Camp gives KFHS coach insight

Published 8:46 pm Wednesday, May 22, 2013

King’s Fork High School’s football coach says he returned from a U.S. Marine Corps camp for educators with a new understanding of what the military can offer students.

Joe Jones, who has been coaching football at the school for five years, attended the camp at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, S.C., from April 23-26.

There were 45 Virginia educators and 35 from North Carolina at the camp, he said.

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“It gave us an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at how Marines are recruited and trained,” he said.

King’s Fork High School football coach Joe Jones was among a group of Virginia educators who attended a U.S. Marine Corps camp in South Carolina in April. The camp provided valuable insight into a rewarding career, Jones said. (Submitted Photo)

King’s Fork High School football coach Joe Jones was among a group of Virginia educators who attended a U.S. Marine Corps camp in South Carolina in April. The camp provided valuable insight into a rewarding career, Jones said. (Submitted Photo)

“It was a pretty neat experience — we got to see all the different parts of the training process. We fired M4 rifles and rappelled down a 50-foot wall. We got to see a little bit of everything.”

Another highlight was a three-star commander, Lt. General Robert Milstead, addressing the group, Jones said.

Educators got up close and personal with drill instructors, at an hour of the morning when most folks are tucked up in bed, he added.

The drill instructors “gave us the third degree — it was realistic,” he said.

Jones said the camp has special significance for him, as his father-in-law was a Marine, and his son, King’s Fork sophomore Bryce Jones, has talked about joining the Corps.

“He’s (Bryce) talked about it,” he said. “The camp helped from a personal standpoint. I have always had a great respect for the military.”

Jones said he had the opportunity to implement some of his newly acquired knowledge last Thursday.

The Marine Corps’ Suffolk-area recruiter, Sgt. Jonathan Cheng, came to the school with two young men, one from Suffolk and one from Smithfield, Jones said.

“We put the football team through a Marines-type workout,” he said. “It was a change of pace for the kids.

“A lot of the things are similar to a football workout, but some of the things aren’t.”

Over the years, one or two students he has coached have joined the military, Jones said.

“We are not pushing it on them, just giving them some options,” he said. “I tell them it’s over 100 times harder than it is here. The drill instructor is in your face and demanding things of you.”

As well as insights to pass onto students, Jones said he also came away from the camp with a renewed respect for those who serve.

“I tell you another thing, it makes me feel safe,” he said.

Jones wishes he had given more consideration to joining the military when he was younger.

“I wish I would have thought more along those lines when I was coming out of high school,” he said. “It gives you a newfound respect for it.”