Thursday, December 2, 2021

Chris Ruckert, who lost 193 pounds to join Marines, is glad to be a Private

By David Cederstrom, Chronicle Staff Writer

In the Feb. 6 issue of The Chronicle we wrote about Chris Ruckert of Hartford. At the age of 24, he’d lost 193 pounds — dropping from 399.6 to 207 — in order to fulfill his lifelong dream of joining the U.S. military. He set off to Parris Island in February.

We met him again on June 27, when Pvt. Ruckert was home before the next step in his training.

He said the whole idea behind the Marines’ Parris Island boot camp, which he’s just completed, is, “it may be tough, it may be rough, [but] the fact that you’re experiencing it alongside a group of people that are going after the same thing you are, it makes it easier.”

“It may be horrible, but it’s horrible together,” he said. “It’s not that I made it through, it’s that we all made it through together.”

Now weighing in at 203-204, Pvt. Ruckert said he goes next to Camp Geiger for MCT (Marine Combat Training), followed by MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) school, where he will train to become an MP (Military Police).

Private Chris Ruckert of Hartford, after U.S. Marines Corps boot camp at Parris Island. Chronicle photo/David Cederstrom
Private Chris Ruckert of Hartford, after U.S. Marines Corps boot camp at Parris Island. Chronicle photo/David Cederstrom

The Parris Island experience “met and exceeded” his expectations, Pvt. Ruckert said. “It was extremely challenging, both physically and mentally. They do test you very strenuously physically, [and] they test you mentally, they test you spiritually, and they test you emotionally.”

“The toughest part,” said Pvt. Ruckert, “was being out of contact with the people that you care about, not having the same support system that you would have at home. Until you forge that bond with your platoon mates, there really is a sense of being alone in everything that you’re doing.”

“The platoons that I was involved in seemed to have that connection relatively quickly,” he said. “You pick up on each other, you know when one guy’s having a bad day….It’s inspiring to see two or three recruits go over to another is having a rough time, and be like, ‘What’s going on, bro?’ You support each other.”

He said, “That sense of camaraderie, that sense of brotherhood, that sense of family, really, when you become part of a unit” was one of the things he looked forward to when he joined the Marines.

“I believe that the best part of my experience at Parris Island was getting to be trained and be mentored by the drill instructors,” Pvt. Ruckert said. “All of them are very professional…very, very dedicated to what they do, which is forming recruits into Marines.”

“I’m proud to be serving in the United States Marines, and I’m extremely, extremely grateful for everybody who has had my back, and who offered support” on this journey, Pvt. Ruckert added. “I’m very excited for what lies in the future.”

Pvt. Ruckert achieved his weight loss on the Ideal Protein Cellular Nutrition Plan program, represented locally by Queensbury chiropractor Dr. Jonathan Gerber.

How Chris Ruckert looked before he lost 193 pounds on the Ideal Protein Cellular Nutrition Plan with Queensbury chiropractor Dr. Jonathan Gerber .
How Chris Ruckert looked before he lost 193 pounds on the Ideal Protein Cellular Nutrition Plan with Queensbury chiropractor Dr. Jonathan Gerber .

Dr. Gerber also went to Parris Island this winter, as one of 20 weight loss program representatives the Marine Corps brought in to provide weight loss education.

Dr. Gerber said, “We literally lived the life of a Marine,” getting up at 4 a.m., firing weapons, running the obstacle course.

“It was just great to see the beginning stages” of the training, and see the recruits’ progress, he said.

Copyright © 2015 Lone Oak Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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