“I, *insert name,* do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
Pat Hall had a good idea of what he was getting himself into when in April of 2015, he took this oath for the United States Marines.
A mechanical engineering major, Hall knew that he wanted to serve in some way, shape, or form. The 20-year old freshman from Mullica Hill, NJ, now runs shifts as a defensive-middie with the team, but two years ago, Hall looked to the Marines as just the challenge that he needed.
“I knew that they were the toughest. I knew that they were more select. I guess, growing up, always being an athlete, you know, I was always trying to be the best at whatever I do. I saw that as a good opportunity to really push me and give me opportunities to set myself up for the rest of my life,” Hall said.
Hall said he’s always wanted to serve. He certainly had the right environment for it, beings that Hall’s family has a rich history of serving with the Armed Forces. This lineage traces as far back as a distant ancestor who served with President Teddy Roosevelt as a Rough Rider during the Spanish-American War. Hall’s grandfather on his father’s side served with the Navy, while his grandfather on his mother’s side served with the Army. Hall’s father himself served with the Navy. So, it may be safe to guess where the influence for Hall’s decision came from. After all, it was his father’s advice that influenced his decision to take the oath with the Marines.
“My dad kind of guided me and said, “Do you want just something that you can do with the Marine Corps, or do you want to think about today, tomorrow and the future,” and do a job that would really help me out, outside of the Marine Corps regardless of how long you’re in for, and really just growing up with that kind of lifestyle really helped me get into it,” Hall said.
Hall said he was a “straight-shooter” during his four years at Clearview Regional High School in Mullica Hill. He said he was the captain of his lacrosse team during his senior year and had a “pretty good reputation.” Hall was still a high school senior when he took the oath with the Marines, he missed practice in order to go. From there on, Hall knew about the demands that the Marines would require.
“Unlike a lot of people, I knew what I was getting into. I was very fortunate where I got to talk to a lot of Marines who had already gone through, that were either friends with my dad or that I knew. I think the biggest thing that really helped me was just going in with the right mindset because I knew that it was just going to suck. So, you just had to embrace this up pretty much. You just kind of keep your head down and you just got to get through it. So, it wasn’t awful for me, but that’s because I guess I went in knowing what to expect,” Hall said.
That’s when Hall took off to Parris Island, SC, for boot-camp. From October 13 of that year to January 8, 2016, the day he graduated, Hall would come to realize a couple of things. One, that he hates sand fleas (nearly-invisible gnats with a nasty bite), and two, that training is more mental than physical.
“Everything there really had a purpose and they tell you that early on, everybody tells you before you go in and everything. Everything really does have a purpose. I guess the hardest part is trying to understand that purpose right away. Toward the end of that three-month training cycle, it really starts to make sense,” Hall said.
Hall said that he had fun when he got into shooting targets. Here, Hall got to learn the tricks to aiming a gun just right to hit a target from 200yds, 300yds, and 500yds away.
“I really liked the MCT (Marine Combat Training), which is like the step after boot-camp, that’s like a lot more combat training that you get to go to. It was a just a blast all the way through,” Hall said. “MC2 was probably the most fun because you got to do basic first-aid, taking care of wounded people on the field, fire different types of weapon systems, experiencing digging your own fox-hole for the battle-buggy, hikes, they weren’t too hard, but staying awake was probably the hardest part, probably.”
Hall said his relationship with his comrades, though there was head-butting here and there, was a family-style, close-knit group.
Hall came to Rowan just this past fall semester, and since then, he has got into some different ranks: the ranks within the team. Hall said he’s having fun with it so far. Compared to his time playing in high school, Hall said his new team is “more stress-free.”
“I remember there was a lot of responsibility on me to perform every single game. Like, yes, there is still is that responsibility and everything for playing at Rowan here, but I feel more able to just play and have fun and I always feel like I’m going to do better here because I’m going to be able to have fun with it and not worry so much,” Hall said.
Hall said that work ethic along with the attitude, and the lesson of “going until the job gets done” are all components to the mentality that carries over to lacrosse at Rowan.
Even with lacrosse on his mind, Hall said his long-term goal is to receive his degree and ultimately receive his commission as an officer in the Marines. He doesn’t put an everyday job on a shelf, but the Marines play a huge role in deciding where he’ll be spending time after college.
“My end goal at this point is just to get that commission and then from there, I pretty much open up doors and avenues to whatever I choose to do at that point,” Hall said.
For Hall, the Marines are both in his past and future.
Which is understandable. As it’s been said, the oath doesn’t have an expiration date.
*Armed Forces oath retrieved from military.com