By A.J. Rao
Strength, perseverance and grit are words often associated with the U.S. Marine Corps. But for one recruit from Jamestown, they've become much more than just words.
Nineteen-year-old Vaughan Moody, now a private first class, almost had his dreams shattered when he was injured in May, shortly after arriving at Parris Island, S.C. for the grueling, 13-week Marine Corps recruit training program.
Moody, who had arrived just four days earlier, was still in the processing phase of training, when a fellow recruit pushed him down a ladder well and caused him to injure his left ankle.
"We were on our way to the armory ... I was going down the ladder well when (someone) bumped me in the back," said Moody, who indicated that he didn't know who the other recruit was or whether it was an accident or not. "(After I was pushed), I jumped and cleared a few steps, but when I landed on the platform ... I was standing on the side of my foot."
Moody, who tried walking off the injury at first, passed out several hours later. X-rays revealed he had a fractured ankle, torn ligaments and scattered fragments of bone throughout.
Simply put, he would not be able to proceed with training.
"I didn't want to get dropped," Moody said. "But there was no possible way I could go through training with (that injury), I could barely even walk."
Moody, of course, chose not to quit. After spending 14 weeks in rehabilitation, he started training again from Day 1.
"A lot of people don't make it out of (rehabilitation)," Moody said. "I was determined not to go back."
Moody's determination paid off, as he was quickly chosen by his drill instructors to be his platoon's "guide," or recruit leader for his platoon.
To top it all off, Moody was eventually selected as his platoon's honor graduate; an honor given to one out of 86 recruits.
"It was all mental, staying motivated ... and not letting (the injury) beat you," said Moody, who was scheduled to go to Marine Combat Training at Camp Geiger in North Carolina on Monday. "It's not about you anymore...the more you sacrifice to help everyone else, that-in the long term-is going to make you successful."