Thursday, June 21, 2007

Rock star recruit drops instruments to pick up a rifle.

Pfc. Seth C. Allen, Platoon 1069, Company D, used his teaching skills to help several recruits within his platoon study for the practical examination test. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Carrie Booze

By Pfc. Carrie Booze
Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, June 20, 2007 — After years of touring with a rock band, one Company D recruit pursued his lifelong dream of joining America’s most elite fighting force.
Pfc. Seth C. Allen, Platoon 1069, graduated June 15 after following in his father’s footsteps to become one of the few and the proud.

At 28-years-old, Allen’s life was set. He had already earned his master’s degree in music composition from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and was living his dream playing the cello and electric bass in a rock group called The Josh Grider Band.

When Allen’s band was not touring across the South and performing with numerous well-known artists, he was teaching music theory at Waco Independent School District.

He seemed to have it all, yet he felt unfulfilled. He felt that he had something more to offer, and being a musician did not allow him to fully give back the freedoms he was given.

Allen “is extremely passionate about his music and is one of the most talented musicians I know,” said his father, Robert. “But I take pride in him wanting to follow in my footsteps, and I am very supportive of his decision in becoming a Marine.”

Aside from music, Allen was always interested in world affairs, his father added. He said the current war has affected Allen immensely and his son wanted to do his part in fighting for America.

“I love playing music, but I also love my freedom to play music,” said Allen. “Music can impact people, but if they don’t have the freedom to listen to it, then what I did as a musician was meaningless.”

Wanting to defend his country and emulate his father, Allen went to the Waco recruiting station and signed his enlistment contract without hesitation.

The following spring, Allen was on the yellow footprints, eager to begin his transformation. He endured three months of strenuous training and had to be treated for a reopened surgical wound on his tailbone from a previous injury, limiting his physical activity.

“Even though he was injured he never wanted to go to medical and be held back from training,” said Gunnery Sgt. Brian R. Papakie, senior drill instructor for Platoon 1069. “He was generally concerned with staying up to speed with the younger recruits, so he put in full effort and did well.”

With his physical abilities restricted, Allen turned to his mental strength to help motivate his fellow recruits.

During the first phase Allen was reserved, but in the second phase he came out of his shell and took on the responsibility of knowledge recruit — a recruit who assists drill instructors prepare other recruits for the final examination at the end of boot camp, said Papakie.

Allen was able to spout off questions and answers for the practical examination during the hikes to familiarize the recruits with the material they would see on the test.

“Allen was a very intelligent recruit,” said Papakie. “He used his experiences as a teacher and tried to go above and beyond to help the other recruits by conducting study sessions.”

Allen’s father said Allen has always been a studious individual, and is constantly striving to better himself.

The young Marine has future aspirations of attending Officer Candidate School to become an intelligence officer for an aviation squadron and lead Marines in the fight. Having already conquered the music industry, Allen plans to put music on the back burner while he pursues his military career.

After ten days of leave, Allen will return to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., to attend Marine Combat Training at the School of Infantry. After that, he will train to become a supply accountant.

Allen said he is excited to have earned the eagle, globe and anchor and he cannot wait to be a part of something bigger than himself. He looks forward to joining the ranks of thousands of warriors who have also earned the title Marine.


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