Rigel Baron: All It Takes Is All You Got

LAHS Graduate/Marine

All it takes is all you got. This is the motto of the United States Reconnaissance Marine.

My name is Rigel Baron, born and raised in Los Alamos, New Mexico. I graduated Los Alamos High School at the end of May, (2015) and left for Marine Corps boot camp two days after my graduation. Three months later I was a United States Marine — however this was not the end of my story, merely the beginning.

After boot camp came a short break to spend with family and friends, then more training. Sept. 15 I began my initial job buildup at Infantry Training Battalion (ITB) in Camp Pendleton, Calif. This was two months of living outside in a sleeping bag, firing rockets, throwing grenades, and shooting guns. Fun if you ask me. Not once did I question myself, look back, or even think of quitting.

Soon enough November rolled around and I graduated ITB. Literally the next day I would begin training to be a Reconnaissance Marine. Little did I know the ordeal that lay ahead.

That night we were released to our rooms at 1900 (7 p.m. normal person time). I quickly unpacked my belongings and got acquainted with my new roommate. More than anything I wanted to rest, I had no idea what the next day had in store, but my imagination was the limit. I laid down in my bed, letting curiosity get the best of me. Before I knew it I heard the familiar buzzing of the alarm on my phone. It was 0430, time to shower, put my cammies on, and go to morning formation.

We went to breakfast and came back around 0630. So far the day wasn’t so bad, I naively thought to myself. At 0700 the real work began. The instructors told the 50 of us to go down to “the boneyard” – a basketball court appropriately named for all the workouts done. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a voice I would come to be very familiar with, shouted out in the cold morning air “Start doing 8-counts.”

My mind briefly rushed, “what is an 8-count?” I thought to myself. Soon enough I found out. One — jump down from standing to a squatted position. Two — shoot legs out to emulate a push-up. Three and four — spread and return your legs (almost like a horizontal jumping jack). Five — push down, chest must touch the ground. Six — push up. Seven — return to crouched position. Eight — stand back up.

Never before in my life had I thought of quitting anything, but now the thought was running rampant in my mind. The first time, and most certainly not the last. Three hundred 8-counts, and three hours later we finally stopped. An onlooker would have assumed it just rained, because puddles of sweat were pooled at our feet. I had never felt this tired before in my life. Muscles all across my body began to ache and feel sore.

The next day I woke up at the same time, to the same sound. I begrudgingly tried to sit up. My body was so sore I couldn’t move. After probably 10 minutes of coaxing myself into it, I finally managed to get up. Today would prove to be the exactly the same.

A month later, here I am, still pushing my way through. I am nowhere close to finished. The light at the end of the tunnel is non-existent, but when I look behind me the light of quitting shines bright. Many of my friends, peers, and buddies, have been drawn to the light behind me, I continue to venture into the darkness of uncertainty and hardship, but great reward.

All it takes is all you got, this is my motivation.