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Marine Lab Sees Increase in Applications from Confused ROTC Students

BEAUFORT, NC—Stephen Toth, Director of the Duke Marine Lab, reports a high number of ROTC students applying to the Duke Marine Lab for reasons that may shock you.

While staring wistfully at the waves, Toth explained that “Based on their applications, they seem to be under the impression we’re running a ‘Steve Rogers to Captain America’ typa operation here.” His face hardens: “The ones who apply are the lucky ones, though. We can turn them away. But several others have washed up with the tide.”

After further inquiry, Toth clarifies that the students found on the beach are very much alive, just overzealous to show off their strength and crestfallen upon seeing “the vibe” of the Marine Lab. “It’s very different here than at a Marine boot camp,” Toth mentions while slowly cleaning his glasses. After carefully placing them back on his nose, he continues, “We have a more…laissez-faire approach.”

The Marine Lab graciously provides a refuge for these misguided yet spirited future warriors. “One of them shot a crab that pinched me, which was nice,” recalls Lauren Retrop (Trinity ‘25) “but they’ll also sometimes insist on toppling our sandcastles, then blame us for not rebuilding them right.” 

Overall, however, the students of the Marine Lab seem pleased with the arrival of their new companions. And the wannabe Marines are benefitting, too.

“I finally learned what ‘respite in beauty’ is,” excitedly recalls ROTC student Jack Gallon (Trinity ‘24) before whispering, “I think sleeping past 5 a.m. is beautiful.”

When asked if he would consider enrolling in the actual Marine Lab, Gallon perked up, exclaiming “There’s a real one? Where?”.

After clarification, Gallon admitted it was time he headed back to Duke. Somberly, the Marine Lab students gathered around the soldier and cracked a bottle of champagne upon his head before the camo-laden boy leapt back into the ocean and paddled away.

“We’ll run out of bottles soon,” sighed Toth, “but to be honest, I don’t mind. Those kids make us happy as clams.”



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