Week 4

A dip in the pool

This week your recruits participated in the swim qualification. This week is one of the “slower weeks” in recruit training in my perspective, but some recruits may think otherwise. Those recruits more specifically are those who might be afraid of heights, swimming or failing the Initial Physical Fitness Test.

The swim qualification takes place in a very large, Olympic-sized pool and is passed in parts. Completion of the five parts determines pass or fail. These parts include jumping off the dive bored properly and swimming a distance, taking off gear under water, swimming with packs and treading water.

Treading water should be the easiest part of this test because they are taught several techniques to keep you afloat. One way to stay above water (the recruits didn’t do this) is to take off your utility trousers, tie a knot in the legs, blow them up under water or fling them under the water from over your shoulders to capture air in them and then put your head in the middle of the trouser legs. This will end up looking like some sort of life vest.

The worst part of the pool in my opinion is the smell of chlorine and heat.  The chlorine burns your eyes without even getting in and the heat will make you want to jump in to keep from sweating. The training environment in the pool area is also a bit calmer because only their SDI is allowed to be present inside.

Swim qual is part of annual training and is supposed to be completed every year without fail. As a matter of fact, when I deployed to Iraq I completed swim qual. I know you may be thinking that’s a bit crazy, because the chances of me drowning in a country that is nowhere near an ocean is slim, but it is still necessary. I am not going to lie; I was scratching my head too, very nice pool though.

Now, there were many recruits who had additional training that may not have passed through the first time, but in the end everybody made it. So if your recruit didn’t know how to swim, they at least know the basics now.

The Confidence Course, Part 2

This was quite an event. I watched many young men face their fears, cry and complain, but never the less they all left that day with some type of experience.

These obstacles are definitely a bit high, but your recruits managed to make it through just fine. Those who didn’t make it down the slide for life even got to take a little swim.

I remember these obstacles being much scarier when I was in boot camp then they are now. I also remember them being easier. I am assuming that had something to do with being more afraid of the drill instructors than actually hurting myself.

The purpose is not to scare the crap out of them, even though it probably did. Each obstacle taught the recruits techniques that can be used to get out of sticky situations using ropes and logs to make it to the end. And yes, it’s pretty high off the ground.

While standing on top of the Slide for Life, I asked a few recruits what they thought about training. I recognized some of their names from reading your comments. I think the uniqueness of this recruits name is what made me remember his first name. So hey Blain’s parents, your recruit is doing just fine. He told me so himself.

The Initial Physical Fitness Test

This was the first PFT that your recruit will take every year from this point forward. I will admit, it’s not my favorite thing to do annually, but it has to be done. A 3-mile run, pull-ups and crunches are timed and calculated. The calculated score will fall in one of three classes. First class is the best you can get. Your recruits will learn that PFTs have an impact on promotions.

This event is also another that the series compete for. It is very similar to the IST your recruits completed the first week they arrived.

For many, it’s a fairly easy to pass. It also might be a nice break (anywhere from 18 minutes to 28 minutes) for the recruits to not have a DI in their face, at least the whole time anyway.

I didn’t make it out for this event because Lance Cpl. Belleau Wood, the depot mascot, and I had to make an appearance at graduation. But I do have a few facts about the PFT that may surprise you.

The PFT used to be required bi-annually. The second PFT has now been replaced with the Combat Fitness Test, which your recruits will complete soon. Also, there is a modified PFT. Most Marines know this as “The Old Man’s PFT.” That’s right, once you hit a certain age you aren’t required to do as much or as fast as each category, but it can still be challenging for those who don’t age that well.


I know I write this blog on a first hand account of what I see, but I am encouraging you to ask me questions that you may want me to cover in my next post that are boot camp related. No question is unworthy and it would benefit to know what you guys really want to hear that your recruit is not telling you.


Your recruits went up North yesterday to Camp Pendleton. They are preparing for their next big obstacle, the rifle range. Mail tends to slow down here, so please don’t be alarmed if you don’t receive as much as you are use to, however, they still receive mail so keep it coming.

[Editors Note: Opinions expressed are not to be considered an official expression of the DoD, DoN, or the USMC.]

