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San Diego’s Ultimate Marine Has A Guidebook For Recruits

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.


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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