Derek S. Bankus says the United States of America has the finest military in the world.
Bankus, a 2013 graduate of Everett High School, has been accepted for enlistment in the United States Marine Corps. He has begun strength and conditioning workouts in preparation for his entry in to the Marines’ basic training (boot camp) program.
“I joined the Marines because I strongly believe in the saying that ‘Freedom isn’t free,’ and I felt that it was my duty as an American to serve my country and do it with great honor,” said Bankus.
Bankus, 18, attended the Lafayette School (K-8) and played two years of varsity hockey and four years of varsity golf at Everett High, earning Greater Boston League All-Star recognition in golf. The 5-feet-6-inch athlete was noted for his long drives off the tee.
He was also a student ambassador who tutored academics to underclassmen and helped freshmen through the high school orientation process.
He began corresponding with Marine recruiters during his sophomore year in high school and was immediately impressed by the Marines’ tradition of outstanding service to the country.
“From that day forward, I’ve always wanted to be one and I’ve been following my dream of becoming a Marine,” said Bankus.
He was required to pass physical fitness and medical tests before being granted admission to a military entrance processing station in Boston. Upon completion of that phase, he took the oath of enlistment.
“After that, you are on basically active duty unit your ship date comes for basic training,” said Bankus. “I’ll be working out with current U.S. Marines to get in shape for basic training (boot camp). I think my conditioning from being a hockey player and golfer has helped me.”
He will participate in 13 weeks of basic training at Parris Island in South Carolina. There will be three phases in the program: physical fitness, rifle marksmanship, and leadership qualities.
“In the leadership phase, you learn the basic leadership qualities – how to be a Marine and act like Marine outside of the military and around your fellow Marines,” said Bankus. “At the end of third phase is graduation.”
Bankus will serve an eight-year commitment in the U.S. Marines. He has applied for specialization in communications and electronics at his job training school.
Bankus’s father, Dennis, was a hockey star at Chelsea High School where he set a school scoring record. He said he supports his son’s decision to join the U.S. Marines.
“I support Derek 100 percent. I feel very proud that he has made a decision for a career in the military. I used coach him in youth hockey. Now we play a lot of golf together.”