Marine Corps Training
Marines, standing at the poolside, stare into unforgiving training grounds. Yesterday was not easy, and today will be no better. The frigid water below taunts them, as if to say “I am going to kick you in the face.” The Marines take one last breath, jump feet first and begin their grueling one-mile warm-up exercise to start another challenging day.
Overcoming more than fatigue and cold water, they swim to try and become one of fewer than 600 who hold the title of Marine Corps Instructor of Water Survival. (continue reading…)
For three months the recruits of Company C have overcome obstacles, swim qualification, the confidence course and countless other challenges. August 5 they overcame their biggest challenge to date.
The depot’s rappel tower shoots 60 feet into the San Diego skyline terrifying those afraid of heights and giving recruits exciting Marine Corps training.
“It’s just like the pool, some are afraid of water (and) others are afraid of heights,” said Sgt. Christopher Blas, drill instructor, Company C, 1st Recruit Training Battalion. “The tower teaches them that they need to trust their equipment and their leaders. It allows them to overcome their fears, and with that confidence, they can increase what they do through a better mindset.”
The recruits of Company C got used to the tower by fast roping before their rappelling classes. Fast roping is a method for quick insertion on an objective from a helicopter. The recruits slide down a 15-foot rope, grabbing it with both hands and using the inner portion of their boot to control their descent. After hitting the ground, they run to collect a length of rope, a carabineer and gloves. (continue reading…)
Marines pride themselves on being the toughest of all military branches. According to a “Times Magazine” article that came o
ut earlier this month, the United States Marine Corps basic training is the most “bone crushing” basic training in all the United States Armed Forces.
Data contained in military reports from 2004 to 2010 show Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego has broken 688 recruits’ tibias and fibulas, in the past six years. That makes more lower leg breaks than any other U.S. military training facility. Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island follows closely behind with 613 recruits.
The article in the “Times Magazine” also shows the Marine Corps current status, which is on a decline when it comes to stress fractures. The intent of the Marine Corps basic training isn’t to break recruits, but to prepare them for the rigorous physical fitness requirements they will encounter in the fleet and combat. (continue reading…)
It’s 7:30 a.m. and if someone is standing in one spot for even half a moment too long he’ll feel the warmth of southern California’s August sun. Good thing the recruits of Company B won’t be standing still for their final Physical Fitness Test
The PFT is administered the first six months of the year, to be accompanied by the newly incorporated combat fitness test which is administered within the remaining six months of the year.
The PFT in the Marine Corps is more rigorous than our sister services with a three mile run, crunches and pull-ups instead of push-ups. The basic requirements for male recruits is set at a minimum of running three miles in less than 28 minutes; completing at least three pull-ups and performing at least 50 crunches in two minutes. Most Marines, however, strive for a perfect score of 300 points which requires running three miles in 18 minutes or less; completing a maximum of 20 pull-ups, and performing 100 crunches in two minutes. (continue reading…)
The sound of a whistle blow brings two Marine recruits charging into the middle of a dirt ring in one of the training areas of Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. Other than the grunts and groans from the fighters, drill instructors can be heard yelling at the recruits to hit here, or slash there. The two men continue raining blows on each other waiting to hear the merciful whistle blow once again. The signal that their match is over.
The recruits of Company E performed their final pugil sticks training, Sept. 25, to hone their skills with bayonets before leaving the depot to conduct the crucible.
“Pugil sticks are a part of bayonet training,” said Sgt. Rudy Moctezuma, Marine Corps Martial Arts Instructor Trainer, Instructional Training Company, Recruit Training Regiment. “The sticks are marked to tell the difference between where the bayonet of the rifle would be, which is the red end. The butt of the rifle is the black end.”
The pugil sticks are padded on both ends, and have hockey gloves attached to the stick to protect the recruits’ hands, said Moctezuma. (continue reading…)
With 30-pound ammunition cans in each hand, recruits of Company C, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, use what energy is left to sprint across the finish line without dropping them.This is just one requirement of the Combat Fitness Test. The CFT is an annual test required between July 1 and December 31 each year.
According to the Marine Corps Training and Education Command, the purpose of the CFT is to test a Marine’s ability in high-powered, short-burst events that reflect operational demands. (continue reading…)
From learning discipline through practicing drill to learning to focus in chaos at the rifle range, Marine recruits are constantly saturated with information and skills to help them become well-rounded warriors who can maintain the standards set by Marines from the past and present.
As training progresses, recruits are required to learn and exhibit more lessons and skills they acquired through 12 weeks of training and apply them to their final test, the Crucible.
The Marines of Company L, who have overcome every challenge Marine Corps recruit training has presented thus far, can attest to the Corps’ progressive nature of training.
