View Full Version : "Making Marines" A Day At Parris Island
02-14-03, 02:09 PM
At Parris Island, S.C., drill instructors put U.S. Marine recruits through a grueling training regimen to prepare them for war. Click a link above to see images from one day at boot camp: Jan. 15, 2003, with audio commentary by photographer Stephen Morton and Marine 2nd Lt. Tammy Megow, Deputy Public Affairs Officer at Parris Island.
02-14-03, 09:03 PM
Drill Instructors have method to their madness
Each year, roughly 21,000 callow youths are chiseled into hardened Marines at Parris Island boot camp, a proving ground for all men who enlist east of the Mississippi and women from across the country. Most are in their late teens or early 20s.
Each comes here for his or her own reasons. Some are from military families. Others are lured by the sheer challenge. Some are hoping to combat aimlessness. A few have turned their backs on college scholarships to become U.S. Marines.
Whatever their goal, the recruits all face the same obstacles, and plenty of them, both physical and mental. The first two to three weeks are the hardest.
“They want to get as far away from here as they can,” says Sgt. Bell. “They haven’t learned to love the Marine Corps yet.”
The rules of combat training are like those of nature: only the strong survive.
Not all who enlist will make it through basic. The attrition rate is about 11 percent for men, 15 percent for women. Injuries, failure to pass drug testing or an inability to conform to the military way of life are among the reasons recruits get sent home. Some may be forced out due to homosexuality.
Recruits who are not physically able to keep up with the rest of their squad are given additional strength training. Injured recruits stay at a rehabilitation center on base until they are able to rejoin their peers.
There’s no escape.
Especially when it costs the Marines $11,600 to recruit each young man and woman, and another $14,300 to put each one through basic training.
The officials on Parris Island delight in warning recruits that should they decide to swim to freedom, they could meet up with an unfriendly shark or two. Not many are willing to test that claim.
The island is surrounded by acres of salt water swamp; the only way in or out is a two-lane causeway monitored by an armed sentry.
Eventually, recruits learn to coexist with the relentlessly pesky sand fleas, and swarms of armor-piercing mosquitoes.
There is little time off from training, and recruits are not allowed to explore the island or go into town, watch television or read newspapers. Their only communication with the outside world is through letters.
Wake-up is 5 a.m., and lights-out is 9 p.m. With the exception of eight hours of sleep and one hour of free time per day to write home and prepare their gear for the next day, every waking minute is filled with drills, target practice, physical training, and more drills. And, of course, drill instructors.
Should you visit Parris Island and come across a grown man out in the woods screaming at a tree, just keep moving.
You could end up with a ruptured eardrum, or on the wrong end of a highly animated sermon.
This tree screamer is likely a Marine Corps DI — those larger-than-life men, and now, women, who are in the recruits’ faces, and on their backs, 24 hours a day, seven days a week through basic.
They use trees as “target practice,” so to speak, their voice being the ammunition.
They are trained to perfect a trademark, piercing stare that, even when shadowed by their “Smokey Bear” hat, can liquefy the insides of most mortals.
“What you see is not anger, it’s controlled training,” explains Sgt. Jonathan Agee, the marketing and public affairs officer for the Springfield recruiting station in Chicopee, Mass.
Tell that to the recruits.
On this afternoon, perched atop a 5-foot tall brick wall, a drill instructor berates four squad leaders below who just finished countless push-ups in a large sand pit. When their arms become Jello, he orders them to practice another drill until it’s perfect. But of course, it never is.
Later in the day, out at the gas chamber, a male recruit’s urgent request to visit the “head,” or toilet, is met with disdain. “It’s an emergency,” the recruit, in line with his platoon, explains to the DI.
“Emergency? I don’t hear any lights and sirens,” the DI responds.
The young man gets permission to go, but not without a dose of embarrassment. He is given a flashlight, which he must simultaneously turn on and off while shouting, “woo, woo, woo,” on his jog to the head.
No one is born a DI. It takes a 12-week, intense course taught at Parris Island that is actually tougher than basic training. The DI voices, especially, take a beating, and many end up with permanent vocal chord damage from all the yelling. The result is a voice that sometimes sounds mechanical, downright non-human, and definitely frightening.
But that’s intentional.
These lean, mean drill instructors, with their Smokey Bear hats, or campaign cover, are all spit and polish, charged with transforming civilians into disciplined, physically fit, self-confident fighting machines in a span of 90 days.
The DIs — there are usually three assigned to a platoon of 60 to 80 recruits — commands immediate response from the recruits. They demand and expect respect at all times.
The DI also carries a hefty responsibility. He or she must make sure that each recruit drinks more than a dozen canteens of water daily, that the daily schedules are adhered to, and that their young charges attend religious service and classroom instruction.
DIs also are at times mentor, parent, disciplinarian and, believe it or not, friend. They require a professional athlete’s stamina and a college professor’s knowledge.
