CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Dec. 12, 2005) -- On Nov. 10, 1992, two young men found themselves standing on the yellow footprints together aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C. Now, more than 13 years later they reunited in Iraq for the first time since graduating recruit training.
Staff Sgt. Richard Guichardo and Petty Officer 2nd Class Gregory S. Knight completed recruit training in the same platoon, and are both currently serving here.
“We weren’t rack mates, but we were right across from one another,” said Knight, recounting the first days of his career in the Marine Corps.
“We were right in an area no more than two racks away from each other,” Guichardo continued.
After graduating recruit training, Knight and Guichardo attended Marine Combat Training at Camp Geiger, N.C., at the same time but were in separate platoons. The two went their separate ways after the training, and both have had unique careers since.
Knight, a Bowman, S.C., native, became an administrative clerk and was assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., where he worked in the chaplain’s office on station. After working with the chaplain, Knight decided to become a religious program specialist in the Navy in 1994.
“If I could have stayed in the Marine Corps and done the job as a [religious program specialist], I probably would’ve,” he said.
Knight, 33, spent the next several years at Naval Air Station Meridian, Miss., where he served as an RP and met his wife, who was also serving in the military.
“I met my wife there in Meridian and she was just coming into the service,” he said. “I decided to get out [of the Navy] and become a dependent for a while, and follow her around.”
In 1997, Knight moved to Washington, D.C., with his wife where he worked as an accountant for a company there.
“I’ve had some interesting careers on the civilian side,” he said. “I worked in the space industry.”
Knight said he had the chance to meet a lot of interesting people while working in Washington, including astronauts.
When Knight’s wife was reassigned, they moved to San Antonio, where he worked in the furniture manufacturing business and in the insurance industry.
“I currently work for a major insurance and financial institution there,” he said.
Through the years, Knight has earned a college degree, and in 2004 he came back into the Navy Reserve as an RP to pursue a commission to become an officer.
Today, Knight is serving here with 5th Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, where he supports and assists the chaplain and camp chapel.
Guichardo, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native, became a supply clerk after MCT and was assigned to Camp Lejeune, N.C., during his first tour in the Marine Corps.
“After being [at Camp Lejeune] for about three years, I got orders to go to Japan,” he said. “I was there for 16 months.”
Guichardo, 38, received orders to Camp Lejeune again and acquired a new billet rather than a supply position.
“I was an instructor at the Corporal’s Course,” he said. “Then in 1999, I submitted my package for Drill Instructor’s School, and off I went.
“I got off the drill field in January of 2003, and went back to Camp Lejeune,” he said.
Guichardo is currently serving here as an operations chief with Charlie Company, 8th Communication Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Headquarters Group, II MEF (FWD).
Knight and Guichardo didn’t initially recognize each other here.
“We ran into each other in the chapel,” said Guichardo.
“It took us about three times running into one another before we finally figured it out,” said Knight.
According to Knight, he and Guichardo finally made the connection while dining and conversing at the dining facility. They were talking about when and where they attended recruit training, and that’s when everything clicked.
Knight and Guichardo chatted about their former drill instructors and their unique military careers.
“When you go through something like Marine Corps boot camp…it’s something that you do with your buddies and with the people you meet,” said Knight. “You build a lasting friendship with people when you go through experiences like that.”
“I think from here on out, our friendship is stronger,” said Guichardo. “We will probably stay in touch, even if it is just an e-mail.”
“It makes me feel good too,” said Knight. “I am proud of him; I’m glad to see that one of my buddies has made it up to the big time. We’ll have one big party when we get back to Camp Lejeune.”