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‘Fate brought us back together’: A marksmanship story

By Lance Cpl. Bernadette Wildes | III Marine Expeditionary Force | June 6, 2017


Two Marines sit side-by-side in the dirt, laughing and joking around, waiting to shoot down range. They seem to have known each other for years, but the circumstance under which they met make their friendship unique.

Cpl. John Brody, from Springfield, Virginia, went to boot camp in September 2013, and was on the range for two weeks when he first met his Primary Marksmanship Instructor, Sgt. Daniel Reilly.

“He definitely showed that shooting is more than just something you do for your job here,” said Brody, a rifleman with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment. “It can be your job, it can save your life, or it can be a fun time as well.”

Brody said after enduring a stressful environment with his drill instructors, shooting on the range during training showed him a light at the end of the tunnel.

“Just seeing someone who is normal, somebody not drill instructor-related, is like a glimmer of hope midway through boot camp,” said Brody.

When Brody graduated recruit training, he headed to the School of Infantry East at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He was first stationed in Georgia and later checked into his second duty station at 29 Palms, California, where fate was aligned.

Originally, Brody planned to never see anyone from boot camp again, but upon checking in to 3/4, he saw a friendly face he wasn’t expecting. Soon after seeing him, Reilly and Brody reminisced about their short time together on Parris Island.

“He looked very familiar to me,” said Reilly, the fire direction control chief with 3/4. “We talked, and I instantly remembered him. I had a nickname for him. I called him Adrian Brody, like the actor.”

Reilly and Brody were given the opportunity to compete side-by-side in Puckapunyal, Australia, at the Australian Army Skills at Arms Meeting, May 14-26, 2017.

“I think it’s really cool that I got to have a hand in his initial training that led him to being here competing in an international competition,” said Reilly, a native of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania.

Brody said knowing somebody in this competition makes everything smoother.

“It’s like a natural team; we already knew each other and fate brought us back together,” said Brody.
Reilly has mentored Brody throughout his career by watching over him to ensure he gets the best shot he can.

“He is always helping me along, but especially seeing as he used to be my PMI, he takes interest in how I’m doing,” said Brody. “It’s great because even now with the knowledge that I have already, even if there is just little things that I can improve on, he is there.”

Looking back, Reilly said he is proud of the Marine Brody has become.

“It’s cool to see the recruits that you trained and then to see how they turned out as Marines,” said Reilly. “I think it’s pretty serendipitous that I get to work with somebody that I trained.”

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