“It’s the hardest job I’ve had in the Marine Corps,” remarks Staff Sgt. Yeomen English, the Parris Island DI who delivers the first taste of military life to new recruits.
About 10 years ago. the Corps instituted strict policies that prohibit drill instructors from using profanity or inflicting physical abuse of any kind — hitting, slapping, punching — on the recruits.
They still get their point across, though, using a finely honed arsenal of torture that includes their voice, their gaze and lots of PT (physical training). Pain, and discipline, can be inflicted without ever raising a hand.
For recruits, it’s the stuff of nightmares.
“One of the DIs will be walking along [the barracks] at night, and everything’s real quiet, and all of a sudden they’ll hear a recruit shout out, ‘Sir, Yes Sir!’ in his sleep. And they’re dead asleep, snoring,” says Sgt. Jonathan Agee with a laugh.
Not until the end of their boot camp experience will these recruits realize the incredible education the drill instructors have force-fed them.
“You realize the drill instructors are there to form recruits into Marines,” says Kendall Norman, 18, of Brunswick, Maine. “It’s not the old Marine Corps boot camp everybody makes it out to be. It’s not home, that’s for sure. But you have three DIs who are there constantly making sure you are fed, dressed, bathed...you have people taking care of you,” Norman says, adding, “but they are assertive.”
And while the DIs would never admit it to the recruits, they, too, feel the bond.
“You grow very attached to them,” says 1st Lt. Marie Landry, a drill instructor who’s been with the Corps since 1985, referring to a group of young women due to be discharged for injuries and other reasons. “It’s like having 57 daughters, and then they’re gone.”
“All of a sudden, this DI is not a monster. He has a wife, kids at home,” explains Cpl. Eric R. Lucero, a Parris Island combat correspondent. The recruits realize, he said, that “people actually love this guy.”
By week 5, it’s sink or swim
By the fifth week, all recruits head to the indoor pool, not for relaxation, but for a course in combat survival swimming. Before it’s over, everyone learns basic swim strokes, floating techniques, and how to survive in the water wearing a full combat load: including rifle, helmet, boots, flak jacket and pack.
The remainder of the week is filled with academic testing, Marine Corps martial arts program testing and a five-mile march.
Much of the instruction during the second month of boot camp focuses on teaching recruits to confront their own fears as they build upper-body strength. The confidence course, with its 11 obstacle stations, includes the “Slide for Life,” two ropes suspended between 30-foot-high perches, beneath which there is a muddy pond. Recruits must shinny across the ropes, head first, pulling their weight across to the other side.
“Some time today, move your arms!” a DI growls from atop his high perch to a recruit who is stuck mid-way through the course. The young man’s legs are wrapped around the rope, his shaking arms struggle to pull his body forward. The more he tries, the more his hands fail him. His face, contorted with effort, is flush red. Upside down, he loses his grip and splashes into the pond about 30 feet below.
Hands clasped behind his head, prisoner-style, he emerges, dripping, into the path of an unhappy DI, who showers him with dry insults.
Seven more weeks to go.
Next: Recruits face the gas chamber, and the dreaded Crucible.
Exhausted recruits take a brief break from filling out paperwork at around 1 a.m. It will be another 24 hours before they are allowed to sleep.
The first stop is at receiving, where recruits spend a few days getting their first haircut. A pile of hair accumuluates on the floor, intimidating the men waiting in line.
Weeklong instruction on the proper handling of an M-16A2 service rifle, during what is known as "grass week", preceeds recruits' venture onto the rifle range for target practice
02-14-03, 09:47 PM
Roger...I bet that post would be twice as long if you would o done a day in bootcamp in the 60's.....you'd had to talk about all the azz kickings, jumpin jacks in dipsty dumpsters, wisk cocktails, rolling thru the sand spurs in yer scivvies at 0300, more azz kickins, openin M-14 bolts wid yer nose, duck walking.....etc....etc...etc.....
02-15-03, 11:51 AM
You have that right....
There are two locations which turn men into Marines: the Recruit Training Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina, and the Recruit Training Depot at San Diego, California. Where you go depends largely upon where you enlist. Those who enlist west of the Mississippi will likely go through boot camp in San Diego, while those in the East will attend at Parris Island. There is only one boot camp to turn women into Marines -- Parris Island.
Other than geographical differences, such as the lack of sand fleas and better outdoor exercise weather for "Hollywood Marines," the training is virtually identical at both locations. For simplicity's sake, this feature will concentrate on the units and programs at Parris Island.
The Recruit Training Regiment at Parris Island is made up of four recruit training battalions and one support battalion. The regiment, along with with Weapons and Field Training Battalion, are made up of drill instructors and other Marines who are responsible for training recruits.
First Recruit Training Battalion: Within First Battalion, there are four companies, Co. A, Co. B, Co. C, and Co. D. Each company contains an average of six, 60- to 80-recruit platoons. First Battalion trains only male recruits. First Recruit Training Battalion was established Aug. 6, 1940, 25 years after Parris Island was designated a recruit training depot. One of the battalion's original buildings, a white H-style wooden barracks still remains and serves as the battalion headquarters.
