Private Lum Reports for Duty!

Staff Sgt. Edward Powers
Staff Sgt. Edward Powers

KANEOHE (KHNL) -- As I pondered what my next "Job Swap" would be, I thought about taking on a call to duty, one that requires sacrifice, a ton of dedication, guts, discipline and a love for your country.

The first thing that came to mind were images of the few, the proud, the members of the United States Marines Corps.

In the past, I have covered many stories about their deployments to Iraq or Afghanistan, but never before have I seen or experienced what the men go through leading up to their assignments.

"Being a U.S. marine requires strict adherence to our core values of honor, courage and committment," explained Staff Sargent Edward Powers.

"It is not a job, it is a calling. Even when the times get tough it doesn't bother me at all. It is a warrior lifestyle," Powers said.

Staff Sgt. Powers leads the prestigious Scout Sniper Platoon and has been in the marine corps for ten years.

One day, I found myself up at the crack of dawn, donning military fatigues at Kaneohe Beach with his men.

Staff Sgt. Powers belted out, "Fall in!"

In a snap, members of the elite Scout Sniper Platoon lined up and so did I with my chin up and shoulders back.

Looking straight ahead, I tried not to flinch as Staff Sgt. Edwards appeared in my face and hollered, "Private Lum!!!!"

"Here Staff Sergeant!!!!!" I responded, shaking.

"Fall out!" he yelled back.

The platoon trains regularly to stay in tip top shape and mix different types of workouts ranging from pilates, and hand to hand combat. They also run long distances along Kaneohe Beach, sometimes while carrying heavy weights.

Thankfully, I did not have to worry about carrying any heavy loads that day as we ran double-time down a stretch of the beach and back.

"You're highly motivated and dedicated! Enjoy the exercise!" yelled Staff Sgt. Powers.

I was dripping with sweat, breathing heavily, and I could feel my heart pounding as I did push-ups while Sgt. Powers barked orders and counted repetitions.

I started to feel pain in my arms and legs and looked around. The other marines remained focused and steady, continuing on with the exercises. Sensing that I needed help, Corporal Joeb picked me up and threw me over his shoulder for the remainder of our lap down the beach.

"We never leave a marine behind!" he said.

My brief time with the sniper platoon definitely gave me a better appreciation for the Kaneohe marines.

"On an individual level, what the marine corps offers is the ability to evaluate yourself. You can go through life out there and never know what you're made out of because you're never held to a standard where you have to perform in front of the scrutiny of other people and face your fears," said Staff Sgt. Powers. "The marines perform to the utmost on a daily basis and I am very proud of these guys."