Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island --
There are quite a few things that go into becoming an honor graduate, from exemplifying the core values; honor, courage and commitment, to exceeding the normal physical standards of the Marine Corps.
There is only one honor graduate per company during a Marine Corps recruit graduation ceremony and Pfc. Callahan Brown, from Recruiting Station Frederick, was the Company Honor Graduate from platoon 4007, Papa Co., 4th Recruit Training Battalion, during the Feb. 28 graduation ceremony.
“It was my goal, so I am glad I got to accomplish my goal,” said Brown with a big smile.
Picking an honor grad is not any easier than becoming one. Especially when over 20 thousand recruits go through Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. a year but Staff Sgt. Craig Taylor saw something in Brown.
“She was intelligent, an individual and athletic,” said Taylor, who was Brown’s recruiter, out of Recruiting Substation Alexandria, Va., Recruiting Station Frederick, Md. “She was on the student government council, she ran cross-country and she is fluent in German. She just had a lot of positive attributes to offer the Marine Corps.”
Brown is 18-year-old native of Springfield, Va. She was meritoriously promoted to private first class before graduation for her achievement of honor graduate.
"I am thrilled that she accomplished such a feat," said Taylor. "She is living up to the expectations to which she holds herself to."
Brown said she believes her active past and upbringing contributed to her success as she spent most of her free time working out before she joined the Corps.
"My dad is a retired Air Force colonel and my mom is a nutritionist," said Brown "You can see where I got it."
Brown earned a 300 on her physical fitness test and combat fitness test. Both of which are a large part of the scoring process when picking the honor graduate out of over 200 Marines.
"That is what helped me stand out, my physical ability," she said.
Brown had a relatively quick enlistment process.
"I was only in the delayed entry program for 12 days," she said.
Her involvement with her recruiter and with the Corps had been about 6 months total, beginning with a call she received from Taylor, July 3, 2013.
"I remember it because it was the day before Independence Day,” she said. “I liked what he had to say and he kept in touch."
Taylor did not give up, in September Brown finally agreed to join one of RSS Alexandria’s pool physical training sessions.
"It just showed that the Marines cared, he heard something in my voice, it gave me hope that I could become a Marine,” she said.
“There was a lot of heart and dedication,” said Taylor. “She was whole heartedly interested. Not to be corny but you could hear it in her voice; I just had that gut feeling.”
From that moment it was all a matter of paper work for Taylor and Brown. Taylor was a motivator for Brown's success in becoming a company honor graduate.
"Staff Sgt. Taylor challenged me to become a sergeant in 3 years,” said Brown. “He sees a lot of potential in me. It gives me motivation and confidence."
Taylor said he knew before he sent her down that she would be a competitive recruit.
"She has the heart, drive and passion to preserver through any challenge or adversity and excel."
She excelled to the highest honor coming out of recruit training and will have many more opportunities in the United States Marine Corps.