As some of you may know by now, training is divided into phases. Now that your recruits are almost done completing the first week of Phase 1, you should be settling into a new routine yourself.
Now that platoons have been formed, they are divided into series. Lead series and Follow series. Due to the amount of recruits, the shortage of drill instructors and not enough hours in a day, one series will complete an event while the other completes a different one. Then they switch. This ensures that every recruit is afforded the opportunity to learn each part of training to his fullest capability, allowing more “one-on-one” training.
The week was a busy one now that the recruits are adjusting to the drill instructors schedule. They are rudely awakened by 0530 every morning to start their day of training.
Looking back on my days as a recruit, which was more than six years ago, I remember thinking if they would just let me go home I would never be late for English class again and I would actually show up to trigonometry. But, I knew there was no turning back at this point.
The fastest way out of recruit training is to complete it. Trying to find a way out isn’t easy, but some people will do whatever it takes. I think this is a result from the initial shock. Don’t get me wrong, it is certainly a drastic change, but you learn to adapt and overcome.
They always say, “Everything is done for a reason.” Now that I watch recruit training from the outside, I am starting to understand the little things that most Marines probably don’t put much thought into.
Think of it this way, the recruits are exposed to chaos creating the shock factor. After a few days the recruits learn to adapt to the environment. This is important because overseas, the environment is not like our own. When I returned from Iraq, I noticed how colorful America is, and thought it was strange we were all wearing jackets when it was 80 degrees.
Currently, your recruits are not allowed to blouse their boots. This is something that is gained as a privilege at some point in training. It also distinguishes them in a lower phase of training. Just another example of why everything has its purpose. Every time I write something that serves a purpose I will mark it and you can read at the end of the article to understand why.
On to training — Your recruits received their first dose of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program on Wednesday. As I walked around the MCMAP pit watching them, I was thinking some of these boys (who will be men in 3 short months) were definitely babied and sheltered most of their lives. VERY dramatic.
Now, moms and dads, don’t get angry at me for saying these things. I am just calling it like I see it. It’s important that you take note of my own views, at the end you will appreciate the transformation even more.
Every time the instructor yelled “strike” over the loud speaker, they hit the bag with their first and ended with some type of irritation, moan or groan, that they had to repeat the same move a million and one times. 1 Honestly, I am a bit jealous that your recruits are issued gloves so their knuckles don’t bleed. You can still see some scars on my hands from when I was on the same day of training, needless to say, we didn’t have gloves.
So the MCMAP pit is probably not their favorite place to hang out, but they will get use to it in no time since they will be spending a lot of time there over the next few months.
The O-Course, or obstacle course, is part of what I like to think of as the Marines playground. The Confidence Course is the other half, which they will visit shortly.
The O-Course is just that, a bunch of obstacles they must get over. There are many secrets the recruits will learn on how to properly finish the course, like the “chicken wing” and how to efficiently get up the rope by bringing your legs up to your chest and then grabbing the rope higher with your hands. Most recruits will tire themselves out by trying to use all their arm strength to reach the top.
THE LESS PHYSICAL SIDE OF TRAINING
This could be the hardest part of training for some recruits. For me, I dreaded classes because I always wanted to fall asleep and I went into the military to stay out of school. I was always like, what the heck, another class?
However, these classes are essential to your recruits success.2 Throughout training, they will study the UCMJ, Marine Corps history, Corps values, first aid and so on. Then later they will be tested on what they have retained.
The classrooms are fairly large and comparable to the class size of a prestige university, almost the size of an auditorium.
Guided discussions are also abundant throughout training. The drill instructors will usually have them form for classroom, which means to gather in the squad bay and sit Indian style around the DI. Then they will discuss a subject such as ethics, suicide prevention, etc.
Remember your recruits are always offered the opportunity to attend religious services on Sunday. MOST of them will, even if they are NOT religious…. Trust me.
LEAVING ON A GOOD NOTE
The Chief Drill Instructor of Lead series said this about your recruits:
“The process is a slow one, but the recruits have come a long way since forming.”
Hope this puts your minds at ease. Enjoy the rest of your week.
One of the classes your recruit received this week was Interior Guard. During this class, they most likely learned their General Orders. You should also familiarize yourself with them. When you are sleeping at night, your recruit might be standing “fire watch” and is required to abide by these orders.
Stand by for pictures
1Muscle memory is established by performing something repetitively. Eventually they will be able to execute drill movements, rifle manual and MCMAP without thinking twice. This is especially helpful in combat when engaging the enemy.
2Most basic Marine Corps knowledge is used on promotion boards once making it to the fleet. For instance, they might ask them who the grand old man of the Marine Corps is and they should be able to answer it.
[Editors Note: Opinions expressed are not to be considered an official expression of the DoD, DoN, or the USMC.]