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thedrifter
03-11-09, 08:42 AM
Aspiring Marines get a taste of boot camp

By Mary Louise Speer | Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Faces flushed red and voices yelled “Marine Corps” as aspiring Marines ages 17-28 practiced some of the moves they will perform while attending recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depots.

Drill instructor Sgt. Mariana Madrid circled rapidly through the rows, bending over sweating bodies as she issued rapid-fire orders. “I said pay attention to me now. When I say push up, you push,” she ordered, her face glowing with a sheen of perspiration.

Drill instructor Sgt. Gregory Widmar, stationed in front of the group of 45, issued general orders. A sea of blue shirts hit the floor for push-ups and barked “aye, sir” in response to his orders. Widmar told them to repeat the phrase and voices rose in a resounding “aye sir.”

Families watched from the side during the 15-20 minute exercise as young adults got a taste of their future life. The event occurred at the American Legion Hall-Moline during the Recruiting Substation Quad-Cities Family Night activities at the Rock Island Arsenal. The drill instructors are visiting other locations throughout Iowa and Nebraska from March 9-13.

“It was tough more than I expected. I think it’s definitely a good thing to show me what’s going to happen in boot camp,” Shawn Keith, 18, of Cambridge, Ill., said. He will leave for basic training this summer and train for aviation support.

A native of Wisconsin, Widmar is stationed at the recruit depot at San Diego, Calif. A drill instructor was the only thing he ever wanted to be.

Drill instructors attend about 11 weeks of training and they learn to project their voices by using their diaphragm. “If you want them to run fast, you have to run fast. If you want them to scream loud, you have to scream loud,” he said.

He advised the group to learn their rank structure and general orders and prepare physically before attending basic training. “Calling me by the wrong rank would be very bad,” he said.

Getting into good physical condition is also recommended. Madrid is the oldest of five girls and she puts those skills to work in her job at Parris Island, S.C. When her siblings got out of line, they got into trouble with her.

The best advise she can give recruits is when given an instruction, do it. And fast. No arguing. Those skills may save someone’s life someday.

“There’s a war going on. I want to make sure these recruits are trained to the best of my ability so they are not in harm’s way,” she said.


Ellie