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Why I and other BYU-I students spend our summers training to be Marine Corps officers

For most of my childhood, I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my dad. He would tell me stories about my grandpa, who served in the Navy during World War II. My dad also showed me the old movies he grew up with, many of which were war movies, and instilled in me from an early age to love this country and the principles it was built on.

I was taught to be good and kind to the people around me and to always look for opportunities to serve.

Because of the lessons I learned as a child, I knew that I wanted to go into a profession where I could wake up in the morning and know that I was going to make a positive difference in someone else’s life.

After returning home from my mission and after contemplating what I wanted to do after college, I decided I wanted to go into the military. After coming to BYU-Idaho, I learned that the Marine Corps has a program for college students, the PLC (Platoon Leadership Class) program.

PLC college students focus on their studies during the school year and can go to Quantico, Virginia, during the summer to receive training to become Marine Corps officers. Training for freshmen and sophomores is six weeks for two summers, while training for juniors and seniors is 10 weeks for one summer.

I had the opportunity to meet David Ericson, a junior studying history, who is also taking part in the PLC program.

Ready for PT
David Ericson gears up for Physical Training at the track. Photo credit: Isaac Hayes

“The purpose of PLC is to develop leadership skills,” said Ericson. “Eventually, you will learn how to be a leader of Marines. That is the end goal.”

The PLC program also has great financial benefits for students as well.

“You have no obligation to the Marine Corps during the time school is in session,” Ericson said. “You get paid to train, and at the end of your training, you don’t even have to sign a contract with the Marines.”

While the benefits are great, I asked Ericson why he chose to do the PLC program, and his response was similar to how I felt.

“I have to prove to myself and everyone else that I can be a leader,” Ericson said.” I know I have the ability, and God gave me that gift, and I’ve got to exercise that gift. It’s not fair to anyone else if I don’t do that.”

There are three of us on campus that meet twice a week to prepare for summer PLC and do physical training. Anyone that has the desire to improve their leadership skills and to see if the Marine Corps can give them the training they need is welcome to get involved in this fun and challenging program.


For more information on the PLC program, visit this website.


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