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About echo5fox

Sgt. Frasier enlisted in the Marine Corps July 2005 from Florida at the age of 18. After completing boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, she proceeded to Marine Combat Training in North Carolina. In 2006, she attended the Personnel Administration Course aboard Camp Johnson, N.C. She was stationed at Camp Lejeune upon graduation of her military occupational specialty. After deploying to Iraq with 3/10 in 2008, Sgt. Frasier reenlisted with the option to lateral move into another occupation, combat correspondent. Sgt. Frasier has worked at The Globe, the base newspaper aboard Camp Lejeune; The Convoy, the group circular for 1st Marine Logistics Group and The Chevron, the base paper for Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. Sgt. Frasier served as the Community relations and Media noncommisioned officer in charge for the Public Affairs Office aboard the depot. Currently she is the Marketing and Public Affairs Director for Recruiting Station Chicago, 9th Marine Corps District. Her awards include the National Defense Service Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism, Good Conduct Medal (2), Iraqi Campaign Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2) and the Navy Unit Commendation Medal.

51 thoughts on “Week 4

  1. My son Denzel Turner told me about the PFT and that if they did “won” they would be allowed to call home. Is there any way to find out who won? I would really love to have that phone call.

  2. Will you be posting a video to week three’s blog and this one also? Watching the videos really makes me feel like I know a little of what is going on. Thank you for this blog!

  3. Thanks for the info!! great that all the recruits did well! I am very curious on phase 2. i read some information on the web site. Do they group them together with a certain amount of recruits during field week or does the whole platoon do it together? Also, it does not give much info on phase 2 at camp pendleton, on that web site anyway! My son said he could not wait to get there! thanks again for all your time..

  4. Thank you again for your post of progress. My son Derek was very nervous about swim week and we were happy to hear in his latest letter home that he passed and that everything he is doing is so worth it. We are very proud of him and happy to know that his uncle, LCPL Dean Opicka (KIA 4/14/08) is watching over and guiding him from above.

  5. Thank you for the updates! I was wondering what happens to the mail if it was sent to the wrong plt number. My son Jesse L King plt 2155 has not received one letter because I used the address that was sent to me in the first (typed) letter. I FEEL HORRIBLE! Our family has mailed over 20 letters. Not sure if it can be checked out but I sent them to plt 2150. PLEASE HELP IF YOU CAN!

    Sincerely, Jesse’s mom 😦

    • Funny you should ask, the other day I was with the SDI who was fixing this mistake. I saw an entire stack of letters for him rubber banded together. The SDI for 2150 found the correct platoon, along with Recruit Barnett who is in the same platoon as your son and walked them over there that same night. He should have gotten all your letters by the next day or two. (That was last Thursday evening).

  6. The blogs are super informative and we are looking forward to more pics and videos of the Golf Company. 🙂 We are good friends of Cesar Felix and we would love to get pics for our military board at our high school where we pray for all of you on a regular basis.
    Cheryl Contreras

  7. Thank you for the post. My son, Gerardo Flores, was really nervous about the swim test. He said he made it through just fine. He is excited about the guns. He grew up hunting and around guns. Can’t wait to hear all the stories about what else you all have taught my son. Thanks for working on making him a Marine.

    • Your recruit will have a good time on the range in the following weeks. The drill instructors are training your recruits, I just write about it 🙂 I will send your appreciations their way!

  8. Thank you once again Sgt. Frazier! You are doing a great job and is so very well appreciated. I can’t wait till you post more pics and videos. I have gone through all of them (endless hours) trying to see if I see my son, but still haven’t. Won’t give up hope. Maybe next time.:)!

  9. Even though my son (my Marine!) is home with me now on boot leave… I am SO enjoying all f this info for the details he didn’t tell me! Thank you, I feel like we are so fortunate compared to families in the past! 😀

  10. Sgt. Frasier I appreciate the hard work you’ve put into the blog posts, videos and photos. In addition to the upcoming weapons training, I’d like to see routine daily things like how the wake up, the mess hall, cleaning and fire watch details, inspections etc. Thanks once again for letting us see through your eyes and lens.

  11. Very much appreciated! Allows me to feel much more connected to my cousin in Plt 2151. Thanks for letting us know that the letters may slow on their end, but to keep ours up. I know he appreciates it!

  12. Thank you for all the postings, lovethe videos!! Got to see our grandson Clayton, printed it out , have it on our frig. We are so proud of him!!!! Planon attending graduation, can’t wait to see him. Again thank you so much. Bill&Judy , grandparents of Clayton Chambliss

  13. Sgt Fraiser I know I’ve said thank you before but really…THANK YOU. This is so great..as I write my son I am able to connect with things he is doing…even when I talked w/ him on Friday I mentioned your blog and he said that is so cool that we can see some of what he is going through. My stepdaughter is a Marine and I wish we had this when she went through bootcamp! I agree w/ J Schlagel…some of the every day happenings would be interesting to see / hear about. But I’m a happy camper with what you’ve been providing so again THANK YOU!!!