Second Recruit Training Battalion: Within 2nd Battalion, there are four companies, Co. E, Co. F, Co. G, and Co. H. Each company contains an average of six, 60 to 80-recruit platoons. Second Battalion trains only male recruits. In August 1940, the Depot initiated the battalion training system to expedite the processing of recruits. The 2nd Recruit Training Battalion was commissioned Aug. 7, 1940, and became an active command on Sept. 12, 1940. When the Armed Forces were integrated in 1949, 2nd Battalion was the first battalion to train black recruits. In September of that year blacks were integrated into regular platoons. Second Battalion has seen some notable Marines in our Corps serve in its ranks. Former Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, SgtMaj. Sommers, was a drill instructor in 2nd Battalion from 1967 to 1969. In addition, former Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, SgtMaj. Lewis G. Lee, served as the battalion sergeant major from December 1985 to June 1988.
Third Recruit Training Battalion: Within 3rd Battalion, there are four companies, I, K, L, and M. Each company contains an average of six, 60 to 80-recruit platoons. Third Battalion trains only male recruits. Third Battalion was initially formed on Aug. 7, 1940, and existed throughout World War II until it was deactivated on June 18, 1947. The battalion was reformed the following year and was used to train draftees from Aug. 2, 1948, to Jan. 8, 1949, when it was again disbanded. In February 1949, the battalion was reactivated and it was used exclusively for the training of women Marines until May 7, 1954, when a separate women's battalion was formed, and male recruits and instructors from 4th Recruit Training Battalion were designated as the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion. On Feb. 28, 1955, the battalion was again deactivated, then reformed on Oct. 15, 1955, only to be temporarily closed on Oct. 25, 1957. Then on July 1, 1958, with the completion of the Depot's first brick recruit barracks, the battalion was re-established and has continued to serve the Marine Corps Recruit Depot.
Fourth Recruit Training Battalion: Within 4th Battalion, there are three companies, N, O, and P. Each company contains an average of two, 50 to 60-recruit platoons. Fourth Battalion trains only female recruits. On March 23, 1949, the first female recruit platoon, aptly named Platoon One, graduated from the then 3rd Recruit Training Battalion. Since then, Parris Island has been the starting block for all enlisted female Marines. Over the years, female training has changed greatly due to the changing roles and society's attitude toward women in the military. Today's female recruits undergo field and weapons training, while 20 or 30 years ago this was unheard of. Male and female recruit training is now identical. On May 7, 1954, the female recruits of the then 3rd Recruit Training Battalion moved to a new separate battalion which eventually became the separate Women's Recruit Training Command. In 1986, Women's Recruit Training Command was rejoined with the Recruit Training Regiment and became the current 4th Recruit Training Battalion.
Parris Island graduates more than 17,000 Marines per year. The average daily male recruit population is 3,786. The average daily female recruit population is 600. The average age of male recruits is 19.1, and female recruits is 19.3.
02-15-03, 12:01 PM
Without doubt, Marine boot camp is more challenging -- both physically and mentally -- than the basic training programs of any of the other military services. Not only are the physical requirements much higher, but recruits are required to learn and memorize a startling amount of information. The more you can prepare in advance, the better off you will be.
It's important that you get into some semblance of physical shape. Concentrate on running three miles and long marches (up to 10 miles). Sit-ups and pull-ups are also important. If you are unable to perform basic exercises, you may spend a significant amount of time in PCP (the Physical Conditioning Platoon). PCP is tough: PCP's objective is physical fitness, and that's what you'll be conentrating in while in the program. Individual remain in PCP until they can While it is normally a 21 day program, once you're in, you don't get out until you can do 3 pull ups, 40 sit ups in 2 minutes, and run 3 miles in 28:00 minutes.
If you arrive overweight, your Drill Instructor will put you on a "Diet Tray" for your meals. (On the other hand, if you arrive underweight, you may be put on "double-rations.")
A word About Your Pay
Direct Deposit is mandatory for military pay. You should already have a bank account set up before you leave for basic training, and bring your account information and an ATM/debit card with you. If you don't have an account set up, one of the first things the staff will do is require you to establish an account at the base credit union or base bank. However, it may be several weeks before the bank can give you a debit card, which will impact on your ability to access your pay.
During your in-processing, you will complete paperwork to begin your military pay. Military personnel are paid on the 1st and 15th of each month. If those days fall on a non-duty day, you are paid on the duty day, preceeding. Your pay is direct-deposited into your bank account.
So, when will you receive your first paycheck? Good question, and one that can't be answered accurately. In general, if your military pay information is entered into the Finance Computer System prior to the 7th of the month, you'll receive your first paycheck on the following 15th. If the information is entered into the Finance Computer System after the 7th of the month, but prior to the 23rd of the month, you'll receive your first paycheck on the following 1st. However, please note that the date you fill out the paperwork during in-processing and the date the information is input into the Finance Computer System are not the same dates. A Finance Clerk is going to take the paperwork you filled out, and enter it into the Computer. However, the clerk is entering the information of hundreds of other recruits at the same time, so it may take several days before yours gets entered. I always advise people to estimate that the first paycheck won't be deposited until a full 30 days after arrival. That way, if you're paid before that, it's an unexpected surprise, and if it takes the entire 30 days, it's what you were expecting anyway.
