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Sgt. Drew Brown, a Drill Instructor with Kilo Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, meets his father Sgt. Maj. Michael Brown after graduating from Drill Instructor School at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island on June 23, 2023. Sgt. Maj. Brown served his first tour as a Drill Instructor in 2004. Nearly 20 years later, his son Drew, began his journey to become a United States Marine Corps Drill Instructor. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Michelle Brudnicki)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Michelle Brudnicki

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9 Aug 2023 | U.S. Marine Corps story by Cpl Colin Harper and Lance Cpl Michelle Brudnicki Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island

Michael Brown joined the Marine Corps on Sept. 29, 1999, where he served as a rifleman. In July of 2004, He received orders to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island to serve a tour as a drill instructor. It was these footsteps that his son Drew Brown decided to follow.

Sgt. Drew Brown was born on March 24, 2000, while his father Michael Brown was serving in the Marine Corps. Because of this, Drew Brown was exposed early to the Marine Corps culture.

“I saw a lot of brotherhood growing up,” said Sgt. Brown, “I had so many big brothers and sisters around the Marine Corps.”

Sgt. Maj. Brown was deployed in the Pacific when the attacks on 9/11 occurred. He was deployed for much of his son’s childhood, but despite the separation, they had a close bond.

“He was gone a lot, but when he was home he made it count,” said Sgt. Brown, “I am very grateful for my dad.”

Drew Brown was drawn to the Marines and their way of life. He knew early on that he wanted to take up the challenge of earning the title of United States Marine. Following in his father’s footsteps, he chose the military occupational specialty of 0311, basic rifleman.

“The Marine Corps is a tight-knit community,” said Drew Brown, “I wanted to feel the personal connections that all Marines share.”

In July of 2018, Drew Brown shipped off to Marine Corps Recruit Training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina. He stood on the famous yellow footprints where his father stood nearly two decades before. It was the second time he would live on the island.

“It was in his blood to serve,” said Sgt. Maj. Brown, “Even if I wasn’t in the picture, he’d want to be a Marine because of what we do and what we stand for.”

Drew Brown graduated recruit training in October 2018 on the Peatross Parade Deck. There, he and Michael Brown met for the first time, not just as father and son, but as United States Marines.

“I’ve always wanted to be just like my dad,” said Drew Brown, “A part of the reason I joined was to understand him better.”

Drew Brown was later assigned to the Infantry Training Battalion in the School of Infantry at Camp Geiger, North Carolina. From there he was assigned to Victor Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines in Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He went on two deployments, during which he experienced the bond that all Marines share.

“I would lay my life down for my Marines,” said Sgt. Brown, “It’s an experience and a connection not everyone can understand.”

Sgt. Brown said one of his biggest goals was to follow his father and wear the famous campaign cover as a Marine Corps Drill Instructor. On April 3, 2023, he decided to pursue that dream. Sgt. Brown returned to Parris Island for the third time to attend the Marine Corps Drill Instructor School.

“The Marine Corps was my first home,” said Sgt. Brown, “Becoming a drill instructor is my way to give back.”

Sgt. Maj. Brown was serving as the Sergeant Major of Support Battalion on Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island while his son was going through Drill Instructor School.

“We used to live on the island in Wake Village,” said Sgt. Maj. Brown, “For him to come back to where it all started is just incredible.”

Sgt. Brown graduated from Drill Instructor School on June 23, 2023. He was assigned to Kilo Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion. The same company where his father worked to create United States Marines.

“I still think fondly of my drill instructors,” said Sgt. Brown, “I want my recruits to look at me and think, that's the Marine I want to be.”

Sgt. Maj. Brown said he’s proud to see who his son has become, not just as a Marine, but as a person and a father.

“I absolutely see him becoming a sergeant major,” said Michael Brown, “He’s not going to be Sgt. Maj. Mike Brown; he’s going to be Sgt. Maj. Drew Brown and create his own path.”

Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island