By Francis Trast
MHS AFJROTC Cadet
Senior Airman Marquice Brown is a Maricopa High School AFJROTC alumnus who is currently assigned to Bolling Air Force Base in Anacostia, Maryland, on the firing line of the U.S. Air Force’s Honor Guard. He visited with MHS cadets on a recent visit.
As part of his Air Force duties, he works all through the week. When not on assignment, he is going to the gym or attending drill practices. Brown said being in ROTC four years greatly helped him with his military bearing and precision in drill, which is why he was noticed in basic training and invited into the Honor Guard.
“The job is great, and once you get in you’re gonna [really] love it,” he said. “But you have to be ready to adapt to [your new role]. Take your job seriously, but at the same time, have fun.”
Brown had a few words of advice for anyone going into the military. Firstly, he said to go in with a purpose. If you don’t know why you’re in the military – any branch – then you shouldn’t be there, he said. He also emphasized the importance of being physically prepared; being in shape before you go into the military will make basic training much easier.
His third and final piece of wisdom was that basic training is what you make of it; for those with a positive attitude going in, the experience will be exciting and educational. Brown had been taking a dance class at MHS and therefore had been fairly physically active when he enlisted.
Brown related the contrast in reality from his expectations, starting by explaining what most people expect when they think of basic training — an idea of having your face in the dirt, being broken down, being solitary and alone, and an absolute authoritarian rule of existing within the unit with the sole purpose of doing what you’re told. Brown says all of these things are half-truths; it isn’t quite so authoritarian as people assume, and the instructors are there, more than anything, to help.
Brown also recounted some of his most memorable moments: marching in the Macy’s Parade; promotions and retirements performed in the Hall of Heroes; and the active duty for Prisoner of War (POW) funerals.