In any case, your first paycheck will contain all the pay you have coming to you at that point. For recruits without dependents, that means base pay, only. For those with dependents, it means base pay and housing allowance. Your first paycheck will be "pro-rated" to the number of days you've been on active duty. For example, if you receive your first paycheck 30 days after arrival, you will receive the full-rate of the monthly basic pay in that paycheck, and (if you have dependents), the full rate for the monthly housing allowance. If, however, you receive your first paycheck two weeks after arrival, it will contain 1/2 of the monthly base pay, and 1/2 of the monthly housing allowance (for those with dependents). Of course, taxes and other deductions (such as deductions for non-issue items, such as running shoes, soap, shampoo, laundery, ect.) are taken out.
In Marine boot camp, you'll start drill almost immediately. A few hours studying basic drill and ceremony will help immensely. As with the other services, you should memorize U.S. Marine Corps Rank.
Additionally, your recruiter should have told you to memorize the 11 General Orders for a Sentry. While not mandatory, the Marine Rifle Creed is nice to know. You should also memorize the Marine's Hymn, all of it, if possible, but at least the first verse.
Wait -- that's not all (I told you it was tough). You'll need to memorize the USMC Core Values, study Marine Corps history, and commit the characteristics of the M16A2 Rifle to memory. Round all of this out by memorizing the Code of Conduct.
If you don't know how to swim, try to learn before you leave for boot camp. Before you graduate, you'll have to demonstrate basic swimming skills.
The other services have lists of what you should or should not bring with you. The Marines make it simple: Don't bring anything except your important papers (such as driver's license, social security card, and banking information), except the clothes on your back. Everything you need will be issued to you. For non-issue items, it will be issued, and the cost taken out of your pay.
Marine boot camp is officially 12 weeks of training, plus 1 week of processing -- this isn't quite fair, as the training and discipline starts as soon as you step off the bus at Receiving.
Receiving. The other services give you a slight break during the in-processing phase. Not the Marine Corps: Discipline starts the second you walk off the bus. Like Air Force Basic Training, you'll immediately find out that Marine Corps drill instructors are addressed (loudly) as "Sir," or "Ma'am." You won't even get into the building before you're given your first lesson -- you'll be instructed that Article 86 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice prohibits absence without leave. Article 91 prohibits disobedience to a lawful order. Article 93 prohibits disrespect to a senior officer. Those are absolute, non-breakable laws that you will live by for the next 13 weeks.
You'll most likely begin the process late at night, or in the early morning hours. The other services do a quick processing and allow you to rack out for the rest of the night. In the Marine Corps, you'll be up the entire first night, and all of the next day (so get plenty of sleep on that bus, train, or plane).
During this day and a half, you'll complete paperwork processing, get your hair all cut off, turn in every single bit of civilian clothing and articles you own, be issued initial uniforms & field gear (canteen, web belt, poncho, field jacket, gloves, etc.), and various needed personal items which will come from the PX (these items will be deducted from your pay).
During this period, you will learn something very important about Marine boot camp: everything is done "by the numbers" -- including the simple process of going to the bathroom (excuse me, "head") and taking a shower.
March to shower head
Pull the ring and wet your head
Soap your head and face thoroughly
Soap your left arm. Etc.
You'll spend between 3-5 days in Receiving. During this time, you'll think you're already in boot camp. Drill Instructors will be yelling at you, you'll do some drill, some marching, wear uniforms, eat, drink, shower, and um.....other things "by the numbers," get chewed out some more, learn to make your bunk (I mean "rack"), etc.
While in Receiving, you'll be given the Initial Strength Test (IST). To pass (and avoid the Physical Conditioning Platoon), you'll be required to do 2 dead-hang pull-ups, 44 crunches in 2 minutes, and a 1.5 mile run in 13.5 minutes (males). Females are required to run 1.5 miles in 15 minutes, perform a flex-arm hang of 12 seconds, and do 44 crunches in 2 minutes.
However, you ain't seen nothing yet. After your stint in Receiving, you'll be transported to your new home to meet your Senior Drill Instructor and his/her two assistants.
02-15-03, 12:03 PM
Basic Training is broken down into three basic phases: The First Phase is Basic Learning; physical and mental. The Second Phase is Rifle Training and the Third Phase is Field Training.
Week 1. The first part of week one is called "forming." The Drill Instructors "form" new recruits by a process known as "total immersion."
