In May, a photograph depicting a young recruit sporting a mullet and Budweiser T-shirt making his initial call home aboard the recruit depot in San Diego, California, captured America’s heart and admittedly a few laughs.
Later dubbed “Recruit Mullet” by current and former Marines— the “redneck” recruit, as his uncle, retired Marine Gunnery Sgt. Mike Voorhees describes him — has made his way from the yellow footprints at the recruit depot and through the arduous crucible to complete his transformation into a Marine.
On Friday, Aug. 17, the once former recruit, whose real name is Daniel, graduated with his Lima Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion peers from boot camp in a ceremony held aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.
The famous hairdo and T-shirt combination brazenly sported by the young recruit originally was part of a joke for his high school graduation and follow on celebration, according to his uncle. Daniel actually left for boot camp wearing his grandfather’s button up shirt.
Before his high school graduation, a barber noted to Daniel that it was “free mullet Monday,” the whole thing kind of “started off as a joke,” Voorhees told Marine Corps Times.
“I’m going to bring mullets back,” Daniel said, according to his uncle’s recounting of the story.
But the mullet really didn’t start to take true form until about a week or so out before Daniel shipped to recruit training.
And the Budweiser T-shirt — the family picked those up at a local Walmart for Daniel’s school graduation party. The family rented a party boat on Navajo Lake, New Mexico with family and friends donning the T-shirts. Voorhees said the family wasn’t aware Daniel had the shirt on when he left for boot camp.
“I guess you could call him a redneck,” Voorhees said about his nephew. “He kind of takes after us.”
Before joining the Corps, Daniel used to drive Bobcats, dump trucks, and dirt bikes around.
His uncle says Daniel has gained some interest in the Marine recon community, but his current contract is for motor transport.
Following recruit training, Daniel will head for basic infantry training for non-infantry Marines and then to his initial school house to train for his primary job field.
The famous picture of Daniel’s phone call home from boot camp will likely follow him around for his entire career in the Corps. His uncle says his nephew is aware of his fame, as drill instructors from other platoons used to come over to meet the “famous mullet guy.”
But it also wasn’t Daniel’s only phone call home. Daniel was afforded another opportunity to make a phone call to his folks following his platoon’s victory in initial drill. Initial drill pits platoons against each other as a team-building exercise and competition to see which platoon can follow drill orders the best.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.