AUBURN, Ala --
AUBURN, Ala. – An Auburn High School senior decides what he wants to do after graduating high school, but his older brother says he’s not physically or mentally ready.
The Marine Corps has height and weight standards that must be met by all members; individuals above or below these standards must decide if they will work to meet the minimum/maximum weight in order to qualify for enlistment. Blake Napper, a future Marine at Marine Permanent Contact Station Auburn, has lost 27 pounds to enlist into the Marine Corps.
Napper has been interested in joining the military since he was 11. Napper’s brother, Nicholas Foster, served in the Marine Corps as a field artillery cannoneer from 2014 to 2018, which inspired him to also want to serve.
“When I told him, back when I first joined, he told me straight up that I couldn’t do it,” Napper said.
Regardless, Napper was still determined to become a Marine. In support of this goal, Napper joined his school’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program. Sgt. Levi Tuttle, a Recruiting Station Montgomery Marine recruiter, attended one of the program’s physical training events and offered guidance to the class. Upon meeting Tuttle, Napper decided to set up an appointment to meet at the Auburn Marine Corps recruiting office. Tuttle discussed with Napper that he was not qualified to enlist; however, Tuttle could help him lose weight by attending workouts at the office.
“He was wanting to go and do the best that he could…and I wanted to help him with that,” said Tuttle when speaking about Napper’s goal to become a Marine.
The Marines at PCS Auburn hold physical training sessions every Tuesday and Thursday evening to prepare those in the Delayed Entry Program for boot camp. Individuals who are not yet qualified, with proper approval, are encouraged to participate in these workouts in order to meet the requirements for enlistment. Napper attended these workouts and focused on losing weight to be eligible to enlist.
The guidance and mentorship that Tuttle provided helped Napper lose 27 pounds and qualify to enlist into the Marine Corps. Napper will need to stay diligent, as he needs to lose 15 more pounds in order to meet the standards to ship to recruit training.
“It’s just being in this office and knowing that this is a safe place; this is where you wanna be. You’re surrounded by people who you wanna be surrounded by. You take the criticism; they take the criticism; we’re all going for the same thing,” Napper said while talking about his time working to join the DEP.
Napper is set to attend boot camp at Recruit Training Depot Parris Island, South Carolina in August 2022, where he will train to earn the title of United States Marine.
For more information about Marine Corps careers visit our website at www.marines.com/rsmonfb.