Immediately, you'll be expected to learn a brand new vocabulary (no mistakes allowed!). You don't go "upstairs," you go "topside." You don't go downstairs, you go "down below." Your bunk becomes a "rack." The latrine is a "head." The floor is a "deck." The walls are "bulkheads." The windows are "portholes." the ceiling is an "overhead." You face "forward." Behind you is "aft." Facing forward, left is "port," and right is "starboard." Never, EVER call the D.I.'s office an "office." It is, and always will be the "D.I. House."
Third-person language is also a cardinal rule. It's not "me," or "I," it's "this recruit." It's not "them," or "us," it's "these recruits," or "those recruits." Never, EVER, say the word, "you" to your drill instructor. The proper phrase would be "Sir, this recruit does not understand the drill instructor's request, sir." (Shouted at the top of your lungs, of course).
While I use the word, "D.I." in this article, Never, EVER call your drill instructor a "D.I." Your drill instructor is referred to as "Drill Instructor [Rank] [Name]."
A Word About "Punishment"
We didn't get "dropped," so to speak, at Parris Island (I just graduated last Friday so my information is as accurate as it gets). If you mess up a general order, they'll usually give you another chance to get it right. If it's obvious you don't know what the hell you're talking about, they'll either send you to the quarterdeck or, if they can't quarterdeck you right then, they'll give your name to the scribe, and you'll be put on one of two lists: the "Kill List," which the drill instructor will call everyone on the kill list up to the quarterdeck later on and smoke them, or the Firewatch List, where you'll get to wake up at 0100 or so and stay awake for an hour doing next to nothing. There's 16 firewatch per night, so everybody gets firewatch every 4-5 nights, but firewatch as punishment is always brutal on a night you were hoping to sleep. The quarterdeck can last a long, long time. I was up there for a total of about 4 hours on Christmas Eve (I didn't qualify my first try on the rifle range, but shot Sharpshooter the next time out). You're basically exercising your @$$ off and sounding off at the top of your lungs at the same time. Anything from pushups, crunches, running in place, arm rotations, side straddle hops, steam engines and more can be used on the quarterdeck or the pit. If you're a guide, squad leader, or "special recruit," expect to get smoked on a daily basis. I was only up on the quarterdeck 8 or 9 times total in the 12 weeks of training (there's no physical punishment during Receiving).
Submitted by Jason, a member of our message forum.
Drill instructors are not supposed to use profanity, nor are they allowed to physically touch a recruit (other than for safety reasons, such as on the weapon's range). So, how to they maintain discipline? In the other services, it may be push-ups, or possibly some running. In the Marine Corps, you get "quarter-decked."
Your three drill instructors work as an effective team. The senior D.I. gives most of the commands and orders. The "second hat," or "Heavy A," singles out those who seem to be having problems understanding simple shouted English and administers note-worthy tongue-lashings. To keep things interesting, the "Third Hat," administers the physical discipline, known officially as IPT (Incentive Physical Training), unofficially known as "quarter-decking."
IPT consists of prescribed exercises (a maximum of five minutes outside in "the pit," no maximum inside). Exercises one can expect if one is "quarter-decked" are: bends & thrusts, leg lifts, side lunges, mountain climbing, running in place, side straddle hops, and push-ups, done as fast as the D.I. can "encourage" you to. D.I.'s use a combination of individual and group IPTs to keep the platoon "on their toes."
During the "forming" portion of week one, you and your platoon won't be able to do anything right, and you'll be quarter-decked often. Some "jobs" can expect to be quarter-decked more than usual. Because of their relative high-visibility, the person chosen as platoon leader, as well as squad leaders, and those chosen to be "administrative assistants" to the Senior D.I. can expect more than their fair share of quarter-decking.
One more word about discipline: It's a whole lot easier to get into Marine boot camp than it is to get out of it. The Marines traditionally only fail about 15 percent of all recruits. D.I.'s are a stubborn lot, and while it's possible to finally get thrown out, the way to discharge will be long and hard (simply refusing is not an option -- that way lies court-martial).
Almost every single day of Marine boot camp you'll experience Physical Training (P.T.). This normally consist of six limbering exercises, followed by the "daily dozen" (side-startle hops, bends & thrusts, rowing exercise, side benders, leg lifts, toe touches, mountain climbing, trunk twisters, push-ups, bend and reach, body twists, and squat benders), up to 15 reps each, and up to three sets of each. This is in addition to required runs and long-distance marches.
Most nights you'll get a full 8 hours of uninterruped sleep. However, the Marine Corps Recruit Training Regulation allows the Basic Training Commanding General to reduce this requirement to 7 hours. The above does not apply when a recruit is required to perform guard duty, fire/security watch, mess duty, or when the series/company is engaged in scheduled night events. Under such circumstances, the hours of sleep may be reduced to a minimum of six hours. When such a deviation is authorized, the eight-hour sleep regimen will be restored as soon as possible after the event/circumstances no longer exist. During the Crucible Event, recruits will normally receive four hours of sleep per night.
