U.S. Marines – United States Marine Corps

Fit to fight

Three days before graduation, recruits don their Service “A” uniforms and stand tall in a battalion commander’s inspection.

“This inspection is the final graduation requirement,” said 1st Sgt. Anthony A. Spadaro, Company C’s first sergeant. “This is a chance for recruits to show off in front of their battalion commander.”

Company C lined up in its entirety Tuesday morning for the  battalion commander's inspection. In this inspection, the company is  inspected by staff noncommissioned officers and commissioned officers  from Recruit Training Regiment. Photo by: Cpl. Jess Levens

Company C lined up in its entirety Tuesday morning for the battalion commander’s inspection. In this inspection, the company is inspected by staff noncommissioned officers and commissioned officers from Recruit Training Regiment. Photo by: Cpl. Jess Levens
The soon-to-be Marines spend hours in the preceding days making sure their uniforms are ship-shape and good-to-go. The drill instructors help too.

“One purpose of this final inspection is to make sure that the recruits’ uniforms fit,” said Spadaro. “Also, this gives the battalion commander a chance to see if his recruits have the confidence and bearing to be Marines. They are in his charge after all.

According to Spadaro, most recruits pass this inspection with no problems.

“These lads know how to stand an inspection by now,” he said. “They’ve been through a senior drill instructor’s inspection, a series commander’s inspection and a company commander’s inspection.”

This inspection is quite longer than the others, and the time spent standing can make this a grueling experience for recruits. A few recruits buckle under heat or lock their knees, causing them to faint, but drill instructors are on standby to aid these recruits. There are also benches and jugs of cold water behind the big, green formation.

“This happens to Marines too,” said Spadaro. “This inspection also helps these recruits prepare for any long formations once they are in the fleet.”

A senior drill instructor inspects a recruit's rifle for  cleanliness. The recruits use cotton swabs, lubricant and cool water to  clean their weapons.

A senior drill instructor inspects a recruit’s rifle for cleanliness. The recruits use cotton swabs, lubricant and cool water to clean their weapons.
Inside the formation, recruits pop to attention and present their rifles when an inspecting officer steps in front of them. Each recruit greets the inspector by sounding off his name, rank, hometown and occupational specialty, along with active duty or reserve status. The inspector then quizzes the recruit with a series of basic Marine Corps knowledge while measuring certain lengths on the uniform and inspecting the recruit’s overall appearance.

Spadaro explained why recruits wear the Service “A” uniform for this inspection: “They wear their main service uniform,” said Spadaro. “It’s their highest inspection, so they wear their most formal, issued uniform.”

According to Spadaro, the battalion commander’s inspection is a final culmination of what the recruits have learned throughout the training cycle, and it is a time for them to present themselves to their commander as a Marine.


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