Another busy week down and only two more until graduation. This week is one of the most important weeks for drill instructors and recruits. It marked their last chance to prove their worthiness in drill, the knowledge they retained on first aid and Marine Corps history and they put their physical capabilities to the test. At this point, your recruits are a direct reflection of the hard work and effort their drill instructors put forth this cycle.
Recruits were led in final drill by their senior drill instructor. During this event, the drill instructor and the platoon are graded separately. This event goes into the calculations for honor platoon.
Looking back on their first go round at drill (at the end of the third week) they have came a long way. Their appearance looked good and they were certainly confident. Many, many weeks had gone into preparing them for this moment. Even the senior drill instructors were caught practicing when recruits weren’t looking.
On performance day it all came together nicely, except for the few mistakes here and there.
One senior drill instructor told me that the key to being graded was not showing that you were nervous and acting like you already had it in the bag. He did win. Maybe this just proves that confidence in your performance really shows on the outside. Marines have always been quick to talk smack, especially because they are pretty cocky to say the least. One thing I will say to him is, keep calling me ma’am Frasier because you haven’t won honor platoon yet.
Mass testing took place this week in several areas of military education. The recruits were ran through first aid scenarios, applying tourniquets and bandages to life size dummies while maintaining a combat mindset.
The rank structure was also a portion that held great importance. They were tested on all of the ranks that applied to the Marine Corps. One thing I find helpful is to know the Navy rank structure too. I don’t have it all the way down yet, but we work so closely with the Navy your recruit is bound to work with or for one eventually.
Weapons manual and procedures will never go away. Remembering when and how to apply these function checks are important, mostly for the range and when in combat.
The Rappel Tower
I know most of you have seen this rappel tower in Marine commercials and recruiting posters all over the place. It’s not just for looks, it really happens. However, Golf Co. recruits did not participate in this event due to inclement weather. The smallest hint of rain will cancel this event for safety purposes.
Here is what they missed: Recruits get a class on how to properly tie their harness and move down the rappel tower using the rope and safety equipment. Drill instructors are at the bottom monitoring the event and holding the rope to ensure recruits aren’t injured. (When I was in boot camp I couldn’t remember what they said for the life of me, so I just let go and went to the bottom full force. I don’t recommend this, the punishment from the DI was far worse than just hitting the ground). They are checked, than double-checked before allowing to climb the stairs to the very top where they will be instructed when it is there turn to glide down the wall.
The Company Commanders Inspection
Yes, another one. The company commander (Capt. Sandoval) inspected your recruits in their Alpha uniform. This uniform is one of the oldest uniforms belonging to the Marine Corps. The reason why this event is so important is because they were not in the normal camouflage utility uniform they have worn in previous inspections. Oh, and they are finally starting to resemble a Marine.
Prior to graduation, there will be one last inspection in Alphas.
Recruits were afforded the opportunity to visit the museum and interact with Marines from the past. These speakers took the time to show them around the different rooms in the museum and provide them with stories and knowledge they have gained when they were on active duty and while volunteering within the walls of the Depot.
The Marine Corps ball is a military tradition that has gone on for decades. It is a chance for Marines to celebrate who we were, who we are and what we will become. Each year the commandant puts out a birthday message video. I encourage you to look for it and listen to what he has to say, as your recruits will be considered Marines on this day.
The crucible is well on its way. The recruits and DIs have been preparing for this day, as most of the parents fear for their child’s life. The crucible is not made to break anyone. It is designed to test their endurance, stamina and their ability to complete a mission under a stressful environment. Please don’t worry to much, they are ready to take on this challenge.