MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- "The relation between officers and enlisted men should in no sense be that of superior and inferior nor that of master and servant, but rather that of teacher and scholar. In fact, it should partake of the nature of the relation between father and son, to the extent that officers, especially commanding officers, are responsible for the physical, mental and more moral welfare, as well as the discipline and military training of the young men under their command who are serving the nation in the Marine Corps."
- MajGen. John A. Lejeune
Times change and although the spirit of Gen. Lejeune's words still rings true in the Corps, the verbiage itself may not be entirely accurate. In one case aboard the Combat Center, the relationship between officer and enlisted is that between mother and daughter.
When PFC Laura Roost reported to the Marine Corps Communications and Electronics school for training, she was embarking on an experience different from that of many young Marines at their formal schools. Instead of being alone and unsupervised for the first time during her Marine Corps career, she was entering the domain of another Marine she knows well - her mother.
For Capt. Kathleen Hoard, officer in charge, Combat Visual Information Center, MAGTF TC, watching Roost make the transition from adolescent to Marine has been especially interesting.
"I knew [boot camp] was tougher than when I went," said the "mustang," who enlisted in 1980 and made her way through the enlisted and warrant officer ranks to become a limited duty officer.
"I told her to join the Air Force," she added with a laugh.
Hoard had doubts about her daughter's ability to make it through boot camp, but for Roost, those doubts just made her more determined.
"Since I was little, I decided if I was going to do something crazy like join the military... I would join the Marine Corps," explained Roost. "Mostly it was a challenge, and I wanted to prove myself to everybody."
Hoard isn't sure whether, after swearing her daughter in and sending her off to stand on the yellow footprints, she had it better or worse than most parents of Marine recruits. Though some mothers and fathers may worry because they're not sure what's happening to their "baby" at Parris Island, Hoard knew very well the physical and mental challenges Roost would face.
Like most recruits, though, Roost buckled down and made it through. "It was a challenge - there was more to it than I thought there would be," said Roost. "I almost forgot about having to do Marine Combat Training, trying to get through boot camp."
Seeing her daughter receive her Eagle, Globe and Anchor after the Crucible was a special moment for Hoard.
"I was so proud when we went to the Crucible," enthused Hoard. She claims to not have been able to pick her daughter out of her platoon, so dramatic were the changes recruit training had wrought. The government-issue glasses didn't help, either, the captain added.
Although her mother knew since leaving boot camp that she wanted to make the Corps a career, Roost isn't looking too far down the road yet.
"As of right now, I think I'd just like to do four," the "D." Co. student said. She is scheduled to graduate March 16 and report to Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar.
While Roost was aboard the Combat Center, Hoard was able to promote her to her current rank. Her mother's ability to be involved with her swearing-in and promotion has made those moments more special, according to Roost.
"Those things aren't as generic," the young warrior explained. "They're more meaningful." As for Hoard, watching Roost become a Marine has changed her perception of her little girl.
"I have more confidence in her now," the captain said proudly, "I know she can accomplish things on her own."
It may not have been what MajGen. Lejeune had envisioned, but the mother-daughter relationship that exists between Hoard and Roost is not just an example of the way Marine Corps leadership should strive to be, but of the traditions and passing of knowledge the Corps holds so dear.