The Crucible is a 54-hour training event held at Edson Range, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., which requires Marine recruits to overcome mentally and physically-demanding obstacles as a team. They undergo a simulated combat stress which consists of food and sleep deprivation before, claiming the title, Marine.
“From time to time, infantry will advance farther than the supply lines have,” said Sgt. Trent R. Topolski, drill instructor, Platoon 3248. “Marines won’t always have everything they might expect and need to be able to ration their gear and adapt to overcome those kinds of situations.” (continue reading…)
Recruits demonstrate their understanding of this trait during the ninth week of recruit training, when platoons face off in a competition called Final Drill.
“Drill is the foundation of discipline,” said Staff Sgt. Jorge Guerrero, the senior drill instructor for Platoon 1012, Bravo Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion. “It shows the recruits’ abilities to follow orders no matter the circumstance.”
From the moment recruits arrive on Parris Island, they are taught the basic fundamentals of drill.
Guerrero said there is an overwhelming difference between recruits competing in Initial Drill, their first test of proficiency and Final Drill.
“Their precision and attention to detail has improved a great deal by that time,” said Guerrero, of Harlingen, Texas. “During week nine, the transformation from civilian to Marine is almost complete. You don’t see that during the week of Initial Drill.” (continue reading…)
Once World War II came to a close, Marine Barracks, Parris Island was renamed Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island in September 1946, according to Eugene Alvarez, a researcher for the Marine Corps Historical Division.
Alvarez writes that along with the name change, women were allowed to return to the Corps on a permanent basis.
President Harry S. Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act in 1948, which caused the reactivation of 3rd Recruit Training Battalion for training women Marines, Alvarez writes. (continue reading…)
Two recruits yell at the top of their lungs as they rush into the small wooden ring. Both tired and hungry, they give everything they have left to come out on top.
Mixed martial artists and the Ultimate Fighting Championship fighters from the Victory Fitness Center, Point Loma, came to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego’s martial arts satellite school, Oct. 1, to teach servicemembers additional martial arts techniques.
Mixed martial artists and the Ultimate Fighting Championship fighters from the Victory Fitness Center, Point Loma, came to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego’s martial arts satellite school, Oct. 1, to teach servicemembers additional martial arts techniques.“There are many military members that come to Victory Fitness Center,” said Elias Gallagos, an MMA instructor at the Victory Fitness Center. “I feel that by coming here we are giving back to them.”
Military members and their families who took time to go to the “dojo” learned a few different techniques from three different categories: striking from standing, take downs, and submissions.
“This is an awesome experience,” said Staff Sgt. James McFaline, martial arts instructor, Instructional Training Company, Support Battalion. “It’s a little extra knowledge for our ‘tool belt.’ It builds on what we already know and teaches us additional moves.”
It expands on the Marine Corps’ training, according to Gunnery Sgt. Francisco Galvan, martial arts instructor, ITC, Support Bn. It sparks interest outside of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, and gives a chance to grow as a martial artist. We get a chance to see where the MCMAP techniques originate.”
The instructors and fighters were interested to see each other’s commonalities. “It’s good to learn martial arts and to constantly be a learner,” said Shannon Gugerty, a UFC fighter from the Victory Fitness Center. “It’s awesome to see that the Marines train the same as we do.”
While the Marines were happy to see the instructors and fighters, the guests seemed more excited that they got to spend time here with servicemembers.
“This is awesome,” said Tony Palafox, an MMA instructor at the Victory Fitness Center. “It’s amazing what we can do to help these guys in any situation, it’s tremendous.”
The guests were allowed to use the dojo’s training equipment before their class started during a mini-lesson from the Marines, according to Palafox.
The techniques that they taught the Marines seemed pretty effective, even in the practice stages, according to Sgt. Charles Roche, a MCMAP Instructor Trainer with ITC.
“The best part about coming here is the after affects,” said Gallegos. “Showing attendees they learned something, and the satisfaction that they know it and can use it to save their lives.”
When the session was over, attendees had more tools for their tool belts, and the instructors and fighters were able to see the results of their training.
“We are honored to come out here and help out our servicemembers,” said Palafox. “There is no speech I can make for it, we are just honored that you let us come here. With the military members being out there protecting us, we like to give back. It makes us feel like we are.”
Thirteen weeks have passed for the young men of 1st Battalion, Company B first stepped onto the yellow footprints of Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. From day one, these young men have been under the watchful eyes of their drill instructors being challenged physically and mentally every day.
