Soldier Q&A

2nd BTL 1st MARDIV Fox Company MEUSOC

Eric Radwanski


Corporal E-4

Enlist Date:

I enlisted in the Marine Corps on October 21st, 2007

How long have you been in the military? 

I’ve spent four years in the military.

Do you plan to re-enlist?

No, but this has been one of the most interesting and exciting times of my life.

Why did you join? 

It’s tough to really say.  I didn’t really think about it.  I just knew it was the right thing for me at that time.

Why did you pick the Service Branch you did? 

The United States Marine Corps offers the best training for the MOS (Infantry) I chose.

What is your Military occupation? 

USMC Infantry Rifleman – 0311

What is your current Duty Station? 

USMC Base Camp Pendleton, California    

Best duty station? 

Camp Pendleton, California

What are some are your past duty stations? 

I’ve been to Parris Island in South Carolina, Camp Geiger in North Carolina, Camp Pendleton in California, FOB Hit in Hit in Iraq, and the Helmand Province of Afghanistan.

Best part about serving? 

I love shooting weapons and running rifle ranges.

Toughest/worst part about serving ?

Well, as the new guy you do all the stuff no one wants to do like pick up trash, working parties, etc.  I’d definitely have to say the first year or so is the worst part. At least until new Marines showed up to fill our ranks

Awards and Decorations: 

National Defense Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation, NATO Ribbon (ISAF)

What is your advice about enlisting in the military? 

It’s a four year commitment.  Make sure you know exactly what you want to do and don’t settle for anything less, just because a recruiter’s pushing it on you.  A lot of what you read about the military and enlisting is wrong or different from the reality of the job.  It all depends on what branch, MOS, and even what chain of command you are in.  If you have questions, ask someone who is actually doing the exact same thing you would like to do. Do your research like on this web site.  Ask the questions that need to be asked for you.

How would you advise someone to prepare for serving? 

Learn to say goodbye.  Depending on how close you are with your loved ones this could be easy or very difficult.  Stick to your commitment.  If you try to take the easy way out you will regret it.  For Marines, freeze your cell phone until after boot camp.  You’re not going to need it.  A copy of your orders to recruit training should be enough for them to shut it off or suspend it.  When you deploy make 100 percent sure that your power of attorney is going to someone you “trust” with all your finances.  My personal choice would be a parent over a spouse.  And remember no matter how tough boot camp, training, or a deployment is there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

How was boot camp (best/worse/funniest)? 

For me, it was relatively easy.  A little bit of patience, a little bit of physical endurance, and a whole lot of mental fortitude is all I needed to get through.  That is different for everybody.  Boot camp is training for all MOS’s, so as an Infantry-bound recruit the physical stuff was fairly easy. Everybody comes with certain weaknesses and fears but those can be dealt with and mitigated.  Boot camp gives you that edge in life to deal with everything.

How long was boot camp?

Expect 13 tough weeks.

What is your favorite military story? 

I don’t really have a favorite per say.  We had plenty of good times.  One thing that will always be with me is the bond shared among a group of Marines posted up in a mud hut for 7 months.  We may not have been the best of friends or share the same interests, but what we went through together can’t be replicated in any other environment. An espirit de corps and band of brothers that I will never forget.

What is an average day like? 

It all depends on your MOS.  For most people their job can also be done on base as well as in country.  So, for those individuals work probably starts around 7 or 8 with physical training before that, and ends around 4 to 5 pm.  For me, there’s not much to do around the base unless we’re in the field for training.  So, depending on the schedule we’ll probably have physical training at around 6 and then we’d shower up and go to breakfast.  From there it ranges from doing nothing to having classes on the upcoming training events, then lunch, then back to classes, or possibly taking care of logistical things like getting gear issued to you, or even back to doing nothing.  Usually we’re off at about 4pm.  The training evoloution dictates our training schedule and the location.

What is crazy day like? 

Getting shot at is what a crazy day is like. Adrenilene and training take over at that point.

What is your future plans military/career plans? 

I plan to use the skills taught to me in the Marine Corps to try and land a great security job, possibly even executive protection (body guard).  If all else fails I have the great option to go to college, possibly become a cop, and try to make it onto a good SWAT team.

What are your educational aspirations with the military?  Or using the GI Bill/Post 911 Bill? 

My end of active service date is October 21st, 2011.  I intend on using my GI Bill to attend my local community college while I try to find either a job in security or executive protection.  If I cannot find a job in the two years it takes me to complete my associate’s degree, then I will apply to become a police officer and try out for a SWAT team as soon as possible.

What military books/movies/publications do you recommend? 

Well my personal favorites are 10 Days to Baghdad, Heartbreak Ridge, Black Hawk Down, and Tears of the Sun.  Other good movies include We Were Soldiers, The Pacific, and Band of Brothers.  I also highly recommend any documentaries on the military.  Ears Open, Eyeballs Click gives a pretty good insight on what to expect from USMC boot camp.  I have also seen documentaries on the Navy SEALs and Marine Survival Schools.

Best advice you’d give somebody considering the military? 

Like I said before, some of it is going to be tough, but there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.  Educate yourself, do whatever tasks need to be done, take everything day by day, never give up, and you’ll be sitting at home drinking beer before you know it.

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This entry was posted on Monday, September 26th, 2011 You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Eric Radwanski – USMC”

  1. Jeremy says:

    My brother was in the Marines for 6 years and his bgsegit regret was that he was unable to do any school. He deployed halfway through every single class he took I’m in the USAF, so I am prejudiced towards it, and can’t speak about the other branches.We offer a Tuition Assistance program that pays for $4500 annually in school. I’ve been going to school online, and fulltime since I joined 3 years ago and have finished an associates and am about half way through a bachelors. We also have many, many commissioning opportunities if thats what you want also.To reach the higher enlisted ranks you have to have certain degrees, and the same for officers. School is STRONGLY encouraged in order to get good marks on your annual ratings. The new GI Bill is beautiful too, no matter what service you’re in. Working fulltime and school fulltime will be hard no matter what branch you choose, but it sounds like you can handle it, esp if you’ve been working two jobs to stay afloat right now.Ignore the people that tout their service as better for suchandsuch reasons, unless those reasons are the ones that are motivating you to join the military. Its a sacrifice and a commitment that only you can make, and just be sure you’re doing it for reasons that satisfy you. Don’t do it because you want to be hooyah.