In addition to 8 hours of sleep, you'll get some "free time" each day. The purpose of free time is to allow recruits to read, write letters, watch instructional television (ITV), and to take care of other personal needs. It is a period when no training is received by recruits and no instruction is conducted by Drill Instructors. Free Time is intended to be a relief period from close, constant association for both recruits and DI�s and to take care of personal hygiene and other personal needs. The Marine Corps Recruit Training Regulation requires the DIs to give you one hour of uninterrupted free time each evening, beginning on the first training day, while in garrison (ie, not out in the field), Monday through Saturday, and four hours on Sundays and holidays while in garrison. Company commanders may authorize two hours of free time on Saturdays. However, company commanders may also suspend free time for recruits as a result of punishment imposed by administrative or legal proceedings. Mail is passed out each day by the DI�s prior to free time.
You may not think you have any rights in boot camp, but you would be mistaken. The Marine Corps Recruit Training Regulation lists the following "recruit rights:"
(a) Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, except under the conditions mentioned earlier in this article
(b) One hour of free time daily, unless removed for punishment, and during processing, forming, weapons and field/combat training, and the Crucible
(c) 20 minutes to consume each meal.
(d) Attend sick call.
(e) Attend scheduled religious services.
(f) Request mast via the chain-of-command.
(g) Make and receive emergency phone calls.
(h) Receive mail on the day it is received by the parent company except for Sundays, holidays, and during the Crucible Event.
(i) Send mail without fear of censorship.
(j) Make head calls.
(k) Use medication prescribed by a certified military medical officer.
02-15-03, 12:04 PM
The Marine Corps has recently increased emphasis on close combat training, and you'll begin this training during week one with an introduction to bayonet fighting. You'll also experience your first 1.5 mile formation run, and be introduced to your closest buddy in boot camp: your M16A2 rifle.
(Author's Note: Added on Nov 26, 2000: The Marine Corps has added martial arts to its Boot Camp program � the biggest change to boot camp since the Crucible was added four years ago. The first company of Parris Island recruits began the new training program Nov. 14, and recruits at San Diego Recruit Depot were scheduled to begin martial arts training soon after. Recruits will get about 15 hours of martial-arts training at boot camp and will receive another six hours of training during the Marine Combat Training. Only then will qualified Marines earn their first belt, which is tan. Ultimately, Marines can work toward a gray, green, brown or black belt throughout their careers.)
No article on Marine boot camp would be complete without mentioning this very important aspect. During your 13 weeks, you will spend countless hours taking this rifle apart, cleaning it thoroughly, and putting it back together. Countless hours!
The remaining hours of week 1 (what hours?) will be comprised of various academic classes.
Week 2. In week 2, you'll continue learning the basics of close combat skills, including the infamous "pugil sticks." Many recruits are somewhat apprehensive about this phase of training, but then find out how much fun it really is. It's almost impossible to get hurt. The recruits are protected by a football helmet and mask, rubber neck roll and crotch cup, and only two kinds of blows are permitted: the slash and the horizontal butt stroke, both to the well-protected head and neck. A clean shot ends the bout. The secret is aggression -- this is not a defensive sport.
A word here about competition. Marine platoons compete against each other in almost every aspect of training, from drills to inspections to pugil sticks to P.T. to academics. For each and every event, trophies are won and displayed prominently in the barracks on the award's table. This is no small matter -- the competition is stiff and the D.I.s (and recruits!) take victories and defeats very seriously.
Also during week two, you'll learn field first aid, attend classes on core values (as well as other academic classes), and receive several hours on basic weapon handling.
Week 3. Week 3 consists of more pugil sticks and close combat training, additional classes on first aid and core values, a 3 mile march (with packs), and the Confidence Course.
The Confidence Course consists of eleven obstacles, designed so that each obstacle is more physically challenging then the last. The obstacles are: (1) Dirty name (2) Run, Jump & Swing (3) The Inclining Wall (4) The Confidence Climb (5) Monkey Bridge (6) The Tough One (7) Reverse Climb (8) Slide for Life (9) the Hand Walk (10) The Arm Stretcher, and (11) The Sky Scraper. While these names sound daunting, the course is designed so the average platoon can run it in 45 minutes. Like pugil sticks, the Confidence Course is a great morale builder, as most of the recruits find out they can negotiate the obstacles with ease (after a little practice and "encouragement" from ever-vigilant D.I.s).
Week 4. During the fourth week, there will be even more training with pugil sticks and additional training in close combat skills (I told you there was increased emphasis on this). In addition to the daily P.T., there will be further academic classes (including more core values training).
The highlight of week 4 is the individual drill evaluation. Your platoon will be evaluated, graded, and compared to the other platoons. The winning platoon, of course, receives a trophy for the trophy table. The losing platoons receive the wrath of their respective D.I.s.
02-15-03, 12:06 PM
Week 5. The biggest event of week 5 is Combat Water Survival. All Marines must pass basic water survival skills in order to graduate from boot camp (those who don't pass will receive extensive remedial training until they do). Also this week will be a 5 mile hike a test on Marine Customs & Courtesies, more training in first aid, a full-blown inspection (uniforms, rifles, questions, etc.), and (of course) more classes on core values.