Since first meeting their drill instructors, Company B has trained virtually non-stop. They have learned close-order drill, hand-to-hand combat, rifle marksmanship, and the history of the Corps. However, the drill instructors have also passed on the meaning of the Corps’ values of honor, courage and commitment.
One major test is the Crucible, this 54-hour training evolution where the recruits are put into a combat-simulated environment with rationed food and very little sleep, tests all the physical training the recruits have received and their ability to accomplish tasks in a high stress environment.
After the completion of the Crucible, the young men receive their eagle, globe and anchor and are called Marines for the first time. Though the new Marines have finally earned their emblem they still have to pass the Battalion Commander’s Inspection. (continue reading…)
The Table 2 Basic Combat Marksmanship Course is the first step in transitioning a Marine from fundamental marksmanship to becoming a proficient combat marksman.
During Field Week, the second three-week phase of recruit training, Company F recruits completed the Table 2 Basic Combat Marksmanship Course at Edson Range, Camp Pendleton, Calif., Dec. 3.
“Table 2 prepares the recruits for combat by teaching them the fundamentals of marksmanship with a combat load and aiming at close distances,” said Sgt. Juan J. Solando, line staff non-commissioned officer, Alpha Range, Weapons and Field Training Battalion. (continue reading…)
“This is their first O-Course since first phase,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Galvan, senior drill instructor, Platoon 2111, Company E.
This time around they were to run it as a fire team, of four men. Two men move at a time to create a staggered movement, so there is always cover provided. (continue reading…)
The day walk is just one portion of Basic Warrior Training, but it keeps recruits heaving for breath and aching in every possible way.
“It was more like the boot camp I was expecting,” said Rct. Justis Beaureguard of 2nd Recruit Training Battalion’s Golf Company, Platoon 2109. “It was painful.”
It all started before the sun was ever up.
Cutting through the woods and traveling in circle after circle, the recruits finally arrived at the Day Walk Course at 6:30 a.m.
“I thought the course would be easier,” said Rct. James Ryan of Golf Company’s Platoon 2109. “But it was hard.”
Before starting, the recruits were given a brief demonstration of the course by the staff (continue reading…)
With nearly three months of recruit training under their belts, the recruits of Company G have conquered many fears and challenges that they never thought were possible. They have qualified with a rifle, swam in a full combat load and endured grueling physical fitness sessions. With only a couple weeks remaining in boot camp, the recruits are given a task to complete that reaches new levels of fear: the rappel tower.
The day consists of hours of lecture, where recruits learn the proper techniques for rappelling as well as how to create the safety harness that will hold them securely when rappelling. The harness is made using a six-foot rope that is wrapped around the legs and hips and secured by a series of square knots.
Before stepping foot on the tower, recruits are issued the respective safety gear prior to the training evolution. With the assistance of a tactical helmet, gloves, ropes, carabiner and a spotter, recruits make their descent safely to the ground.
“The rappel tower gives these recruits chance to let go of any lasting fears and build their confidence,” Staff Sgt. Nathan Stocking, Platoon 2146, Company G. “At first they seem nervous and shy, but if they just focus on the technique they are taught, they will be fine. Rappel is a simple concept.” (continue reading…)
Blue skies, birds chirping and a cool breeze may be an ideal morning for most people, but add in the smell of gun powder and the crack of a hammer hitting a primer and sending rounds down range is what perks up most Marines.
On recruiting duty, Marines are exempt from attending the rifle range, but for Recruiting Station Milwaukee that does not mean poolees are not offered the opportunity to learn basic Marine Corps marksmanship and gain some familiarity firing the civilian version of the M-16A2 service rifle, the AR-15.
Nine of the 13 recruiting substations with RS Milwaukee each received half a day of marksmanship training, live fire, cover and concealment classes, M240B Medium machine gun familiarization, a partial Initial Strength Test and a Meal Ready to Eat lunch at Stone Bank Sportman’s Club between August 4-7. (continue reading…)
Why do Marines drill?
There are perhaps no other services in the world more proud of their service than Marines.
Just ask them.
They have their own language, sharp uniforms and snazzy commercials. Before equality became formality in the U.S. armed forces, they developed catchy slogans that clued in on how separate they viewed themselves.
�A few good men.�
�The few, the proud, the Marines.�
Marines like to look good and want everyone to take notice. Even when they walk together in groups.
A civilian would call it marching. They call it drill.
When a Marine begins his first days at boot camp, he is taught everything all over again. As if his parents did not do a good job of teaching him to walk, talk, cloth, and feed himself, his new daddy is quick to provide instruction.
Perhaps none of the above instructions are more important than drill.
