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San Diego’s Ultimate Marine Has A Guidebook For Recruits

Evening Edition

Retired Gunnery Sergeant Nick Popaditch, a 20-year veteran of the Marine Corps and author of "The Ultimate Marine Recruit Training Guidebook," talks to KPBS about what it takes to be a Marine.

Aired 1/22/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Nick Popaditch, 20 year Marine veteran, author of The Ultimate Marine Recruit Training Guidebook.


"The Ultimate Marine Recruit Training Guidebook" by Retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant Nick Popaditch

Last week, a young man was arrested after he bolted from the Marine Corp Recruit Depot and ran across the tarmac at Lindberg Field.

The San Diego Harbor Police told reporters the young recruit was not the first to run from MCRD to "get away from boot camp." It seems not everyone is cut out to be a U.S. Marine.

Now, young men and women considering whether they have what it takes to be a Marine have a new resource. It's "The Ultimate Marine Recruit Training Guidebook," and it's written by a local Marine and veteran of the Iraq War: Retired Gunnery Sergeant Nick Popaditch.

Popaditch told KPBS he wished everyone had this book when he enlisted.

"Going back to my own experience as a recruit, the things you think you need to know showing up are not at all what you need to know," he said.

For example, he said, recruits need to know that everything that happens to them in training happens for a reason.

"It's to make you better, it's to build courage, honor, commitment, it's to build character, to build these building blocks of leadership," he said.

He added that civilians can learn everything from Marines "because we are the best thinkers in the world."

Popaditch joined the Marines at age 18, left after the Gulf War and then rejoined for another 10 years. He lost his eye after being shot in a battle in Fallujah.

Claire Trageser contributed to this report.

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Avatar for user 'philosopher3000'

philosopher3000 | January 22, 2013 at 10:56 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

Even if you can't teach character, integrity, courage, these things can be learned. Life is usually the best teacher, but we don't let Marines have a life. We induct children, because they are easy to brain-wash. If the Marines REALLY wanted people with CHARACTER, they would only draft adults of at least 25 years of age, preferably College Graduates. If the MARINES were really our 'best and brightest' they wouldn't be so often involved in crime and scandal. I've known hundreds of Marines, they have reflected the civilian population in the full spectrum of their ability, flaws, and characters, but they tend to be immature, uneducated about much of the world, and traumatized by their military experience. Yes, they are driven, they are intense, and they need structure in their lives, but perhaps if we only hired adults to do our killing we would do less of it.

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Avatar for user 'SavasBeatie'

SavasBeatie | January 25, 2013 at 9:56 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

Thank you for mentioning our book, The Ultimate Marine Recruit Training Guidebook. If you would like more information about the book, including an excerpt, or its author, please check at
Savas Beatie LLC
Publisher of Historical Titles of Distinction

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