Chris Sands: From Student to Marine

Chris Sands (11)

Chris Sands (11)

JoAnna Voss

Most people dread workouts that consist of long runs and hundreds of reps of physical exercises. But junior Chris Sands loves them, and for four months, those workouts have become a part of Sands’ weekly routine as he pursues his dream of becoming a Marine.

For the past three months, Sands has been traveling to the Dubuque Armed Forces Recruiting Center every week for warrior night workouts and attending pool function workouts once a month.

“At first I was nervous that I wouldn’t have what it takes,” Sands said. “I thought I would get harassed by the drill instructors or mess up and get punished.”  

During weekly warrior night workouts, Sands and other recruits usually run in downtown Dubuque and complete a mix of bodyweight workouts. A typical workout may consist of 100 pull ups, 500 crunches, 300 ammo can shoulder presses, 400 burpees, 350 push ups, etc.

Every month at pool function workouts, Sands joins other poolees, individuals already signed up for the marines, and completes workouts involving intense exercises, “yes sirs” and “no sirs” and formation practice. Along with running and doing pushups, at a typical pool function, poolees hike while carrying American and Marine flags, weighted bags and military water canisters. Throughout the hike, the poolees yell and chant in formation.

I’ve been in sports most of my life and all of the workouts I’ve done (as a marine) are a lot harder than any of the workouts I’ve done during sports.”

— Chris Sands (11)

“I’ve been in sports most of my life and all of the workouts I’ve done (as a marine) are a lot harder than any of the workouts I’ve done during sports,” Sands said. “Jake Beevers, who’s also a Marine, along with my recruiter, even said the workouts we do are physically harder than boot camp.”

Although the workouts are intense, Sands knows the important reason behind them.

I love the workouts,” Sands said. “It’s great preparation for my future so I can excel in my MOS (Military Occupational Speciality) path.”

While training, Sands has made new relationships within the Marines.

“The first night I became best friends with about six guys I’ve never met before,” Sands said. “The training is a great way to get the right mindset for the future while making good friends.”

May 2 and 3 Sands traveled to Des Moines to a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) where he swore his Oath of Enlistment and completed his Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test, a test that determines the job he will serve while in the Marines.

Sands will now enter a delayed entry program, allowing him to graduate high school in the spring of 2019. After graduating, Sands will then leave for the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot in San Diego, California, where he will begin boot camp.

“I’m excited,” Sands said. “I’m glad I have the ability to serve our country, and I want to continue my career as long as I can stand.”

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