MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Lance Cpl. Taylor Drake, a combat engineer with 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, left for Marine Corps recruit training one month after graduating high school in 2014.
The summer of boot camp was a drastic change from his days at Sandra Day O’Connor.
“As soon as I graduated recruit training the only thing I had on my mind was getting through combat training so that I could go to my military occpational specialty school and learn what I would be doing in the Marine Corps,” said Drake.
Prior to leaving for recruit training, Drake, a Phoenix native, wanted to see what kind of opportunities his top three job options would offer him.
“I did some research on my three choices and combat engineer stood out the most,” said Drake. “I feel like I have learned a lot and it has been very beneficial.”
Shortly after Drake arrived at 1st CEB, higher ranking Marines noticed a quality about him that really stood out.
“Lance Cpl. Drake’s initiative is great and it’s nice to have a Marine who is always getting something done before I have the chance to tell him it needs to be done,” said Cpl. Chadwick Tech, a squad leader for 2nd Platoon. “Drake is definitely the kind of Marine that anyone would want to have in their section.”
Drake’s grandfather served during World War II and an immediate family member of one of his friends was in the Marine Corps. It is from these two people that motivated Drake to enlist.
“Being a part of a legacy of Marines is definitely something to be proud of,” said Drake, 20. “My hope is that when I have a family I can encourage my kids to follow in my footsteps and keep the legacy going.”
Being a Marine has helped Drake build confidence and gain knowledge on the occupation from others that he works with on a day-to-day basis.
“In my MOS there is a lot of diversity and aspects to it,” Drake said. “The more training I get to do, the more I appreciate not only being a Marine, but also a combat engineer.”
Drake has participated in training in Northern California as well as the different ranges at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. He has also had the opportunity to fire rockets during a field operation. During the same field operation, Drake assisted with the construction of a forward operating base.
Drake was also shown how to use a mine-clearing line charge, which is used to create a breach in minefields under combat conditions.
“I am very grateful for the experiences that I have had in the Marine Corps so far. It has given me the chance to take all the knowledge that I have learned and not only apply it but also build upon it,” said Drake.
Prior to enlisting, Drake spent most of the weekends with friends who shared his interests such as hunting, camping and fishing.
According to Tech, Drake’s proficiency with military occupational specialty specific knowledge is something that makes him stand out from the rest of the squad.
“Lance Cpl. Drake was highly motivated when he checked in to the unit,” said Tech. “His initiative is off the charts and he is always looking for ways to increase his knowledge on his occupational specialty.”
Combat engineers are trained to do many things from maintaining building structures to carpentry and breaching. Drake has been able to proudly carry on the Marine legacy in his family and hopes to one day pass down his knowledge and experience to a family of his own.