Bluffton native honored at Parris Island graduation

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comFebruary 10, 2012 

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For many new Marines, three months of basic training is followed by a long drive or flight home.

For Pfc. Trevor Chambers, the trip was considerably shorter.

The 18-year-old Bluffton resident was one of more than 200 graduates of basic training Friday at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. The Bluffton High School alumnus also was selected by his drill instructor to be his platoon's honor graduate, making him one of only five new Marines to don his dress blue uniform at Friday's ceremony.

Chambers was no stranger to Parris Island when he arrived for basic training, having lived on base for about two years while his father, a retired Marine gunnery sergeant, was stationed there, he said.

"I thought I knew Parris Island when I lived out here, but you're not seeing what's going on inside the barracks and all of the things we have to do as recruits," Chambers said. "That was different, but I enjoyed it. It straightened me out a lot."

Chambers, who hopes to become an infantry Marine, said he was transformed by basic training.

"I learned that I'm capable of a lot more than I thought I was, both physically and mentally," Chambers said. "I've learned to appreciate the little things, to work well with others. I also learned I can make people get along with each other and lead them."

As relatives swarmed their new Marines, the honor graduates and their families waited patiently to be photographed with Brig. Gen. Lori Reynolds, the depot's commander.

When it came time for Chambers and his family to huddle around the one-star general, Reynolds quickly found herself jockeying for room in the photo among the 15 friends, relatives and neighbors who made the trip from Bluffton.

"They really hooked me up," Chambers said with a smile. "It'll be a short trip home. I only live about 20 minutes from here."

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