1) Andrew Lee: Andrew was Platoon 3086's top graduate. Even though this list isn't in sequential order, he is my number one. His characteristics throughout the book are exemplirary. He demonstrates courage, leadership, and commitment. I admire his leadership the most because he inspires the less apt recruits to do better. So focus on how Lee develops and how important he is to this book.
2) Sgt. Carey: Sergerant Carey is one of those people that you fear, but look up to all at the same time. He does better that all the recruits in the final phyitness test, at the age of 35, and was in Force Recon (the equivalent of Special Forces for the Marines). He is an idol to the recruits and many even after they graduate strive to be like him.
3) Parris Island: Parris Island is the perfect setting for this book. The atomsphere of it is what makes the training experience such a fun part to read. The dense forests that cover the north eastern shore to the dismal swamps that spread out across the open field in the middle. It has a huge effect on the recruits as they enter their first week of training. It really forces them into the new attitude of a Marine right away.
4) The First Transformation: This meant a lot to me. The first 'awakening' is the biggest change for the recruits. The Marines actually design it to be that way. They want it to be a realization for the recruits so they can drop their civilian lives and develop new views on everything. Including the way they address themselves. Instead of saying 'I' they had to say, 'this recruit.'
5) Buijis: He is the definition of an 'underdog.' When he started training, he was falling below the standards and was having trouble, but that changed when he had a self-realization. During week eight or 'warrior week', he stepped up and knocked out three straight opponents in the pugil stick fight. When you read, focus on him and how the Marine view on things made him into a new person.
6) Night Training: This event also occured during warrior week. It was the first 'true test' according to the drills instructors. The recruits were divided into squads and sent out on patrols in the pitch black of night with no rules of engagement except to eliminate anyone you see. Armed with 'paintballs on steroids', each squad was left on their own, really testing their wit and combat sense.
7) Graduation: This was a great sense of accomplishment for all who graduated. The now Marines are allowed to see their family and friends for the first time in eleven weeks and realized what they had just gone through and what they had done. It is a moment that they will always remember, and I use it as motivation for other things too.
8) Epilogue: The epoilogue is also very powerful. It describes what each member does in the Marines and what they continue to do afterward. Some don't make it in the Marines, some do, and some are deployed to Iraq and Iran (like Andrew Lee). It makes you realize why each person voluteers, not for the self improvement, but the commitment to country.
9) Commitment: It is a reoccuring motif throughout the book. Each and every member demonstrates commitment every second they are on Parris Island. The meaning strikes home to me at least and pushes me farther, similar to how it motivates the actual recruits in boot camp.
10) Quote: "Marines you are, and Marines you always will be" (216). I think this quote should be on the cover of the book for sure. I talked about it in one of my previoius blogs, how it has that movie-motivation quality to it. Catchy and true, it inspires the recruits and others who read it, including me. That's why I'm telling others to think about its significance as they come across it.