U.S. Marines – United States Marine Corps

Marine Corps Training

Pugil Bout before Crucible

pugilMarines are trained to be ready for any situation. Part of being ready is having a back-up plan, as a bayonet attached to a rifle in case of weapons malfunctions or no ammunition.Recruits of Kilo Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion learned confidence and combat readiness during Pugil Sticks III at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Aug. 26.

Prior to the Pugil Sticks event, recruits were briefed about and then ran through the Bayonet Assault Couse. The course was comprised of different obstacles ranging from shallow trenches to crawling under barbed wire.

“The recruits run through the Bayonet Assault Course because it gives them that combat mindset, and it makes them apply everything that they have learned under a more stressful situation,” said Sgt. Christopher S. Merrill, drill instructor, Platoon 3223.
(continue reading…)

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Leading During the Crucible

Crucible2Marines of Alpha Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, used teamwork and dependability to complete the Leadership Reaction Course, or 12 Stalls, during the Crucible at Edson Range, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Aug. 27.

The Crucible is a 54-hour test of endurance where recruits must conquer more than 30 different obstacles while they experience food and sleep deprivation. During the Crucible, recruits utilize small unit leadership skills they’ve acquired throughout training.

“The recruits do the 12 Stalls event in the Crucible so they can learn how to work together as a team,” said Sgt. Ryan R. Ayers, field instructor, Field Company, Weapons and Field Training Battalion. “They learn how to utilize and create unit cohesion to accomplish the mission.” (continue reading…)

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First Inspection

Inspection2Bearing is defined as the way one conducts and carries him or herself in a manner that reflects alertness, competence and control.

Recruits of India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, displayed their bearing during their senior drill instructor’s inspection. Only 16 days into training, the recruits were also tested on Marine Corps knowledge, uniforms and rifle manual at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Sept. 5.

The purpose of the SDI inspection was to test the recruits, while under the pressure of drill instructors, on what they’ve learned in recruit training.

“The senior drill instructor inspection shows us where the baseline is for the recruits’ confidence and bearing,” said Gunnery Sgt. Cornell S. Cornish, drill instructor, Platoon 3209. “It shows the drill instructors what they’ve instilled in their recruits and what they need to work on.” (continue reading…)

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Water Survival Instructors

usmc03Marines, 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…)

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Overcoming the rappel tower at MCRD

Instructional Training Company drill instructors inspect recruits' harnesses before allowing them to descend the rappel tower aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego Aug. 5. Safety is the most important factor when recruits face the 60-foot rappel tower

Instructional Training Company drill instructors inspect recruits' harnesses before allowing them to descend the rappel tower aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego Aug. 5. Safety is the most important factor when recruits face the 60-foot rappel tower

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.”

Company C recruits watch as Sgt. James Barnhill an Instructional Training Company drill instructor shows them how to make their harness out of a length of rope Aug. 5. They were to follow the directions meticulously to make sure their harness was tight enough to hold them.

Company C recruits watch as Sgt. James Barnhill an Instructional Training Company drill instructor shows them how to make their harness out of a length of rope Aug. 5. They were to follow the directions meticulously to make sure their harness was tight enough to hold them.

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…)

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Sports Medicine and Injury Prevention

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…)

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Final Physical Fitness Training PFT


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…)

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Pugil sticks teach close quarters combat

Recruit Michael J. LaCount, Platoon 2103, Company E., 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, uses the wall as leverage to get the upper hand on recruit Gregory Sargent, Platoon 2103, Co. E, 2nd Recruit Training Bn., during their pugil sticks match here

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…)

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USMC Combat Fitness Test

A Company C, 1st Recruit Training Battalion recruit does ammunition can lifts while another recruit counts and drill instructors Sgt. William Caballero and Staff Sgt. Kenneth Oldham motivate him during a Combat Fitness Test

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…)

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Assault Course

Recruit Scott Herma, Platoon 3247, trudges through one of the tunnels of Janson’s Thrust, a bayonet assault course where recruits don real bayonets and use teamwork as they seek and destroy simulated tire-enemies

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…)

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Drilling Discipline in Recruits

Discipline is defined at Parris Island as the instant, willing obedience to orders.

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…)

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Rifle Training – Then and Now

1946 – 1950

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…)

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Marine recruits take sparring to ring

Recruits practice their Marine Corps Martial Arts skills during the body sparring portion of the Crucible

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.

Body sparring is an event on the Crucible in which recruits put their Marine Corps martial arts moves to use.
The Crucible is a 54-hour training event conducted during Marine Corps Recruit Training at Edson Range, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. It is here where Marine recruits go through simulated combat stress scenarios, which consist of food and sleep deprivation, and overcome mentally and physically-demanding obstacles.
Although recruits are tested daily throughout recruit training, the Crucible is the most anticipated event, where they apply everything they have learned in recruit training up to this point. (continue reading…)
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Marines train with UFC fighters


apt. Craig Schnappinger, right, series commander, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, blocks his face as Staff Sgt. David Gonzalez, martial arts instructor, Company G, 2nd Recruit Training Bn., prepares to use one of the new strikes they were taught by the Victory Fitness Center’s instructors here

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.”

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.”

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Caging the Warrior; Marine martial arts instructors participate in MMA

Robert Abrantes is relaxed, calm and collected. Each stroke is delivered carefully to his canvas. A design unfolds, and as time wears on, the finished product moves into focus. Working like a painter before an easel, Abrantes draws from an array of tools and techniques. However, he doesn’t use brushes and paint. Instead, he uses raw flesh and toned muscle. His blank canvas doesn’t rest on an easel – it’s the body of his opponent.
Sergeant Abrantes, and Staff Sgt. Daniel Sandlin are Martial Arts Instructor Trainers with the Advanced Infantry Training Battalion at School of Infantry (East), Camp Geiger, N.C. In between the hours spent at their physically exhausting work, which begins as early as five in the morning and often goes until dark, they train and prepare themselves for their demanding past time – participation in mixed martial arts tournaments. (continue reading…)
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Inspecting for Sharp Minds and Bodies

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…)

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Recruits Prepare for Combat

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…)

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Conquering the Obstacle Course

Recruits from Company E kicked up clouds of dust as they ran in place, getting pumped to take on the depot Obstacle Course for the second time during their training, May 15.

“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…)

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Basic Warrior Training

Painful – that was the one word used by recruits to describe their time during the Day Walk Course of Basic Warrior Training Nov. 6.

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…)

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Fear of Heights

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…)

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