Breaking down to build back up

Former Leander graduate completes boot camp


Becca Brown

Cierra Dejohn graduated from boot camp on Friday, February 27, 2015.

by Claire Kyllonen, Assistant Editor

Sweat pours down her neck and shoulders; her legs scream in protest. Her platoon surrounds her on all sides, all fifty seven women marching in synchronized rhythm with several miles left to go. If anyone falls behind, the group fails. Cierra Dejohn grits her teeth and marches on.

“Everyone was shocked when I told them I was going to enlist,” Dejohn said. “A lot of people told me I couldn’t or that I shouldn’t do it, but that just made me feel more determined than ever before.”

When Dejohn shipped out for boot camp, she was more excited than nervous. She was in for a culture shock when she arrived and the real work began.

“They strip you of who you are to get rid of your individuality,” Dejohn said. “You learn to be a cooperative part of a team. That’s essential.”

For a while, Dejohn felt like she was rushed and reprimanded for everything she did. She felt she couldn’t do anything right.

“I never thought team work would be so hard,” Dejohn said. “But we had to learn it because in the military our mistakes could mean someone’s life.”

Dejohn’s instructors pushed her to her limits. Her thought of graduating kept her going.

“I learned your mind will quit before your body does,” Dejohn said. “The physical training itself isn’t that bad. It’s all mental.”

Dejohn’s wish to add more female Marines into the ranks came true when she graduated February 27, 2015. She will now go on to complete her Infantry Training, before going on to complete MOS school in Florida where she will train as a parachute rigger.

“Anyone can do it if they have the heart for it,” Dejohn said. “You just can’t give up on yourself. I will fight for my country until my body can’t fight anymore. I will always wear the title United States Marine with pride.”


If you’re interested in talking to a recruiter, you can contact Sgt. Aaron Beitel at [email protected] for any questions.