live an honest life," Bobbit said. "The Marine Corps is all about honor, courage and commitment, and I want to be committed to what I'm about to do."

After graduation, Bobbit is scheduled to attend Marine Combat Training at Camp Pendleton, California. Then he will move on to technical school in Pensacola, Florida, where he will learn his military occupation specialty, aviation rotor technician.

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