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Lance Cpl. Derek A. Smith, Platoon 2142, Company E,
pursued service in the Marine Corps at an age when most of his Mormon peers fulfill their calling to spread the teachings of the church.:: Rock star recruit drops cello, picks up riflE ::
By Pfc. Carrie C. Booze
Chevron Staff (June 15TH, 2007)


MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Afer years of touring with a rock band, one Company D recruit pursued his lifelong dream of joining America’s most elite fighting force. Private First Class Seth C. Allen, Platoon 1069, graduates today afer following in his father’s footsteps to become one of the few and the proud.

At 28-years-old, Allen’s life was set. He had already earned his master’s degree in music composition from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and was living his dream playing the cello and electric bass in a rock band called "The Josh Grider Band." When Allen’s band was not touring across the South and performing with numerous well-known artists, he was teaching music theory at Waco Independent School District.

He seemed to have it all, but yet he felt unfulfilled. He felt that he had something more to offer and being a musician did not allow him to fully give back the freedoms he was given."Allen is extremely passionate about his music and is one of the most talented musicians I know," said Allen’s father, Robert. "But I take pride in him wanting to follow in my footsteps and I am very supportive of his decision in becoming a Marine."

Aside from music, Allen was always interested in world affairs, his father added. He said the current war has affected Allen immensely and his son wanted to do his part in fighting for America. "I love playing music, but I also love my freedom to play music," said Allen. "Music can impact people, but if they don’t have the freedom to listen to it, then what I did as a musician was meaningless." Wanting to defend his country and emulate his father, Allen went to the Waco recruiting station and signed his enlistment contract without hesitation.

The following spring, Allen was on the yellow footprints, eager to begin his transformation. He endured three months of strenuous training and had to be treated fora reopened surgical wound on his tailbone from a previous injury, limiting his physical activity.

"Even though he was injured he never wanted to go to medical and be held back from training," said Gunnery Sgt. Brian R. Papakie, senior drill instructor for Platoon 1069. "He was generally concerned with staying up to speed with the younger recruits, so he put in full effort and did well."

With his physical abilities restricted, Allen turned to his mental strength to help motivate
his fellow recruits. During first phase Allen was reserved, but in second phase he came out of his shell and took on the responsibility of knowledge recruit— a recruit who assists drill instructors in preparing the other recruits for the final examination at the conclusion of boot camp, said Papakie. Allen was able to spout off questions and answers for the practical examination during the hikes to familiarize the recruits with the material they would see on the test.

"Allen was a very intelligent recruit," said Papakie. "He used his experiences as a teacher and tried to go above and beyond to help the other recruits by conducting study sessions." Robert stated that Allen has always been a studious individual, and is constantly striving to better himself.

Allen has future aspirations of attending Officer Candidate School to become an intelligence officer for an aviation squadron and lead Marines in the fight. Having already conquered the music industry, Allen plans to put music on the back burner while he pursues his military career.

Afer ten days of leave, Allen will return to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., to attend Marine Combat Training at the School of Infantry. Afer the completion of MCT, Allen will further his training to become a supply accountant. Allen said he is excited to have earned the eagle, globe and anchor and he can not wait to be a part of something bigger than himself.

He looks forward to joining the ranks of thousands of warriors who have also earned the title Marine.

Source: MCRD Chervron»
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