Louis Boyd '12
“I wanted to be a Marine for as long as I can remember. My first real memory is from 9/11–I would have been 6 or 7. I remember coming down the stairs and my mom told me ‘get into the kitchen, you’ve got to see this.’ I saw the second tower get hit by the plane and didn’t understand what was going on; I definitely didn’t realize we were about to kick off a 20 year war. I remember watching the US invading Iraq and every night coming home from school, another Marine or service member was killed. I wanted to be out there with those guys–alongside them. I wanted to be boots on the ground.”
Louis came to Minnehaha in 8th grade. He recounts that his high school years were rough for him, “I didn’t necessarily have the greatest time.” He wanted to go to a different school because all his friends were there, but his parents insisted he go to MA because it had been so good for his older brother. “I got in a lot of trouble.”
Looking back, Louis says, “I didn’t take advantage of what was offered at the school.” He viewed MA as a check box that would allow him to move forward and enlist in the Marine Corps. He knew that he wanted to be an ‘Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician’ (EOD), the people who defuse bombs and explosive devices. “Explosives make the Afghan and Iraq conflicts so awful. I wanted to be the guy who walked up in a bomb suit and took care of that.”
The Right Place
“Minnehaha kept me out of more trouble than I could have gotten into, and all the teachers and staff were so understanding. They didn’t kick me to the wayside—they cared about me, got me through school and helped me graduate.” In hindsight, he also realized that MA was "on his side.” As a student, he often got into arguments with teachers and he was even dismissed from the track team. Looking back, he believes it was good for him. “It was better that I was at Minnehaha than anywhere else because the adults, and the other students, cared. In other environments, the people wouldn't have cared as much.”
After his junior year at MA he spent a summer at the Marine Military Academy in South Texas. He loved it and they recommended that he pursue officer training. He didn’t want to do that because he wanted to be an EOD tech, and unfortunately it is not a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) offered to officers, only to enlisted. He made a deal with his parents that he would apply to one college and only one college. If he got in, he would go. If he didn’t get in, he would enlist in the military.
His mom took him on a visit to The Citadel, a military college in South Carolina which has the reputation of being the toughest military school in the nation. He applied, not thinking he would get in, as he didn’t have the best grades nor academic reputation. He was accepted and began a month after graduating. He spent the next four years there. “It was incredible. I loved every second of it. There was incredible camaraderie among the classes. You bleed, sweat, and cry together every step of the way. I made the best friends of my life.”
Finding His Place
Today, Louis has a very official title. He is an Infantry Officer belonging to 1st Battalion 6th Marine Regiment. He has been serving as a training officer for the past 18 months and recently began conducting operational turnover as a rifle platoon commander. His job will be to prepare a platoon (43 Infantry Marines) to be combat ready. He recently got back from a deployment in Eastern Europe and will soon be deploying to Asia. He is currently working on a package to transfer to the Navy. He has traveled all over Eastern Europe and France in his military role.
His advice to current students? “If you want to do something, do it. Don’t take no for an answer. There were many times along the way that people told me ‘no–you can’t do that–you’re not good enough’ or ‘you’re not strong enough.’ Surround yourself with people who believe in you and encourage you to be the person you can be. If you can’t surround yourself with those people, work hard to prove the naysayers wrong.”