Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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 The Globe-Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Thursday, November 10, 2013

Rockford man chooses Marines for its challenges, brotherhood
by Ashley Miller

MASON CITY Enlisting in the Marine Corps has given an 18-year-old Rockford man a sense of achievement.

"I never felt like I had accomplished much in life," Pfc. Wyatt Paulus said.

The Marines, he said, offered him the biggest challenge but also the strongest brotherhood.

He was part of the brotherhood as a color guard member during the branch's 241th birthday celebration in Mason City earlier this month. Wearing crisp dress blues, he appeared smooth and confident as he participated in the event hosted by the North Iowa Detachment No. 859 Marine Corps League.

Paulus, who returned to Camp Pendleton this week for Marine Combat Training, was home on leave after completing 13 weeks of boot camp Oct. 28.

While he said local recruiter Sgt. Jeremy Spaunhorst prepared him well physically, nothing could ready him for the mental challenges.

"I first thought, 'What have I gotten myself into?'" he said, recalling when his bus pulled up for receiving at the Recruit Depot in San Diego. "My second thought was, 'What comes next?'

"There were times I thoght I couldn't get through it but I thought about receiving my EGA on the hill," Paulus said. "It's a sense of pride and accomplishment like no other."

He was referring to earning his Eagle, Globe and Anchor, the official insignia of the Marine Corps. Recruits earn it and the title of "Marine" in the hills of Camp Pendleton after completing the 54-hour Crucible, the final test of boot camp. It is a combat training exercise involving limited food and sleep, hauling 45 pounds of gear over nearly 50 miles and relying on others during obstacles and team-building courses.

Now that boot camp is behind him, Paulus will soon train in his military occupational specialty -- a technician for light armor vehicles. He will eventually be headed to Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

During service in the Marines, which Paulus hopes to make a lifetime career, he plans to study engineering in college and attend officer training.

"I want to be an engineer of sorts," he said. "I like to fix things."

Photograph courtesy of Globe-Gazette
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, November of 2016



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