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.


The Drifter

02-14-03, 09:03 PM
Drill Instructors have method to their madness <br />
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...

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.

The Drifter

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.

Line up
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.

The Drifter

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. <br />
<br />
Week 1....

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.

The Drifter

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...

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..........



07-01-07, 07:42 AM
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;)


07-01-07, 08:25 AM
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.