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Marine Boot Camp
Marine boot camp

A Senior Drill Instructor inspects his platoon prior to “lights out”.

Marine Boot Camp: You are going to get your ass kicked.

This is not “Marine boot camp”, it is Recruit Training!! Get that civilian jargon out of your melon immediately. Make no mistake about it, even if you signed up to be a combat cameraman, you are still a rifleman. You will be required to know everything about your weapon, the Marine Corps history and be in the best shape of your life. The Marines don’t do push ups, so don’t fool yourself. The Marines do pull ups… so find yourself a bar and get to it.

Marine Corps Basic Training: 12 weeks that will change your life in ways that you never imagined. The great thing about the Marines Corps boot camp is that it doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, heavy or thin, tall or short. The time you spend during Marine Corps boot camp will change you mentally, physically and possibly even spiritually.

Let it be said that although Marines wear the same uniforms, male and female recruits don’t train together. The Recruit Training Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina is where all female recruit train regardless of where they enlist. Male recruits may find themselves at Parris Island or the Recruit Training Depot at San Diego, California. It depends entirely whether you live in the Western or Eastern United States.

Certainly the Marine Corps wants a recruit with brains but what it really wants is a recruit with brawn. The importance of physical conditioning as it relates to the Marine Corps cannot be stressed enough. If you’re already in pretty good shape before basic training, you may find that you come out of boot camp in better condition that when you arrived. Conversely if you were struggling over 20 push-ups before you hugged Mom and Dad and left home you will definitely see and feel the difference in your conditioning between the first and final weeks of Marine Corps Basic Training.

Get it in your head that there’s the Marine Corps and then there’s those “other branches of military service.” The other services may be good, but the Marine Corp prides itself in being the very best, thus Marine Corps Basic Training is relentless. In fact, you can pretty much count on being busy and being yelled at from the moment you step off the bus, train or plane. Don’t take it personally. Thousands of other men and women have been treated exactly the same way and have developed into better Marines because of it.
During Marine Corps Basic Training you’ll find that physical training (PT) is an every-day thing. Come to think of it, during Basic Training PT is practically an all-the-time thing. Since Drill Instructors are no longer allowed to physically touch a recruit, they can – thanks to glory of push-ups and squats – take their frustrations out on you without ever lifting a finger.

marine boot campThis is not to say that you will not do other activities during the 12 weeks you spend in boot camp. But physical conditioning is king. The Marine Corps believes in a progressive physical training program which gets all recruits in shape to meet Marine Corps standards. Which in this case involves exercises as diverse as pull-ups, push-ups, running and long-distance marching which in turn are supplemented by dozens, if not hundreds of side-straddle hops, bends & thrusts, leg lifts, mountain climbers, 8-count body builders, lunges, trunk twisters, push-ups, pull-ups and more and more. Usually done in increments of 15 reps each for at least 3 sets per exercise.

Apart from the fact that superior conditioning may very well save your live out in the field, the Marine Corps is one of the few services where maintaining an extremely high level of physical conditioning can help you accrue points for promotion. The faster you can run and the more push-ups and sit-ups you can do the more points you will get. For instance: for a perfect score of 300, a Marine needs to be able to run 3 miles in 18 minutes, do 100 sit-ups, and 20 pull-ups. Far from easy, but definitely worth the effort. Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test

Time for other things

You actually will spend some time honing some other skills besides PT during your 12 weeks of basic training. Like the other services, each day of each week builds on the week prior. You just have to understand that because the Marine Corps is a ground force, the additional skills you are taught involve combat and survival training for field deployment and survival. Endless hours will be spent familiarizing yourself with your M-16 on and off the firing range; with as much if not more time spent on first aid, water survival and close combat fighting skills. It’ll all be coming at you fast and furious. An overview of your 12 weeks of Marine Corps Basic Training will concentrate on the following skill areas. And recruits have to demonstrate mastery in these areas in order to graduate from Basic Training:

a. Physical Fitness

b. Marksmanship

c. Leadership

d. Motivation

e. Academics

f. Field Skills

Some other Basic Training highlights include:

Drill and ceremony and wear of the uniform from day one. Pugil stick, close-combat fighting and the infamous obstacle course in weeks three and four (which continues all the way until you graduate).

Combat water survival in week 5 and night marches in week 6.

Through it all you will demonstrate an intense feeling of competition as you and your platoon go up against other platoons full of recruits just like you. But competition is good. And so is teamwork. You’ll learn a lot about both during your 12 weeks in Basic Training.

There is more of course – recruits receive classroom training on Marine Corps Core Values, military law, financial responsibility and other classes that help create a well-rounded individual. One that can function in and out of uniform. Everything that recruits learn comes together in the last week or so of Basic Training. The Marine Corps calls it The Crucible. You might as well call it your “Basic Training Graduation Ticket”. Demonstrate proficiency in all the skill areas your Drill Instructor taught you and the world is yours. Fail to make the grade and it’ll be back to square one where you’ll start over. Or at least spend more time until you can demonstrate that you know what you’re doing.

There’s an old saying that goes, “If you’re going to be a bear, be a grizzly bear!” In other words, get tough and be ready to tough it out. And you’ll have no problems with Marine Corps Basic Training!