The journey to becoming a United States Marine is a path of physical endurance, mental toughness, and unwavering commitment. On January 13th, 2024, the Stay Safe Foundation, in partnership with USMC recruiters from New Jersey, hosted another one of their inspiring Poolee Function at Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, NJ. This event, a cornerstone of the foundation’s collaboration with the Marine Corps recruiters of Northern New Jersey, was not just a preparatory session for the 58 poolees in attendance but also a testament to the enduring spirit of service and community.
What is a USMC Poolee?
Before delving into the event’s details, it’s essential to understand who these attendees, known as ‘poolees,’ are. A USMC poolee is an individual who has enlisted in the Marine Corps but has yet to begin their formal training at boot camp. They are part of the Delayed Entry Program, which allows them to prepare both physically and mentally for the challenges ahead. These functions serve as a crucial bridge between civilian life and the disciplined world of the Marine Corps.
The Event: A Bootcamp-Like Experience
The Poolee Function at Picatinny Arsenal was designed to mirror the intensity and rigor of Marine Corps boot camp. The day was filled with grueling physical activities, marches, cadence runs, close order drills, and team-building exercises. These activities are not just about physical fitness; they are crafted to instill the core values of the Marine Corps: honor, courage, and commitment.
Instructors: Sharing Wisdom and Experience
The event was led by two distinguished instructors: Stay Safe Foundation founder Eric Basek, a former law enforcement officer and current officer in the USCG reserve, and former Army Captain Lloyd Briggery, a tank commander who served in Ramadi during the Iraq war. Their experiences in military and law enforcement roles brought invaluable insights and real-life lessons to the poolees.
For the recruits, these functions are more than just a physical test; they are a window into the life of a Marine. Through these exercises, poolees learn about leadership, teamwork, and the importance of mental resilience. They get a taste of the discipline and structure that define military life, preparing them not just for boot camp but for their future roles as Marines.
Mental Health Benefits
The Poolee Function also serves a dual purpose. For the instructors, leading these events is a way to reconnect with their military roots and give back to the community. This act of service is profoundly cathartic, especially for those who have transitioned from active duty. It provides them with a sense of purpose and helps in coping with the challenges associated with separation from service. Engaging with young recruits and sharing their experiences is not just fulfilling; it’s a powerful tool for their own mental health.
A Cycle of Support and Strength
The Stay Safe Foundation’s Poolee Function is more than an event; it’s a cycle of support, learning, and growth. It prepares future Marines for the challenges ahead while providing a platform for veterans and former service members to contribute positively to the lives of these young recruits. As the poolees left Picatinny Arsenal, they carried with them lessons in leadership, resilience, and the unbreakable spirit of the Marine Corps, ready to embark on their journey of service and sacrifice.