TROY — The Miami Valley Young Marines program has opened a new unit in Troy, and are interested in new recruits.
An open house, hosted by AMVETS Post 88 in Troy, was held on Wednesday. It was open to any Miami Valley area youth, accompanied by a parent or guardian, who was interested in the programs.
Attendants had the opportunity to observe drill activity by Young Marine recruits and receive interactive briefing with Miami Valley Young Marines leaders about the program.
The Young Marines is a national organization that has operated since 1959, under the sponsorship of the United States Marine Corps and the Marine Corps League. Boys and girls, age 8 through high school seniors, are eligible for membership. Recruits are expected to have demonstrated enthusiasm for a positive lifestyle before being accepted.
Each unit is led by an adult volunteer staff. Many of these volunteers are former, retired, active duty, or reserve Marines who are passionate about the positive effect of the Marines on each recruit’s life.
The Post 88 unit is new to the area, having just branched off of the unit in Huber Heights.
“We started here just before the winter break,” said unit director J. Keagan Miller, formerly a Marine policeman from 2000 to 2006. “We’re trying to get settled here and we’re still growing. Usually at open houses, we like to share what the group is all about, and explain to the parents what it is. We teach leadership, teamwork, and discipline.”
Upon joining, each youth undergoes a 13-week orientation program. In their training, Young Marine recruits learn general military subjects, such as U.S. history, close order drill, physical fitness, customs and courtesies, and military rank structure. Young Marine recruits are also taught on positive citizenship values, the pursuit of community service, and structured Drug Demand Reduction (DDR) education.
“The program includes a lot of anti-drug awareness,” Miller said. “We work with the DEA and Sheriff’s Department on that. Last year, the group won the Fulcrum Shield Award form the Department of Defense, so they had to go to the Pentagon to receive it.”
The program’s primary objective is to instill in each recruit the desire to become a lifelong, productive, and contributing citizen in the community, as well as motivation for recruits to seek advanced education.
Miller is hopeful that Troy and the rest of the county will help the Troy platoon to grow and develop in the coming months.
“We start our recruit training on Wednesday, Feb. 14,” Miller said.” We’re hoping to get some contacts in this area, and meet some kids who are interested in joining us. Everything about it has been rewarding. It’s improved my leadership ability as an adult volunteer just as much as I can teach to the kids.”
The Miami Valley Young Marines meet every other Wednesday at its two platoons in Troy and Huber Heights.
For more information, visit www.miamivalleyyoungmarines.com.