A former Swedish Army Ranger graduated today with Company K to end his more than 10-month struggle to graduate basic training.
Lance Cpl. Peter Lang, 28, arrived at the depot in February, but was dropped to the Medical Rehabilitation Platoon after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament on training day 39 during field week with Company M.
Lang, who was raised in Norrkoping, Sweden, said he had a taste for the military way of life since he was young and had always wanted to be in the infantry because he loved being in the outdoors. Norrkoping had a population pf more than 125,000 and was famous for being industrial.
To follow his dream and break away from the normality on industry, he joined the Swedish Army Rangers, which is like their Army special forces, when he was 20- years-old, and after more than three years of service, Lang decided it was time to go to college.
He chose to attend Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu, where he obtained a bachelor�s degree with a major in diplomacy and military studies. Lang said he chose to go to college in an American school because he wanted to have a part of the American dream of high-quality education.
Lang had arrived in Hawaii exactly one month before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 took place.
The appalling events infuriated Americans across the country and he said he felt the same shock and disgust even though he wasn�t a native of the United States. Lang said he believed that if he could help the cause in the smallest way it might make a difference.
He obtained part of his inspiration to join from his family�s military history. His father was in the Swedish Navy and his grandfather was in what Lang said was the Swedish equivalent to the Marine Corps.
In Lang�s opinion, the Corps was the best way to go because Marines hold their members to higher expectations. He believed the higher expectations would give him a chance to challenge himself and have a sense of pride.
Lang said he believed basic training was one of the biggest challenges he had ever faced because of how tough it was mentally. He said one of the hardest things for him to do was to adopt the new way of life.
After spending some time as a Ranger in the Swedish Army, Lang said he knew the military occupational specialty he would choose when he joined the Marines would be the infantry. He said his experience as a ranger allowed him to be physically fit enough for the MOS and would help guarantee his success.
Lang credits all his drill instructors for his triumph over his injury and his graduation from training. He said the drill instructors of Co. M laid the foundation for him, and those in MRP kept him motivated and helped him maintain the discipline he needed. According to Lang, the drill instructors of Co. K were able to put it all together and got him where he is today.
Staff Sgt. Ernest Watson, who was Lang�s senior drill instructor in MRP, was in his last cycle of training with Co. M when Lang got dropped. He ended up becoming the senior drill instructor in MRP at the same time.
Lang�s decision to continue training when he could have just quit and gone home showed a great deal of commitment and honor, said Watson. He felt it was difficult to stay motivated for so long, but found a way he could work through his injury.
While Lang was in MRP, he kept his chin up and helped out as much as he could at the medical clinic. He earned the respect of the medical staff and the drill instructors he came across because of his positive attitude, said Watson.
Lang said he refused to fail then and he will continue fighting against any odds he faces in the Corps. Lang said he loves the sense of belonging he gets in the Marines and plans on becoming an officer.
�Lang was always motivated despite the odds that were against him,� said Watson. �The heart, hard work and determination he showed throughout his time on the depot are what got him through. It is what will take him from an outstanding recruit to an outstanding Marine.