Week 6 and 7. These two weeks are dedicated to extensive weapons training. More so than any other service, the Marine Corps provides all-out live-fire training with the M-16 rifle. You'll fire on a variety of courses, still and moving and pop-up targets, normal ranges, combat ranges, etc. All Marines must qualify as a "marksman" before this two week period is complete (and virtually all will).
Before you actually get to fire however, you will practice aiming and dry-firing your rifle until you simply can't stand it anymore. By the time you fire that first actual shot, you'll have dry-fired your rifle in every conceivable position thousands of times.
In addition to rifle training, during these two weeks, you'll receive basic training on grenades and other types of weapons.
During week 7, you'll also experience a 6 mile night march, and get another chance at the Confidence Course.
Week 8. Week 8 is called "Team Week," which means you get to spend all of your time working at the "mess hall" or some other glamorous detail.
This is much better than it sounds, however; for an entire week, you'll be free of the incessant presence of the T.I.s (to be replaced with the relatively gentler attitudes of the mess sergeants). Additionally, you'll enjoy using your status as a "senior recruit" to help, um.....motivate brand new recruits as they stumble throw the chow hall lines. (BTW, the best way to tell "senior" recruits from the newbies is to look at their haircuts. Bald heads indicates new recruits, while stubble, or "high & tights" indicate more senior recruits).
One word of warning. Enjoy it while it lasts......when you return to your platoon at the end of this week, you'll more likely than not discover that your D.I. thinks you've grown sloppy and undisciplined during the week, and will expend extra effort for the next few days in returning you and the rest of the platoon to his/her version of disciplined recruits. This "re-transformation" will most likely require several applications of "quarter-decking."
Week 9. The ninth week will consist almost entirely of the fundamentals of field firing, in preparation for field training during the tenth week. There will also be a 10 mile march (with packs) during week 9. If you havn't experienced blisters yet during your time in boot camp, you most likely will experience it during week 9.
02-15-03, 12:07 PM
Week 10. During week 10, you'll start putting all of your training together during field training. You'll learn the fundamentals of patrolling, firing, setting up camp, and more. In the field is also where you will get your nuclear-biological-chemical (i.e. gas chamber) experience. (See article on Army Boot Camp for advice on how to survive this episode).
Week 11. During week 11, you get a chance to put everything you've learned in boot camp to the test. The week starts with the biggest competition of all: The Company Commander's Inspection. Not only are you being judged here, but your D.I. is being judged as well. It will behoove you to give this inspection every single thing you've got (hint: to don your trousers without breaking the crease, stand on your foot-locker).
Once you've gotten the Company Commander's Inspection out of the way, you'll experience the event to top all events: The Crucible. The Crucible is the final test every recruit must go through to become a Marine. It will test you physically, mentally and morally and is the defining moment in recruit training. The Crucible is no walk in the park, unless your idea of a walk in the park takes place over 54-hours and includes food and sleep deprivation (only four hours of sleep per night)and approximately 40 miles of marching. The entire Crucible event pits teams of recruits against a barrage of day and night events requiring every recruit to work together solving problems, overcoming obstacles and helping each other along. The Crucible Event is designed around Core Value Stations, Warrior Stations, the Confidence Course, Reaction Course, and Movement Course as well as other various mentally and physically challenging events. A final foot march will conclude with a Morning Colors Ceremony and a "Warriors" Breakfast."
The famed "Eagle, Globe and Anchor Ceremony" used to be conducted immediately after the Cruicible. The Eagle, Globe and Anchor is the Marine Corps Emblem -- It signifies that you are a member, always and forever, of the few and the proud.
The ceremony is the most emotional time of basic training, even more so than the graduation parade. Ever seen a grown Marine cry? Try to find a dry eye during this ceremony. In any event, is now held on "family day," the day before the graduation parade. Family members, of course, are highly encouraged to attend this life-changing event.
Week 11 is also known as "Transformation Week." During this week the new Marines are given 1 hour extra free time each evening and wear the rank insignia of the grade to which they were either guaranteed upon enlistment, or earned during recruit training. Also during this week, more responsibility is given to the privates and privates first class and the supervision from the drill instructors is decreased. In fact, drill instructors don't wear their duty belts during this time and many of the Drill Instructors will allow the new Marines call them by their rank, not as "sir" or "ma'am." This week helps these new Marines adjust from being a recruit to being a Marine. (One should note that after boot camp, one should never call enlisted "sir" or "ma'am" again, as some senior enlisted hate that. One should also never use the "third person" when speaking after boot camp.)
Week 12. The final week. D.I.s are no longer yelling (as much). You'll spend this last week learning about theHeroes of the Corps, a class or two on financial management, the relatively easy Battalion Commander's Inspection, more (of course) core value classes, and finally, graduation practice and graduation.
