It’s 13 full weeks of grueling physical and mental endurance, the ultimate test each person must pass before their Marine journey begins.
Arcadia High graduate Dallas Swartfiguer hopes he made his family and community proud by graduating from Marine Corps Boot Camp.
Dallas first expressed an interest in the Marines when he was 14, after hearing from a Marine recruiter who visited Arcadia High.
His grandma, Diane Pattengill-Ronan, said she remembers the day Dallas first shared his interest in military service and acknowledges how far he’s come since then.
“Dallas said to me with eyes wide open, ‘Grandma, I really liked it,” Diane recalled. “When he went off to boot camp, I never realized what it would take to become a Marine. It was difficult for me since we could not talk on the phone or over the internet, and we could only communicate the old fashion way with letters.”
Diane said she got goosebumps after seeing a video where Dallas finished the “Crucible,” a 54-hour test of endurance. Dallas covered 48 miles carrying 45 pounds on his back, including his rifle and four ready-to-eat meals, all while running on minimal sleep.
His mom, Jenny, shared the sentiment and said that while she once thought he would go to school for engineering, it’s awesome how dedicated he is to his military dreams.
“Second to giving birth to my children, watching Dallas go through Marine Boot Camp and graduate is the most amazing thing that I have experienced as a mother,” Jenny said. “The courage, discipline, and dedication he puts forth is so incredible and beyond anything I have ever done.”
According to the family, Dallas grew up playing video games and Legos and showed some interest in the military. They believe he’s found a perfect match in the Marines.
“My hope for Dallas is to follow through with four years of service, and if he wants to continue serving, I would fully support that,” Jenny said. “If he decides to return to the civilian side, I hope he takes what he has learned and applies it toward furthering his education and career. Dallas has so many incredible opportunities.”
Dallas said he decided to become a Marine because he wanted to challenge himself.
“The Marines are the best of the best,” Dallas said. “Boot camp is all mental, and it’s a learning curve. My favorite part was the assault courses, and my least favorite part was the feeling of not knowing what was going to happen next.”
Dallas is thankful he met the recruiter at Arcadia, who inspired him to take this path and keep growing and learning as he works toward his goals.
“I want to finish job school and get a good foothold within the fleet,” Dallas said. “For the far future, I want to put in my full 20 years and then retire.”
While Dallas dedicates himself to serving his country, he also wants to support other students interested in this military path. His advice for those thinking about joining: don’t hesitate.
“Get into contact with a recruiter as soon as possible. Make smart decisions, really consider your options, and have an open mind,” he said.