MANSFIELD, Ga. – When classes for Mercer University law students end this spring, rising senior and former Mansfield council member Bret Dunn won’t be joining his classmates spending the summer at the beach or working at a law firm. He’ll be in Quantico, Virginia learning how to lead Marines.
Dunn announced his acceptance into the highly selective Marine Corps Officer Candidates School in a Facebook post earlier this week. He told The Covington News he’s always wanted to be a Marine.
“My dad was a Marine. I think that was a huge thing,” he said. “My dad was what they call a 'real Marine.' He was a 0311 machine gunner and I’ve always really admired my dad. And I’ve always had the strongest sense of service that I couldn’t avoid.
“I tried different things, looked at different career paths, worked at a different law firm. And that’s great and I appreciate everybody that helped me out in that way and let me do those things, but I never could get fulfillment - never. And every time I’d see a Marine commercial on TV or anything like that, it’d just eat me up. And I said I don’t want to have to go to the grave one day knowing I didn’t do it and I should have done it.”
He said the five-member Officer Selection Board consisting of captains and majors has high standards for acceptance.
“There are certain minimum requirements, obviously. That’s how you get to the board," he said. “They’re going to look at your PFT (physical fitness test) score. They’re going to look at what kind of academics you have? What do you offer the Marines?
“The Marines are a little bit different. They are not a big branch. They can be very selective, which I was denied sometimes. They’re not getting any bigger. This time, I made sure I put together the very best packet I could. I’ve got pretty good grades, I’ve got a 3.6. And I got Governor Kemp to write me a letter and I got Senator Strickland a letter so I did tap into those avenues. And it worked.”
Dunn said he also did well on the PFT consisting of a three-mile run, pull-ups and crunches.
“The crunches are basically sit-ups for all intents and purposes,” he said. “You’re on your back grabbing your biceps. Somebody is sitting on your feet and you’re going up to the meaty part of your thigh, touching 155 times in two minutes. I was perfect on that one.
“The run is three miles. A perfect score is 18 minutes or less, so obviously, that’s really humming. My best score ever was 19:57, this time I got 20:57. The pull-ups, 23 pull-ups is a perfect score and I got 15. By the time I get to Quantico, I expect a 300 PFT.”
The former Alcovy High School football captain said he wants the responsibility that comes with leading Marines.
“I wanted to be the one that takes ownership. And I think as an officer, if you’re a platoon leader or whatever you are, everything rises and falls based off of you. No one else to blame,” he said,” If you’re a senior non-commissioned officer, you can still blame that captain. If you’re the captain, though, you’re the company commander, you’re not blaming anybody. You’re blaming you.”
The Georgia State University grad said that after he completes OCS this summer, he will come back to finish law school as a Marine officer. He said although he’s joining the Corps as a lawyer, he’ll still have to learn how to lead Marines into combat.
“I’ll take the Bar (exam) in July and then in September, I’m going to go what’s called the Basic School, which is a six month school at Quantico” he said,” Every Marine officer, no matter what your MOS (military occupational specialty) is going to be, you’ve got to learn how to lead Marine Corps rifle platoon. That’s what the Marine Corps is.”