At first, Marines are filed into platoon formations, looking like green eggs staked neatly in a carton. They begin to master the �box.� Then they �slime� their way around the depot; a gaggle of geese ditty bopping to the familiar sounds of their drill instructor�s voice. Eventually they are taught the simpler drill movements: Position of attention, saluting, left and right faces.
Perhaps the most important is putting their feet in front of the other in unison. This might sound like a hard thing to do, but when there are 50 or more people trying to be on the same page, things get complicated.
Evolution of footwear is also an important step to understanding Marine drill.
Marines are first required to wear sneakers with their camouflaged utilities. Here the basic drill movements are repeated until Marine have a fair understanding of what are basic drill movements. Their pant legs are rolled down and cuffed like a kindergartner wearing his older brother�s jeans.
But then they are issued combat boots. This is like handing a drummer a set of really good sticks. They roll their trousers over their boots and blouse them with green elastic cords. Now the young Marines have reached a new goal. Now the Marines are expected to bring what drill instructors call �thunder.�
After long days under the grueling heat and sand fleas of Paris Island or roaring jet engines of a nearby airport of San Diego, the recruits have grasped the understanding of drill. While they might not be masters, they do gain confidence and discipline through a memorized routine.
What the Marines like to call �instant obedience to orders.�
It is through drill that Marines at any rank can go back to the basics. A junior Marine leading a platoon formation is something to be admired in the Corps when a senior Marine is expected.
Drill is used as confidence builder in this instance. Much like civilians with a fear of public speaking, putting a young Marine in front of a platoon of his peers can be slightly uncomfortable. They mumble or stutter their commands, loose focus, and generally do a bad job. Any resemblance of the confident Marine on the boot camp grinder is gone. After some remedial instruction, and egging on by the drill�ees, the young Marine gains confidence. Soon, he�s barking orders and singing cadence like a hard-nosed, barreled-chested, square-jawed drill instructor. Like a Marine.
And is this why Marines drill.
?Lightweight, air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed, shoulder-fired assault weapon,? these words are embedded in the minds of all Marines. It is the textbook description of the weapon used by modern-day Marines.
The M-16 A4, an upgraded version of the eight pound weapon adopted by the Marine Corps as the standard issue assault rifle in 1983, is useless without trained individuals to properly use it. Marines like Sgt. Michael A. Hauck ensure every rifle is in skilled hands.
Hauck, the platoon sergeant for Wire Platoon, Communications Company, Headquarters Battalion, has taught Marines how to improve their shooting skills as a primary marksmanship instructor since 2003.
The Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran was introduced to firing a weapon in basic training, and fell in love with it.
?I love instructing because I am helping Marines advance in their careers,? Hauck said.
Teaching Marines how to fire more accurately eventually gave Hauck the desire to improve his own skills and led to him join a competitive shooting team.
His first exposure to competitive marksmanship was while stationed in Okinawa, where he competed on the Combat Assault Battalion intramural team. Hauck credits his success to the fact that before the Corps, he never shot a weapon.
?I was like a sponge in bootcamp, soaking up all my teachers had to give me. That?s what made me the platoon high shooter,? the Arlington, Texas native said.
From the first day in basic training, Marines are taught the importance of discipline in everything they do. Marksmanship is no exception.
?Discipline is everything,? said the 1998 Noland Catholic High School graduate. ?It takes extreme discipline to hold these uncomfortable positions, to not jerk the trigger, to look at the front sight post when it?s so easy to focus on the target instead.?
Hauck earned ?Coach of the Week? for his outstanding performance as a marksmanship instructor during the week of Aug. 14 through 18. He compared watching the Marines he coached do well on qualification day, to the look on a child?s face Christmas morning.
?When you see that Marine get expert for the first time, it makes you feel like you just gave them an early Christmas present,? he said.
Santa?s reward for his gifts is milk and cookies, but Hauck receives something he cherishes much more, chevrons.
It is a tradition when shooters either score an expert rating for the first time, or believe their coach helped them score high enough to rate it again, they give the coach one of their rank insignia. Hauck places the chevrons of memorable shooters on the daypack he uses at the rifle range and the rest go into a jar he keeps at his house.
?He helped me a lot,? said Cpl. Nancy E. Burchell, a Marine with Headquarters Company. ?I was having trouble with my stance, and I used to box, so he told me to view it as a boxing match. I shot the best I?ve ever shot.?
Hauck said he looks forward to helping Marines in the future, and hopes to join more competitive shooting teams.
At the end of qualification day, the sun beat down on the 93 Headquarters Company Marines as they left the rifle range and headed toward the bus. Hauck reached into his pocket for his ?milk and cookies,? – three lieutenant bars, three sergeant chevrons, and a Navy ?RP? rate insignia.