DVIDS – News – Passing on the legacy
(History of the United States Marine Corps by Cpl. Ryan Hageali
Lt. Col. Michael Rock joined the Marine Corps in peacetime, and then the deadliest attack in U.S. history occurred. Twenty years later, he is tasked with building Marines, most of whom were not even alive during the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Rock grew up in Barton, Vermont. His father was a Marine and his brother served in the Navy. At first, Rock was not interested in military service. After graduating from high school, he enrolled at Coastal Carolina University.
“I was passionate about sport; I was going to become an athlete, go to school and figure out what I was going to do with my life, ”said Rock. “I don’t remember which class I was in, but the teacher was going around the world saying, ‘What are you going to do, what are you going to do when you graduate? »It just hit me [that I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I graduated] but i think i might want to try something different.
Rock spoke to an Officer Selection Officer and joined the Marine Corps in 2000. After completing Officer Candidate School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., He took follow-up courses. to become a communications officer.
Everything would soon change for Rock. On September 11, 2001, the world came to a standstill as approximately 3,000 people were killed in terrorist attacks against the United States.
“I started getting frantic phone calls from my wife saying, ‘You have to turn on the news, you won’t believe what’s going on,'” said Rock. “The thought that something like this could happen in the United States, I think that’s been the hardest part. You see things like that, you see things happening in other countries and you think they will never happen here, so ‘bam’ it does.
Rock, who joined hoping for peace, now knew he was going to war.
“I felt like everything I was about to do was going to be something different, I knew it was going to be important,” said Rock. “It didn’t change my decision at all, it wasn’t going to be something that was going to be a short-term thing. It was going to be a long fight. “
Two years later, in 2003, Rock was stationed at Camp Pendleton with the 1st Marine Division as the radio platoon commander. Soon he was deployed to Kuwait and crossed the Iraqi border during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“We were getting ready, and then we finally got the call that we were actually going to cross the border,” Rock said. “I can’t really describe going through some of these things. You see movies, you see this stuff happening and now I’m living it. “
After Rock returned to the United States, he became an instructor at the School of Communication in Quantico, Virginia. Years later, in 2009, Rock would also be deployed to Afghanistan. Rock said an incident with an Afghan National Army soldier occurred and one of their Marines was killed.
“Afghanistan was a little different time,” Rock said. “We had a blue-on-green incident. It was very difficult to know what was going on.
Rock said with each new experience, good or bad, he became more informed. He returned from Afghanistan filling out any ticket the Marine Corps asked him to. In June 2021, Rock was sent to Parris Island to become the commander of the 1st Recruit Training Battalion.
Rock, now in charge of an entire Marine and Recruit Battalion, oversees the training and transformation process. Rock said the United States is not in a time of war, but on Parris Island the Marines and recruits are preparing like this.
“Part of being a Marine is training and preparing for the next fight,” said Rock. “The drill instructors in charge of these recruits have been there, their experiences make the training better than ever. While graduating Marines may not go to a combat deployment right away, they are prepared to do so.
|Date posted:||22.11.2021 14:57|
|Site:||PARRIS ISLAND, South Carolina, United States|
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