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Old 11-17-2003, 06:00 AM
thedrifter thedrifter is offline
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Cool Drill instructor competes with Corps' finest

Drill instructor competes with Corps' finest
Submitted by: MCRD Parris Island
Story Identification Number: 20031113132926
Story by Cpl. Thomas Perry

MCRD/ERR PARRIS ISLAND, S.C.(Nov. 14, 2003) -- Staff Sgt. Christopher Clark, a drill instructor from India Company, 3rd RTBn., represented the Depot in the Drill Instructor of the Year board at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Oct. 27.

With an island in his corner and the confidence of company-, battalion- and regimental-level board victories on his side, Clark took on Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego's representative Staff Sgt. Terrence C. Whitcomb.

The annual competition is known Corps-wide to be fierce, and pits the top drill instructors against one another. Only one man can be named the Corps' top drill instructor, and this year, Whitcomb, and for all intensive purposes, San Diego narrowly defeated Clark and Parris Island.

Although Clark lost the final competition, being named the Depot's top drill instructor is no small accomplishment, and he has not lost the true focus of his demanding occupation.

"Our job is to produce the best basically trained Marines possible, and to help your fellow drill instructors along the way," said Clark, who continued to train his recruits throughout the board process.

The St. Albans, Vt., native is by no means a braggart. He sounded almost embarrassed when asked how he felt when he was named the Depot's top D.I.

"I was excited, honored and humbled," said Clark. "I was proud to represent, not only India Company, but also the entire recruit training process."

That process demands countless hours and unrelenting discipline of its facilitators - the drill instructors. They must make it through more than 90 days of blood, sweat and tears.

Then, after weeks, days or sometimes only hours of rest, they must begin the process again.

Clark, who became a drill instructor March 29, 2001, and has thrived throughout his tour as a drill instructor, believes one of his major keys to success is his top Devil Dog.

"It definitely helps when you have a supportive wife," said Clark, who is married to Staff Sgt. Brenda Clark, the company gunnery sergeant for Service Co., H&SBn. "I think it's very hard on a spouse. It takes a lot of understanding and balancing."

Clark's own ability to understand and balance his career goals has led him to his next big opportunity. He is currently working on a Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program package that will fulfill his quest to become a Marine Corps officer.

Before he becomes Lt. Clark, there is still a lot of work to be done on the drill field.

"Being a drill instructor has been my most personally and professionally rewarding time as a Marine," said Clark, who has been with India Co. since graduating Drill Instructor School.

The drill field often pits its own drill instructors against each other in competitive situations - series battle for honor platoon, accomplishing the top drill score and, once a year, individual drill instructors battle each other to become the Depot's representative in Quantico.

Clark has accepted the fact that competition plays a big role in drill instructor motivation, but his competitive drive comes from within.

"The biggest competition should be with yourself," said Clark. "You can never allow yourself to give up. Everyday is a new day, and it may be your last. You take what you learned the day before and apply it today."

On Oct. 27, Clark learned he was the second best drill instructor in the Marine Corps.

Yes, everyday is a new day ... but some days last forever.

?The biggest competition should be with yourself. You can never allow yourself to give up. You take what you learned the day before and apply it today.?
- Staff Sgt. Christopher Clark, the Depot?s 2003 Drill Instructor of the Year
Photo by: Special to The Boot


SSgt. Roger A.
One Proud Marine
Once A Marine............Always A Marine.............
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