It can be difficult for many teenagers to figure out what they want to do after high school. But after graduating from McNary High School in 2017, Noah Kileenackerman had a plan for the path he wanted to eventually take.
With his grandpa being a World War II veteran and his dad a former member of the Naval Academy, Kileenackerman knew from a young age that he wanted to be in the military.
“I have always wanted to be in the military. I really looked up to my grandpa when I was growing up, so after high school, joining the military was the first place I looked,” Kileenackerman said.
In February, Kileenackerman finished the Marine Corps 12-week boot camp program and is currently in Marine Special Operations School (MARSOC) — the Marine Special Operations School trains and educates personnel “in order to meet MARSOC’s requirement to provide capable personnel to conduct special operations,” according to the school’s website.
“It is definitely a relief to be done with (boot camp),” Kileenackerman said. “It was a difficult three months.”
Marine boot camp is considered to be tougher than the basic training programs of any of the other military academies. Kileenackerman was sent to San Diego, Calif. to go through the physical and mental rigors of boot camp and form the core values of being a Marine — honor, courage and commitment.
“There is a lot of team-building activities and learning how to follow orders,” Kileenackerman said. “Everyone needed to work together on everything we did.”
Marine boot camp is divided into three phases. In the opening phase, recruits are educated on core values, history, customs and courtesies and leadership principles. Recruits will go through marksmanship training and qualification, as well as martial arts training and swim qualification in phase two. Phase three consists of final drill, knowledge and physical fitness tests as well as an event called ‘The Crucible’ — a survival exercise that takes place over the course of three days.
For Kileenackerman, the most difficult aspect of boot camp wasn’t the early hours or the many physical challenges he had to endure as a recruit, it was that for three months, he had absolutely no personal time.
“The hardest part for me was waking up and not being able to do my own thing. We constantly had a place where we needed to be,” Kileenackerman said.
After he completed boot camp, Kileenackerman was enlisted in Marine Combat Training (MCT) — a 29-day course where entry-level non-infantry Marines are taught the common skills needed for combat.
From there, Kileenackerman was sent to Pensacola, Fla. and enrolled into MARSOC, where he is learning more about cyber intelligence security.
“I have always been interested in technology and computer stuff,” Kileenackerman said.
Kileenackerman will likely be in MARSOC for nine months before taking a lower-level position within the Marine Corps. But when Kileenackerman begins his paid position, it will be more than a job to him, it will be a continuation of his family’s legacy.
“It sounds super cheesy but it’s an honor to serve. I feel like I am honoring my family legacy,” Kileenackerman said.
Matt Rawlings: [email protected]