Teen Page...Christian Cicionne: Boot Camp Hero

Christian Ciccione stands in uniform after graduation on Aug. 30.

As a school year winds down, everybody starts talking about where they want to go over the summer. As you listen you might hear places such as the beach, amusement parks, etc.

However, for senior Christian Cicionne, those places were just a little too dull. During the summer he attended army boot camp for 10 weeks, for 10 weeks of his life he will never forget.

Christian was originally from Pennsylvania, but when he was only 7 years old he moved to Florida, and at the age of 17 he moved back. Christian initially wanted to join the marines; however, since they weren’t accepting infantry at the time, Christian decided to make his presence felt in the army. “I’ve always wanted to serve my country since I was a little kid,” stated Christian. So, to help fulfill that dream, Christian attended boot camp in Fort Benning, Ga., before finishing high school.

As you can imagine, many things were running through Christian’s mind as he entered boot camp on the first day.

“Arriving at boot camp was a wakeup call for me,” said Christian. Clearly, he doesn’t have a fear of needles because upon arrival he had to endure 18 shots before going through to basic training to make sure no diseases spread.

Many students complain about having to wake up early to come to school. Well, at boot camp Christian had to wake up at around 3 a.m. and sometimes didn’t get to bed until as late as midnight. In boot camp there are three phases: Red, White, and Blue. Red phase is the toughest phase. Red Phase is the phase where you have no room for error and where a simple mistake can be costly for the rest of the platoon. White Phase is a little more lenient, but you still want to make sure that you are on top of everything. Once you make it to the Blue Phase you have made it past the toughest rounds and boot camp becomes more enjoyable. However, if you mess up during Blue Phase, the drill sergeants would have a “smoke session” and severe punishments would be dealt.

During the Red Phase, Christian was put to a major test. He and his fellow boot camp recruits had to run through a tear gas chamber. However, when putting their masks on Christian had the wrong sized mask. Being only a medium size, but having a large mask, Christian’s mask had a gap in it which allowed gas to leak through. Instead of getting a different mask, Christian decided to stick it out and hold his breath through the entire run. Afterward when they took their masks off and recited their name, social security number, and why they were in boot camp, Christian’s drill sergeants noticed he was holding his breath. To make him pay for what he did, they punched him in the stomach and made him breathe all the gas in that was around him.

Boot camp isn’t all bad, however. Christian and his roommates enjoyed many things throughout boot camp. They all enjoyed handling many guns, from .50 caliber machine guns to grenade and rocket launchers. Also all the inmates enjoyed breakfast time, the most important meal of the day, and repelling off of a wall.

Christian had an amazing experience when he attended boot camp for 10 weeks.

“This experience changed how I view people and the world,” he said. “I see people as actual humans now instead of just people on the outside.” Christian displays what it means to have pride in your country. He is an extraordinary young man who loves his country and looks forward to serving it.

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