Throughout the years, military enlistment numbers rise and fall, some schools are better known for putting up higher numbers, but over the next 10 months, Floral Park will see eight of its residents ship off to boot camp and begin their career enlistments as United States Marines.
U.S. Marine Corps Recruiter Sergeant Victor Altamirano, in Hempstead, told the Floral Park Dispatch that this is a solid group of candidates. He says he has seen each of their transformations already. “From the day each of the Floral Park candidates has first walked through our doors in Hempstead until now, there has been a noticeable difference in the way they conduct themselves.” Altamirano said this group of Floral Park candidates works really well together, many of them were friends before committing to join the Marine Corps.
U.S. Marine Corps Recruiter Sergeant Loc Lee added, “Respect is earned, not given; each of these candidates knows that they have to begin acting like a Marine even before they get to boot camp.”
In addition to building camaraderie with each other, it is important for many of the candidates to establish a support system among their family and friends at home for the months of training that follow their first day at boot camp. The separation from home is never easy, whether it is for boot camp training or an actual deployment overseas.
The Floral Park candidates shared ideas for good community support projects with the students of the Support Our Troops Club at Stewart Manor Elementary School.
For months, the seven students of the Support Our Troops Club, under the guidance of Ms. McLees, have prepared greeting cards, posters, and care packages for Troops stationed overseas. They shared ideas for other good ways to support Troops. The club members also learned from Altamirano and Lee about how comforting it was to receive cards and care packages from clubs and organizations, while they were recently stationed overseas.
The club members were able to practice their mission during their visit from the candidates and recruiters, offering mini-donuts; it was Sergeant Altamirano’s birthday on the day of the visit. Altamirano’s wife, also in the Marine Corps, is stationed in California with their two-year-old daughter.
About the Floral Park Eight
Frederick Bailey will be a first-generation Marine.
“I joined the Marines because I want to serve my country and travel,” said Bailey. He hopes to see Japan and France while he serves.
Bailey is a senior at Sewanhaka High School. He ships to boot camp on July 21 and plans to study aviation mechanics.
Samantha Pages has wanted to join the Marine Corps since she was a little girl. “My brother inspired me to join,” Pages said. He is actively serving in the Marine Corps as an electrician in California.
She attended Floral Park-Bellerose Elementary School and is a Floral Park Memorial High School senior. Pages plans to pursue a career in combat photography. She ships to boot camp on Aug. 25.
Adam Turner will be a first-generation Marine. “I love this country and I want to help in any way that I can,” said Turner. “The Marine Corps is the best.”
He attended Floral Park-Bellerose Elementary School and is a Floral Park Memorial High School senior. Turner ships to boot camp on July 7.
Milissa McPherson will be the second in her family to join the Marines. Her older cousin is finishing an enlistment soon.
“I am joining for the discipline,” said McPherson. She plans to transfer to the Reserves after her boot camp training. She is scheduled to commit to the Marine Corps next week, but does not have a ship date for boot camp yet. McPherson is a senior at Floral Park Memorial High School.
Sean Phelan will be a first-generation Marine. “At first, my dad didn’t take me seriously, but now he knows it’s real,” said Phelan. “I have my family’s support.” He attended Floral Park-Bellerose Elementary School and is a Floral Park Memorial High School senior. Phelan ships to boot camp on July 21.
Michael DeLeon will be a first-generation Marine. “My parents were a little shaken about it, but after we spoke with the recruiters they have become more used to the idea,” said DeLeon.
He attended Floral Park-Bellerose Elementary School and is a Floral Park Memorial High School senior. DeLeon’s ship date for boot camp is on July 21.
Kierston Turner will be a second-generation Marine. His father is a Marine who served in the first Gulf War in computer repair. “Marines are the best of the best,” said Turner. “The best way to defend our country is to join the brotherhood.”
He attended Floral Park-Bellerose Elementary School and is a Floral Park Memorial High School senior. Turner plans to pursue a career in infantry or communications. His ship date for boot camp is Nov. 17.
Jameel Takelal will be the fourth person in his family to serve as a Marine. His stepfather and two uncles have served in the Marine Corps. Takelal said,”It’s respected and honorable in our family.” He plans to pursue vehicle mechanics.
Takelal attended P.S. 34 in Queens and is a senior at Floral Park Memorial High School. His ship date to boot camp is Sept. 2.