When you think about some of the most romantic places you’ve been, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., probably doesn’t top that list.
But Cpl. Jonathan Camp said his boot camp graduation day was one of the happiest of his life. So when his girlfriend, Pfc. Kathleen Finn, had her own graduation day there, Camp thought it’d be the perfect place to ask her to marry him.
Camp, 21, is an infantryman currently working on recruiting assistance duty in Erie, Pa. He drove nearly 15 hours down to Parris Island to see Finn, 22, graduate. He brought poolees – prospective Marine recruits – with him to give them a sense of what they’ll see when they get to boot camp.
Adam McCoy, a high school senior, was one of the poolees who traveled down to the depot with Camp. During the long road trip, Camp was listening to Matt Nathanson’s “Come On Get Higher” and he told McCoy the song reminded him of his girlfriend.
So McCoy filmed the the big moment during Family Day on Jan. 3 and posted the video to YouTube with Nathanson’s song playing as the soundtrack. It shows Camp in a sea of family members looking for his girlfriend, but she finds him first. Camp said he then pulled her away from everyone and brought her outside near the sand pit so he could ask her to be his wife.
“A lot of girls were getting yelled at by the drill instructors for [public displays of affection],” he said. “I knew if I got down on one knee and made a big deal of it that she’d get yelled at, which was why I didn’t wear my uniform. I didn’t want to attract attention and get her in trouble.”
But some of the other soon-to-be Marines saw what was going on and got excited, he said, so her DI yelled anyways.
Camp met Finn in college. He said he was planning to go to Officer Candidates School, but joined as an enlisted Marine instead. Finn was studying criminal justice with plans to become a police officer.
“She said she saw changes in me after I became a Marine, so she decided to join, too,” Camp said.
She was an inch too short to be a military policewoman, he said, but she was determined to join anyways.
“She’s very motivated,” he said. “She was already invested in becoming a Marine. I told her maybe the Army or Air Force had lower height requirements, but she wanted to be a Marine.”
Just eight days after proposing, Camp and Finn are getting married today. He said he’s going to put in a request to transfer to be with his new wife.