Enlistment and Basic Training

Interviewee: Jay Harland

Born: 1980

    Jay Harland was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. His father’s Army service served as an incentive to his eventually joinging up. At West High School his desire to join the military was solidified by the junior ROTC. His parents were very supportive of his decision to join the Marines in 1998. Jay describes overcoming the difficulties of boot camp and dealing with the culture shock he experienced being around a very culturally diverse group of recruits. When he moved on to the School of Infantry he felt he may have made a mistake joining the Marines and that he was now stuck with the decision.  

Jay’s main goals in the Marines were to travel and become an NCO.  He talks about his recurring problems with the training strategies and moral standards of many officers he encountered throughout his service. He served two tours in Okinawa, Japan in 1999 and 2001. Despite his earlier trepidation he decided to reenlist in 2001 because he saw a temporary improvement in officers. He also got a chance to travel around in Europe for a deployment in 2004, something he had always wanted to do. He talks about the countries he saw and his experience in a leadership position as a Sergeant. His final deployment was to the Ivory Coast in Africa where he was tasked to suppress riots. However, because of the Ivory Coasts’ involvement in the World Cup it ended up being a quiet deployment. Jay describes the various ways he feels people can serve their country and admits that the military is not for everyone.