The minimum (core) graduation requirements are:
(1) Pass the physical fitness test and be within prescribed weight standards
(2) Qualify for Combat Water Survival at level 4 or higher
(3) Qualify with the service rifle
(4) Pass the batallion commander's inspection
(5) Pass the written tests
(6) Complete the Crucible
If you fail in any of the above areas, you are subject to be "recycled" (sent backwards in time to another platoon), or may possibly bedischarged.
Seem simple? It's not. Here's how your 13 weeks breaks down in actual hours:
Instructional Time (The Crucible / Combat Water Survival / Weapons and Field Training): 279.5 hours
Core Values / Academics / Values Reinforcement: 41.5
Physical Fitness: 59
Close Order Drill: 54.5
Field Training: 31
Close Combat Training: 27
Conditioning Marches: 13
Senior DI Time (nightly free time): 55.5
Movement Time: 60
Basic Daily Routine: 210
Total: 1518 hours
Still not impressed? Check out the complete list of tasks you will be tested on.
If you do a great job, you just might get promoted. Based on the recommendations of the Senior Drill Instructor, the Commanding General can meritoriously promote recruits who have consistently demonstrated superior performance in the following areas and have no nonjudicial punishment infractions.
a. Physical Fitness
f. Field Skills
All Marines are authorized 10 days of leave, immediately following graduation from boot camp. You'll need the rest, however because boot camp is just the start. You're training is not finished. Following your leave, you'll go on to further your training at the School of Infantry (East) which is located at Camp Geiger, MCB Camp Lejeune, North Carolina (for those who attended basic at Parris Island), or the School of Infantry (West), at Camp Pendleton, CA, for those who attended basic training at San Diego.
Marines who are designated as infantry Marines are assigned to Infantry Training Battalion at the school of infantry for infantry-specialized training. All Marines, entering the Military Occupation Specialties (MOS) of 0311 Rifleman, 0331 Machinegunner, 0341 Motarman, 0351 Assaultman, or 0352 Anti-Tank Guided Missleman, attend this 51 day course. The course is broken down into two phases, starting with a 14-day common skills course, which must be completed by all infantry Marines regardless of specific MOS. Upon completion of the common skills portion, all Marines will then continue to train in their particular infantry MOS for an additional 26 days in the specific technical and live fire qualification skills required of their particular MOS prior to graduation. After graduating from there, these Marines will be assigned to their first permanent duty station.
All other Marines (male and female) are assigned to the School of Infantry to attend the Marine Combat Training (MCT) course. MCT consists of 22 days of battle skills training which enables Marines, regardless of MOS, to operate in a combat environment. Following MCT, Marines attend their MOS schools to learn the trade they are expected to perform for the Marine Corps. The length of MOS training varies, depending on the job. Following MOS training, Marines are assigned to their first permament duty station.
02-19-03, 11:11 PM
Parris Island - The View From Inside
What's Basic Training at Parris Island really like? Take a look at the 12-week schedule.
So you've heard the stories. Maybe you've even seen some less-than-flattering movies on the subject. But what is Marine Corps Basic Training at Parris Island really like? Here's what Marine Corps Training and Education Command has to say:
"Parris Island is the birthplace of basically trained Marines. It is here where America's young men and women transform into Marines. We believe that Marines are forged in a furnace of shared hardship and tough training. This common intense experience creates bonds of comradeship and standards of conduct so strong that Marines will let nothing stand in their way. This belief will continue to be the basis upon which we make Marines.
"Holding on to the high character of the Marines of the past, we look for ways to inculcate the strong values that have become synonymous with the Marine Corps. Through Parris Island's challenging recruit training the Marine Corps is preparing its Marines for the 21st century. Marine Corps recruits are trained not only physically and mentally, but morally as well.
"Forming the bedrock of any Marine's character are the Core Values -- Honor, Courage and Commitment. By incorporating these values into recruit training, the Marine created is not just a basically trained, morally conscious, Marine, but also a better American citizen who will return to society following his or her service to this country."
Parris Island -- The View From Inside
Twelve weeks of the toughest, grittiest military training you'll see. What's it all about? What happens each day? Get a daily breakdown of Basic Training activities.
Can be Enlarged..........
Eleanor, just found your post here on bootcamp...it totally kicks azz! One of my daughters is in the process of trying to join our exclusive club. She has met with a local recruiter and what she has to do now is lose weight. She has to drop about 35-40 pds. She can do it and has started already.
I workout in a gym and my goals physically are obvioulsy different than hers...I don't want to focus her too much on weight training, but cardio and running with some circuit training I'm thinking?
07-01-07, 08:22 AM
I thought I was in trouble, when I see someone using my full name, that is the only time it is used...;) :D
You can call me Ellie...
I can't take the credit on this....It was posted by my late husband...Roger...
I do believe You are right on your theroy;)
Oops, sorry...Ellie. I guess its sorta like when your mom or dad calls you by your full name, lol.
I also just posted in the female Marines section on a thread started by Strawberry. She was getting hammered pretty good on there.