Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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 The Globe-Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Friday, February 12, 2016

Reporting for duty: Mason City activities director learns about Marines
by Ashley Miller

MASON CITY — A Mason City High School administrator knows first-hand what it’s like to become a Marine.

As a drill instructor barked orders, Bob Kenny hurried off the bus to stand alongside other Midwestern educators on the infamous yellow footprints at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California, last spring.

Kenny, 7-12 activities director and associate high school principal, was participating in the 2015 Marine Corps Educators Workshop. The five-day, expenses-paid event offers Iowa and Nebraska teachers an inside look on the military branch, often side by side with new recruits.

“When you’re first brought in, they (Marines) scare the hoot out of you,” he said. “There was no talking, no smiling — you’d better be right on those yellow footprints, too.”

Simulating some of what a recruit would go through in boot camp, Kenny completed obstacle courses and a combat fitness test and learned to shoot a service rifle.

Along with those challenges came sweat and sore muscles.

Kenny had no sooner started a course at Camp Pendleton one morning when a Marine informed him he was “dead” for stepping somewhere he shouldn’t have. As retribution, he had to run 80 yards carrying two ammunition boxes filled with sand.

After another misstep, he had to repeat his run a second time.

"I was really careful after that,” he said.

Another test required him to wear full gear and carry a replica weapon as he ran as quickly as possible from designated points, jumped into a pit and stabbed a tire.

“I thought I was in pretty decent shape, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to finish,” he said.

In addition to physical testing, educators tour a military museum, see swim and martial arts demos and interact with recruits and other senior Marines.

Now he’s able to share his experience with Mason City students, who may be interested in joining the military.

“I would have no reservations about the Marine Corps or any other branch of service,” he said. “They take care of our kids and teach them the right ways to behave — respecting themselves and others.”

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, March of 2016

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