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Wesson Marine graduates Parris Island with honors

Pfc. Jason B. Alexander not only survived Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island, he thrived.

Alexander, a Wesson native, left for boot camp in South Carolina in October to endure 13 weeks of training. He graduated with honors recently.

Pfc. Jason Alexander

Pfc. Jason Alexander

Throughout boot camp, recruits receive a score for each part of training, including the physical fitness test, combat fitness test, rifle range test, leadership skills, personal interview and proficiency and conduct marks. Each of these individual scores are accumulated to determine the honor graduate of the group. Alexander was dubbed the honor graduate for Platoon 2005, Fox Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion.

The biggest adjustment during boot camp was not knowing what was going on in the outside world, Alexander said.

“Being away from everybody was an adjustment,” he said. “You are completely cut off from civilization, and you only know what they decide to tell you.”

Alexander said he prepared for boot camp by training at the gym for months, in hopes of being physically prepared.

“I think I was prepared physically, but not mentally,” Alexander said. “It is impossible to prepare mentally.”

Some of the training concepts can be similar to that in movies, Alexander said.

“They can’t beat you like you see in the movies, but you are disciplined,” he said. “We do crawl through the mud, run and carry a brother on our back though. The hardest part of training was the crucible.”

The crucible is a 54 hour-long event, where recruits are allowed six hours of sleep and three to four MREs, or meals ready to eat, he said.

“It is hard to describe the boot camp experience because it is different for everyone,” Alexander said. “But, we do go through it as brothers and sisters.”

Alexander said he feels as if his calling was to become a Marine.

“I always wanted to join the military, and the Marine Corps are the best,” Alexander said. “They are the smallest force and the first to go fight. They are held to the highest standard, and I figured if I was going to do this, I was going to pick the best one.”

Alexander will return to Camp Geiger, North Carolina, after his 17-day leave. He will train for 59 days in the school of infantry, where he will study weapon training and infantry tactics. From there, Alexander could be stationed in North Carolina, California, Japan, Hawaii or on a boat.

“Joining was probably the best decision I ever made,” Alexander said. “I encourage anyone thinking about doing it to do it.”