The Few, The Proud

Hoover grad Bryan Hong details his journey to becoming a Marine.


By Andrew Bae, Staff Writer

Bryan Hong is a former student from Herbert Hoover High School who is now pursuing his path to becoming a Marine. He is training at bootcamp and explained the process of it and the troubles that come with it.

Hong went into the boot camp without a friend, although the Marine Corps allows recruits to sign up through a buddy system. 

That was the least of his worries because his mindset was pure and dead-set on becoming a Marine and a man. 

Hong said that he also didn’t worry about his friendship status at boot camp because people are bound to meet and befriend one another there. 

“You’re always gonna meet new people,” he said. “I became friends with almost a hundred people.”

Hong said that he had mentally prepared himself months before he would have been enrolled. 

However, the mental preparation did not exactly ease him into his new life. 

“The day came and not gonna lie, I was tearing. I was sad because I knew I had to leave everybody I knew behind,” the 2022 Hoover grad said.

“And it’s a whole different experience because you’re going to be independent.” 

However, this emotional revelation allowed him to use this opportunity to start becoming a man and that is exactly how he felt as he started getting used to life at bootcamp. 

“First day in, you’re there, you get a schedule, you work by that schedule, and you’re in it. Once you’re in you can’t give up because you already started,” he said.

As Hong worked and trained through the schedule he received, he thought a lot about his family, but also his recruiters as well. 

“They went through so much to put me in this situation so I’m not gonna let them down,” he said. “I wanna prove to them that I can be independent.” 

Hong stated that through his process of becoming independent, he’s learned to keep his composure and not lose control of his emotions. 

“The way I look at certain situations, I could look at it as a child like I used to, or like the way I think now which is like all grown up. More mature,” he said.

During Hong’s first few weeks at boot camp, he had a habit that allowed him to be ahead of his peers in the stance of knowledge of the Marines. That habit was seizing every opportunity to study up on the necessary knowledge to know as a Marine. 

“Any chance I got, any free time I had, I looked over some knowledge and studied,” he said. “During free time you can do whatever you want but you wanna be smart about it. For me, I use it mostly for studying because the knowledge you get from boot camp, if you don’t retain it, what’s the point of even getting in the first place.” 

Hong learned that self-discipline was a key characteristic to have to work and train at his full potential. 

Hong gave a peek of how important subjects such as history, psychology, and math are when training at boot camp. 

“We learned a lot about history because everything we do  now is based on past history,” he said. “Psychology is also important. You might think math is not important but it is. We have certain training over there and you’re gonna use all these subjects.”

Now that Hong is very much settled into the lifestyle at boot camp, he believes that his life is set. 

Through the independence he gained, he’s earned the capability to guide his own life without any dependency on his parents. 

“That’s one reason that I joined,” he said. “I always thought that I was gonna be a college student who had their tuition paid by parents and other family members. But me? I wanted no help.” 

He believes that the only support he really needed was emotional support from his family when he was mentally preparing himself for the day he got shipped off. 

However, throughout his time at boot camp, he learned to be independent emotionally as well. 

Hong gave an insight on the training at boot camp and his mindset regarding it. 

“Training is challenging. It’s tough. But you’re never gonna be alone,” he said. “At times you may think you’re alone, but the brotherhood you create really helps you push yourself.” 

Hong also stated that he does not want to look at training as something so overwhelming that it cannot be done. 

He added: “If you say you can’t do it, then you’re not gonna make it.”

Hong also made some points on self worth and the way people view you. 

He admitted that he used to be on the delinquent side when he was still a student at Hoover. 

He wanted to avoid showcasing the reputation he had had before because he realized that self-worth as well as how people look at you are very important. 

“I want people to see me and make them say ‘I want that to be me.’ I want to be an inspiration,” he said.

“A lot of people think it’s a mistake to join. For me, it wasn’t. I knew for a fact that I wanted to do it. This isn’t even military related, if you want to do something, go do it. Don’t let anything hold you back.”