The adventure begins: Bedding down for the evening in Raleigh

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Editor’s note: David Freeze of Rowan County and several educators are spending several days at Parris Island for a hands-on introduction to Marine boot camp.

So far, I don’t have much that is exciting on the first day. Richard Taylor was picked up first at West Rowan High, then he and Salisbury’s Marine Corps Recruiter, Sgt. Roberts, came by to get me. We made a very circuitous trip to Raleigh, acquiring Mt. Pleasant High School Asst. Principal Larry Sullivan along the way. We finally arrived in Raleigh at the Doubletree Hotel.
First up was to find my roommate, who just happened to be Ken Wilson from West Guilford High School. Ken is a former football player at Western Carolina, which is also my first college attended.
We met Sgt. Henderson from Raleigh who had been my point of contact while getting approved for this trip. Sgt. Henderson gave out name badges and arranged for our evening meal. Things started off well when I noticed a $25 limit on the coupon.
So far, we know that the bus at the hotel will be here for us to load our luggage at 5:20 a.m., but we can get breakfast while we are loading. We will be rolling toward Parris Island, SC, by a little after 6.
Sgt. Henderson also said we would spend some time on the base tomorrow afternoon, then have a welcome dinner. So far, we know there are about 20 people in our group. My quick glance at name tags showed about 7 women, including one that I had already met.
I also know I will be allowed to take photos of anything and everything, except for the cockpit of the F/A-18 fighter jet. There will be an opportunity for me to interview actual recruits from our area.
On the ride to Raleigh, I spent quite a bit of time familiarizing myself with the traditions at Parris Island. I am sure it is an amazing place, and will share everything that happens to us.
The weather is supposed to get worse during the week, but we have a nice day on tap for tomorrow. One of the recruiters told us to be on the lookout for sand fleas, and to be glad the bird-sized mosquitoes will not be out yet.
We have had a late dinner, now it’s time to get some sleep before a very early start tomorrow. U.S. Marines are taking very good care of us so far.