Marines 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.
Recruits ran events, such as Pugil Sticks I and II, through half of the Bayonet Assault Course. Each time through they would build on what they had learned.
“We are almost half way through Phase III right now, so everything the recruits have learned from Field Week, such as buddy rushes, will be reiterated here,” said Merrill, a native of Austin, Texas.
Tired and fatigued from the course, recruits then fought their pugil stick battle.
One end of the 5-foot pugil stick resembles a rifle with the bayonet attached and the other end represents the butt-stock, explained 23-year-old Merrill.
Each recruit was given protective gear such as as a helmet, groin protector, flak jacket and mouth piece, because once in the arena they use full force. Gear such was given to each recruit before entering.
According to Recruit Michael C. Solomon, Platoon 3221, during previous events, recruits were told which side, offense or defense, they would be on. This time recruits were given three 30 second bouts using the techniques they had learned throughout all of their classes and events to give the opponent a striking blow to head.
While pugil sticks is one of the more popular events in recruit training, it also serves a purpose beyond the physical training.
“The Pugil Sticks events build confidence and push them into the path of being more aggressive,” said Merrill. “Confidence and aggression are two main factors that could help you win or lose a battle.”
“I have learned a lot from pugil sticks,” said Solomon. “I hope to continue building off of what I learned here at recruit training when I become a Marine.”