Hawaii, a place synonymous with relaxation and laid-back attitudes, is also known for its proud history of warrior heritage. Continuing in this lineage is Lance Cpl. Nicholas K. Guard.
One of the Corps� newest Marines, Guard, a 2005 Kamehameha Schools Graduate, has done what very few have accomplished. By distinguishing himself as a Marine who exemplifies all those things Marines hold dear, he earned the right to be the First Recruit Training Battalion, A Company Honor Graduate.
While many of his fellow Marines who graduated from Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Dec. 1 are privates or privates first class, he is one of the few to graduate as a lance corporal.
To be named the company honor man is a mark of distinction bestowed upon only a few.
One Marine out of the 450-550 in the company will be named the company honor man.
Not only did Guard earn company honor man, he also obtained the title Iron Man, which is awarded to the Marine with the highest physical fitness test score. Guard performed 27 pull-ups, 164 crunches in two minutes and ran three miles in 17:40. The Marine Corps only requires 20 pull-ups, 100 crunches in two minutes and an 18-minute three-mile for a perfect score.
Guard is now back home in Hawaii on recruiter�s assistance. While home he has had a chance to visit with family and friends who are extremely proud of him.
�I am the first Marine in my family,� said Guard a native of Kuliouou. �It meant a lot to them to see me graduate.�
Being back home after the intense, three-mont training has been an interesting experience for the 19-year-old Marine.
�Everything here is pretty much the same. The place is the same but I have changed,� said Guard. �My mentality, the way I carry myself and the way I look at things have all changed.�
While Guard�s mentality may have changed, his recruiter Sgt. Tobin Q. Teruya, Recruiting Sub Station Honolulu, had great expectations for him.
�At first I was surprised to see someone from Kamehameha Schools come out to join the Marine Corps, considering they push so hard for their students to attend college first,� said
Teruya. �Even so, with his attitude, I knew he would do well.�
Guard considers himself disciplined. Even before joining the Corps, he set strict guidelines for himself and said he always strived for success.
�I joined the Marine Corps for the sheer challenge,� said Guard. �It ended up being far more than that, though.�
Once Guard started training, he began to realize what makes the Corps one of the most elite fighting forces on the planet.
�It�s about the camaraderie and being a part of something greater than yourself,� he added.
According to Guard, the training he went through was exactly what he expected from the Marine Corps. Even so, he is looking for something more.
Guard�s next challenge will be the Marine Corps Reconnaissance Indoctrination Program.
He will leave Hawaii to attend the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton. After graduating from SOI he will come back to Hawaii and join the 4th Force Reconnaissance Company.
�I want to become a Recon Marine because I know it is one of the hardest programs the Marines have to offer,� said Guard. �I joined the most elite branch of service and now I want to be a part of the most elite unit.�
Guard has prepared himself mentally and physically for his future career. For him, this career will not be a short one, either.
�I believe the Marine Corps will be a part of my life for a long time to come,� said Guard.
Those who have had the chance to meet and work with Guard, like his recruiters, know that the Corps is better off with a Marine like Guard in its ranks.
�I know he will do well,� said Teruya. �It�s good for Hawaiians to have one of their own do so well. It shows them that they have the opportunity to do well and succeed in the Corps.