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Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego

Marine sheds 90 pounds to join Corps

By Cpl. Tyler Viglione | Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego | July 15, 2014

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Private Alexander D. Klopfenstein, Bravo Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, stands in a basic warrior stance during the body sparring event of the Crucible at Edson Range aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, July 1.  Klopfenstein is a native of Bakersfield, Calif., and was recruited out of Recruiting Substation Bakersfield East.

Private Alexander D. Klopfenstein, Bravo Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, stands in a basic warrior stance during the body sparring event of the Crucible at Edson Range aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, July 1. Klopfenstein is a native of Bakersfield, Calif., and was recruited out of Recruiting Substation Bakersfield East. (Photo by Cpl. Tyler Viglione)


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Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego --

For many potential recruits, enlisting in the Marine Corps is as easy as talking to a recruiter, but for some, it takes more will power than imaginable.

One Marine, Pvt. Alexander D. Klopfenstein, Platoon 1025, Bravo Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, had to put in some grueling work before he could even consider enlisting in the Marine Corps

Klopfenstein was born in Bakersfield, Calif., but he moved around a lot during his high school years. Eventually the family decided to settle down back in Bakersfield where he became a member of the Bakersfield High School’s swim team until graduating in 2012.

Klopfenstein said he loved to swim and competed in the 50, 200 and 500-meter races.  It wasn’t until he graduated high school that he started dealing with weight problems.

“When I was on the swim team, I would be on a very high caloric diet,” said 20-year-old Klopfenstein. “After the school year was over, I kept eating the way I had been and wasn’t doing enough exercise to burn it all off, which resulted in me gaining a substantial amount of weight.”

At the peak of his weight, and standing at 5 feet 11 inches, Klopfenstein weighed approximately 270 pounds.

He explained that his dream was always to pursue a life in the Marine Corps, but he didn’t know if he would be able to because of his weight.

“When I first went to talk to the recruiter, they told me I was too big to join,” said Klopfenstein. “I knew that I had to do lose the weight and get down to the Marine Corps standards because of how bad I wanted it.”

Klopfenstein began jogging every day and changed his diet to just six small healthy meals in pursuit of his goal.

“The only thing that kept me motivated was that I have always wanted to become a Marine, and I wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass by,” said Klopfenstein.

Months passed while Klopfenstein stayed dedicated to his routine of jogging and eating correctly, and he began to notice the drop in his weight.

Klopfenstein’s motivation and determination did not go unnoticed by the Marines in his recruiting station when he returned some time later.

“For about 2 months before Klopfenstein left for recruit training, he was in our office everyday working on his pull-ups, crunches and sit-ups,” said Staff Sgt. Richard G. Guerrero, station commander, Recruiting Substation Bakersfield East. “We saw the motivation and knew how bad he wanted to be a Marine.”

Klopfenstein’s recruiter and Marines from their office used him as an example for others who wanted to join the Marine Corps and would often say “If Klopfenstein can do it, you can too,” explained Guerrero, a native of Los Angeles.

In April 2014 Klopfenstein arrived at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and began recruit training.

While in recruit training he lost an additional 25 pounds, which dropped his weight to 180 pounds.

Klopfenstein has completed all of the necessary requirements in recruit training and has earned the title Marine.

After recruit training, he will attend Marine Combat Training at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., and then move on to his military occupational specialty school as an intelligence specialist.

“When I first got to recruit training, I couldn’t even run three miles,” said Klopfenstein. “Now I can, and it feels amazing.”



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