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Face of Defense: Third-generation Marine Continues Tradition

By Marine Corps Cpl. Pedro Cardenas
Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif., March 4, 2014 – For most recruits here, their arrival to recruit training is their first taste of the Marine Corps. But for some, it is a way of life passed on from generation to generation.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Corps Pfc. Lucas M. Polk climbs a hill as part of the Basilone’s Challenge event during The Crucible at Edson Range, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 19, 2014. Polk is a third-generation Marine. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Pedro Cardenas
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

A third-generation Marine, Pfc. Lucas M. Polk is continuing his family legacy. But before he enlisted, he said, his future was heading in a completely different direction.

Polk went to college briefly, majoring in communications. While in college, he decided to give the music world a try. He was part of two heavy metal bands: Damien Deadson and Surreal Spectrum. He toured the United States and released a CD with each band.

But the 22-year-old Tampa Bay, Fla., native said he was a different person then. He had long hair, he said, and sometimes dressed in dark clothes. The bands split, leaving Polk looking for a new line of work. He called his father, retired Marine Corps Maj. Morgan M. Polk, to seek advice.

His father told him that enlisting in the Marine Corps was one of the best decisions of his life, he said.

While attending his brother’s recruit training graduation in May, Polk recalled, Marines yelled the traditional “Ooh-rah!” in response to the senior drill instructors’ final dismissal. . That moment, he said, solidified his decision to become a Marine. “It was really inspiring,” he said. “I knew then that I would be back.”

While growing up, Polk lived at several Marine Corps stations, including Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., and overseas in Panama. He always had a good time being around Marines, he said, so becoming a Marine was second-nature.

“I always thought about the Marines, because I was raised by Marines,” he said. “I had discipline instilled in me and had a very structured childhood. I feel like I had an awesome childhood because of the Marine Corps.”

Polk said his grandfather, also a Marine, told him in his childhood he, too, would become one. Polk’s grandfather graduated from recruit training here in 1948. Polk also recalled wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan, “I’m not a kid; I am a future Marine.”

“My father always had camouflage paint, and when we were out in the woods, he would teach us how to shoot,” Polk said. “I knew the weapons safety rules since I was a kid. When I got here, I knew why my dad taught them to us.”

Polk’s father said he did not expect his son to enlist in the Marine Corps, but that he was especially happy when he did.

“I told him what my dad told me: ‘You don’t know what you are getting into. This will be an abrupt awakening,’” said the retired major, who began his career here in January 1982. “I didn’t influence him to become a Marine, but it fills me with a sense of pride.”

For Polk, the next step in his training is to attend the School of Infantry at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., to become a rifleman. He said he hopes to continue his education and possibly to become a commissioned officer like his father.

“I feel privileged to be able to continue my family tradition,” he said. “I feel proud to serve. I was supposed to do this. It’s in my blood.”

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Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego


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