MM3 Eric M. Delaney

Former ‘bad kid’ changes his life with Navy experience

August 30, 2012 // 0 Comments

Rockford High School graduate Eric Delaney of the class of 2009 said he never believed he had much of a future. He said his youth wasn’t easy growing up in the Walker and Wyoming areas and in many ways he was his own worst enemy with a bad attitude and grudge against the way his life was going. Despite being very smart and naturally drawn to chemistry, he doubts he would have amounted to much in life they way he was going. Slight, at five foot six and just 125 pounds, he had a tendency to see the worst in life and had a chip on his shoulder. He described himself back then as selfish, narcissistic and disrespectful of himself and those around him. “I am the black sheep of my family,” he stated in no uncertain terms. After graduating from high school, however, he made a resolution that made all the difference in the world. “I decided I wanted to prove my family wrong,” he said. He joined the United States Navy. Delaney said the first 10 days of being in the military were the worst 10 days of his life. “I wanted to leave, I won’t lie,” he admitted. He said there is a term for the sudden alteration of his daily reality as a new boot camp attendee. “They call it culture shock. You are so miserable, scared and sleep-deprived.” Delaney said for the first 24-hours in boot camp the participants do not have the opportunity to rest or sleep. “You are awake 24 hours with no caffeine; some of them are coming down from nicotine. In any branch of the military they break you down.” He did note that the military “can’t physically mess with you until you are medically cleared.” But after that, “it’s game-on.” Through the haze of mountain hikes, strict regimentation and intense physical training, Delaney said something happened to him that went beyond the agony of the regime. His worst experiences—jumping jacks in five-pound boots (“at about 30 you are starting to cry,” he said) and a grueling form of pushups called “twinkle twinkles”—Delaney found he had the strength of determination to take the punishment and to respect himself for it. His own growing sense of self […]