Dear Captain Grose,

I would like to thank you for creating your web-site. It is a very helpful place with lots of information.

My son Philip has signed a contract to enlist in the Corps next spring when he graduates from high school. Meanwhile, I am trying to learn all I can about his options. I am confident (so is he) that he would make a fine Officer. I am sure I will visit your web-site frequently over the next few months. I ordered and received a Marine Officer's Guide and we will read that cover to cover.

We live in Kenai, Alaska and will be in San Diego for spring break. We were thinking about visiting the bootcamp site to see what we might learn. Do you have any thoughts about that? Any other advice you might have for my son would also be much appreciated.

I am sure you are a busy guy so I will cut this off here.

Thank you, and best regards,

John E. Smith

Mr. Smith,

Thank you for you kind email. It is letters exactly like yours which provides the me the motivation to keep the page up to date.

Another book I would suggest is "Marine" by Tom Clancy and "Making The Corps" by Tom Ricks. They will provide a lot of insight into today's Marine Corps.

I would definitely encourage you to go to MCRD in San Diego. You will have access to part of the base and will be able to see the grinder where they march. It is a spectacular sight. Do not miss the on base museum either. And if you see a DI, stop him and talk to him. You will see what kind of professional your son will be led by. It does not matter which one you stop, they are all incredible people and you will note their intensity, politeness, and professionalism.

Thanks again for the email and let me know how it turns out. Let me know when you plan to go to San Diego because I might be able to give you a tour if my schedule permits (I live about 3 hours away but rarely miss a chance to go to MCRD.)

-- Capt Grose

Dear Captain Grose,

Thank you for the quick response.

Since I sent you the first e-mail I have read your stories about your experiences in bootcamp. They are very interesting, entertaining, and informative. I suspect you have a talent for writing. Have you ever considered writing a book? If you have, you might want to look into a writing school I know about. It is all done through correspondence so you may work at it when your schedule permits (up to a point). The BEST thing about it is that the school assigns you to a successful, published author who will be your mentor throughout the course. Each of your assignments is sent to your mentor who not only grades your paper but fills it with clear comments on how to improve it. It is very much a one-on-one relationship between you and your mentor. If you think you might be interested in this let me know and I will e-mail you the details so you can follow up on it.

If you are still stationed at Twenty Nine Palms, we would be delighted to drive up and meet with you when we are in San Diego in March. I do not yet have the details of our itinerary but will likely have the details within a few weeks. We would be delighted to even get a glimpse of the MCRD and meeting a DI would be great.

I served in the US Army and we too had DIs but nothing like what I read about in the Corps. I went on to the MP Academy in Fort Gordon Georgia and that school had some of the same level of "training" you refer to in bootcamp. The Army's idea was to weed out the hot heads because we were being sent out into the civilian areas with loaded weapons and the Army certainly didn't want any "incidents."

As you may suspect, I have a great deal of respect for all branches of the military. My father was a lifer in the Air Force, and we are completely supportive of Philip's decision to join the USMC.

Best Regards,

John E. Smith