  14. Thank you again for all the new pics.. saw my son in swimming and in drills PLT 2150.. they have really changed in 5 weeks.. they dont have that deer in the hightlights look anymore.. much more focused! Thank you again for all your hard work.. It does a Mom good to see their sons! Im so proud of them all!!

  15. I just now found out about this blog. How many other parents have no idea it exists? What a great way to share the experience with our sons! Thanks for the opportunity to glimpse their world.

    • Click on the Gallery & Resources…then click the flicker link…there are several pics…look at initial drill…you’ll see several there of 2150 🙂 But of course there are many more to look through.

      • Thank you so muuuuch! I saw pictures of my brother..now I can show my family 😀 I really appreciate it!

  16. Our young sons TaeKwondo instructor is in one of the current platoons and they are both interested in how he’s doing. Thank you for this blog. It allows them to see what he’s up to. Exceptional young man and role model!

  17. Thank you so much for the update and especially for the pics. I finally saw my son in a few! It made my heart feel good. 🙂

  18. thank you. i love this blog so much. it totally helps me get through the week and i love catching a glimpse of my husband sometimes. : ) you don’t know how much all of us really appreciate what you are doing! thank you!!! ❤ ps. please show plt 2154 more! that's where my hubby is! 😉

  19. Thank you for another wonderful blog post! I am beyond grateful to you, Sgt. Frasier, for every bit of news you share with us. I hope you’ll be at Golf Company’s graduation so I can give you a big hug! 🙂

  20. Thank you again, It has been very helpful seeing this. It does a moms heart good. I seen my son in the first pics on Black Friday and then have seen him recently. Its so cool as a mom you know just by there face and today he looks so much more confident. I really enjoy being able to know what he’s experiencing on a day to day basis. Can we see what it looks like when they gets to eat? LOL I hear the foods good but no time to taste it, LOL. anywho again, Thank You!

  21. Thank you, Sgt. Frasier, for all you have given us these last few weeks. It has been a wonderful gift to be able see what my son and all these young men are going through during training. I am curious about a couple of things… what is chow time like – how much time do they have to eat? Who is the Chaplain and what is Chapel like on Sunday? Thank you!

  22. Thank you for blogging. After careful examination of all the photos you’ve uploaded, I was able to see my son in a couple on the 5k hike. I appreciate how you take pictures of the platoon flags, I know when to look more closely!

  23. Thank you, I enjoy looking through these blogs and the flicker gallery. Observing just a hint of what my son is experiencing makes me even that much more proud of him. Obviously this is the most difficult time of his life so far. I appreciate your hard work and the time you put into this so us parents can feel closer to our sons.

  24. Thank you so much for posting these blogs and the pics and videos it makes me feel like I am closer to my BF knowing what he is going threw there! Lets got plt 2151 please post more pictures soon! 🙂

  25. Thank you Sgt Fraiser for keeping us updated, seeing the pictures and reading your blogs keeps me very inform on the life of my nephew in boot-camp , makes my heart break and I keep on praying even more and at the same time feeling proud of him. Thank you for the solo pictures of him, he’s in platoon 2154.

  26. Even though my son is not in Golf Co – he is 2-3 weeks behind this group with Charlie Co PLT 1050 – I am so THANKFUL for your blog and videos. It helps us understand more what he is doing this week and coming up next for him and helps us give encouragement in our letters to him for the specific tasks he will be doing! THANK YOU!

  27. I’m a poolee. I love the video and the info. I can’t swim. I have a fear that if I get into a deep pool i will drown(I almost drowned this summer its the scariest thing in the world.) Will they kick me out of boot camp?

    • Reggie,

      I know sometimes it can be hard to overcome your fears, but you should know you are not the only one that arrives here afraid of the water. The DIs go through a special course to become swim instructors that qualifies them to be more helpful than a lifeguard. Remember, everyone here is here to help you succeed, not force you to fail (even though it may seem like it at times). They will teach you over and over again until you get it right. Semper Fi.

      P.S. – Getting kicked out is NEVER as easy as failing swim qual, at worst you will join another company (but I can’t foresee that happening to you or even the worst swimmers).

      Sgt. F

  28. to recruite Joshua Wiliams of 2151: dont know if you will get any e-mails in last phase. but incase you do please send a pic of you. very very proud dad, Travis
    P.S cant wait until family day nov.17th

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