To become a United States Marine, you must abide by the core values of honour, courage, and commitment and for some, faith in God underlies those values.
CBN News traveled to a South Carolina boot camp for new Marines to learn about the role of faith in this elite fighting force.
Jacob Watson points to his Christian faith for helping him stay the grueling training.
“Without a doubt, the only way I believe I got through this was faith in Christ because a bunch of the stuff was kind of scary and intimidating, but faith gets you a long ways,” he stressed.
“Throughout boot camp, I read my Bible and prayed which seemed to help me a lot,” said Taylor Warden
“I remember thinking, ‘Maybe I can’t go through this?’ But I remember just thinking, ‘Well, if I have come this far, then God can definitely get me through the rest of it,'” Bernadette Pacheco shared.
Tyler Crawford explained: “We went to church, and I was praying to the Lord at night, and I was asking for some words of encouragement, and that next day, I got three songs back to back saying ‘You’re an overcomer; you’re in the fight ’til the final round’.”
“So I fought all the way throughout boot camp,” he added.
Nine chaplains on duty at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot ensure that every member has the right to practice his or her faith and is free of discrimination.
Dawn Ashley told CBN News: “I care for them, a lot of times through counseling ’cause it’s boot camp, and they’re stressed a lot – a lot of depression, a lot of anxiety, so we care for them pastorally also.”
Chaplain Ian Clark shared a hope-filled response from a recruit:
“She said, ‘I wrote this down when you said it, and I meditate on it; I pull it out when I’m having a hard time. I pull it out when things feel like they’re really closing on me, and it gives me a sense of hope.'”
Chaplain Camea Baksh found that spirituality plays an important part for Marines.
“For those who are Christians, we’ve really seen how they have received breakthrough from all of their past challenges, breakthrough while they’re here, and we see them really evolve to their higher level of self through Christ Jesus,” she explained.
Chaplain Byron Johnson observed: “A lot of times they run away from their faith; they get here, and they think they can do it on their own, and they quickly understand that they can’t do it on their own.”
“They need God; they need that connection with God, and so a lot of them come back to their faith while they’re here,” he continued.
Drill instructor Evelyn Espinal says: “Jesus means everything to me. It was a very, very, very emotional time for me. I don’t cry often, but when it comes to God and Jesus, I bawl my eyes out, and I really needed that; I needed that strength to push through ’cause I was struggling.”
Captain Stephen Sigmon hopes how he lives his Christian faith will be seen and possibly inspire fellow Marines.
“Hopefully, letting some form of Christ in me manifest itself to be able to have an example that maybe I’m making an impact on one person in each unit that I go to,” he vowed.
Allowing his faith to make an impact is an action Captain Sigmon describes as fulfilling God’s calling to be the change or light in the world.