Week 10

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.

Final Drill

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.

Prac App

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.

The Museum

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.


Week 9

You’re probably at that point now when the anticipation is too much to bear. The recruits have made it so close; their biggest fear is getting dropped. Travel arrangements are being made and your bags are already packed. Stop looking at the calendar already… watching a pot of water doesn’t make it boil any faster.

The recruits probably have lost track of training days by now because they realized to just fight until the fighting is done and only then will the madness come to an end. The DIs don’t even know what day of the week it is, hell, I don’t even know what day of the week it is. The only thing that’s on their minds is the finals coming up in Week 10.

MCMAP Testing
A time consuming event has finally come to a close, at least for now. The recruits were tested on their skills they were required to master to receive and wear the first of five belts. This means they no longer have to wear the skinny web belt that is made for other uniforms.
Some people may never touch MCMAP again. Others will take the training and run with it until they are an instructor trainer or even higher.
During the testing, the recruits went from station to station and executed a series of movements. They then received a pass or fail grade based on accuracy of their performance. At the end of the day, everyone passed and they are now authorized to wear a tan belt.
The one thing that I could never understand is the way testing takes place. As long as the first recruit knows the movement, everyone will pass it. Granted it’s not that hard, but still. Perhaps that is why they divide the recruits in 9-man sticks (when I say sticks, I mean groups).
Bayonet Assault Course
The recruits aren’t strangers to this course as they have visited it once before.
I must say they moved through it a bit more smoothly than the first time they assaulted hanging dummies dressed as terrorist, especially their movement under barbwire (thanks Field Week!).
So what makes this time around different than the other? They used real bayonets. Now, I don’t know about you, but if I was a DI I would not want to get as close to some of the recruits as they normally do knowing they are all running around with knives… but that didn’t stop them from getting in the recruits faces when all else failed.
Pugil Sticks III
Another battle of the sticks came and went with a jab to the face. This pugil sticks event is by far the best of them all. The combination of mud, sticks and pissed off recruits make for a great time, at least or whoever is winning.
After they are suited up, they stood by the thunder dome in preparation to defeat the next recruit in line from opposite platoons. Hearing the company staff stand by shouting at them to hit harder or wince when someone got smoked was pretty entertaining, but getting that perfect photo took a lot more than I expected it too. The staff would hype the recruits up, promising them phone calls and even food for winning. It was interesting to see the intensity someone can show just for a meal.
They slammed each other against the walls and pushed each other down into the mud. I’m pretty sure these recruits were picturing DIs in their head when they charged at one another at full speed.
No Marine Left Behind
A few weeks ago my shop went out for our daily afternoon PT. It was family day. I remember seeing this recruit walking alone. I pointed him out to my SNCO and said “That makes me sad. Why is he by himself?” It appeared that he was with the family ahead of them, but it was just an illusion. He was alone. So after PT I went out to look for him, I couldn’t find him anywhere. Then I realized, he was probably on the parade deck because by that time family day was coming to an end. To this very day (it’s only been a few weeks) I feel like I let him down. I could have at least invited him to run with us. I regret not approaching him.
That time is coming up again and I noticed you guys are recognizing the importance of family, friends and a solid support group. In the Marine Corps, we NEVER EVER leave a man behind. No matter if they are breathing, dying or already deceased they come home to their family.
The parents of Golf Company have created a family of their own. Each recruit has 500 moms, 500 dads and a whole lot of siblings. Please continue to express that importance to the recruits by taking them under your wing when they are alone. I know you guys won’t let me down.
What is the significance of the Eagle, Globe and Anchor and how did is derive? Did you know that the EGA for enlisted and officers for the uniform are different? Explore this on your own time and familiarize yourself with the single item that will distinguish your recruit from any other branch.
The finals are near and the DIs and recruits are working hard to achieve the best scores possible. Visit back to see the final results in the Week 10 post!

Team Week

This week gives recruits a chance to enhance the quality of life aboard the installation for those who work there and future recruits.

They spend a lot of time during the week beautifying the base or assisting other Marines or employees in their daily tasks, whether it is at the recycling area or at the Recruit Training Regiment. The same also applies for those recruits who stay back at Camp Pendleton.

Personally, this week seemed to be a bit of a break, at least for the drill instructors. Although they were still with the recruits most of the day, it was easy on them because others were occupying the recruit’s time. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s still not the average lazy day you may be thinking of, but for boot camp both parties get a nice break from each other.

More importantly the recruits are finally in 3rd Phase and sooner than not they will be the senior company aboard the depot.

Uniform Fitting
There has been a huge change in the recruits as far as attitude goes and their individual personalities are coming back around. One thing they all have in common though is the pride and confidence they display. This was the first thing I noticed when I walked in on them in mismatched uniforms while they were preparing them for alterations. Nothing but smiles, at least when they DIs weren’t watching.

It didn’t matter to them that they were wearing delta trousers (blue) with and alpha coat (green). They were just ecstatic to be wearing one of America’s most respectable uniforms.

A while back I mentioned talking about the different aspects of the uniform and how they have different meanings. The blood stripe is sewn on to the delta trousers after being promoted to a Corporal (E-4). It is said that we wear this blood stripe in honor of those who were involved with Chapultepec.

Series Commander Inspection
This is another inspection to challenge the recruits on the knowledge they have retained as well as test their bearing, inspect the upkeep of their uniforms and their progression of rifle manual.

Much like the senior drill instructor inspection, the recruits prepared for this thoroughly and were formed into platoons standing tall waiting for the series commander.

It is certainly not as intense as the SDI inspection as the chaos involved is not the same. But I feel as though the recruits are just as nervous because they have someone much higher to answer to. Typically every recruit will fail the Senior Drill Instructor Inspection and not every recruit will fail the Series Commander Inspection. This inspection will help prepare them for the Battalion Commanders Inspection.

I want to take a minute to recognize the importance of inspections. Let’s use a uniform inspection for example. Usually a staff noncommissioned officer will tell a junior Marine to perform an inspection. In return the SNCO will inspect the final product after all discrepancies have been fixed. The reason they do this is because in the event a Marines uniform is unserviceable or incorrect. That Marine will be corrected on the spot, but then they will also confront the SNCO or officer and ask why their Marine is out of uniform and then guess what… Know that old saying sh*t roles down hill? It does.

Marine Corps benefits
Marines join the military for different reasons. I have been a from
coast to coast and part of several different units and I here the same thing over and over again from junior Marines. They all ask, where are these benefits I was promised?

When I joined, my recruiter pulled out these little tags. I think there were probably about 14 of them. He said to me “Of these tags, what do you want to do with your future?”

I picked education, travel and I think financial stability. He said to me “the Marine Corps can give you all these things, you just have to go out and get it. The Marine Corps won’t just hand it to you, but it’s there.”

He wasn’t lying, but it was his advice about going out and getting it that’s important. Junior Marines don’t realize it at first because everything is pretty much do as I say until they start picking up rank. No one is going to say “go to the education center and get tuition assistance for that class you want to take.” Nor will they say “you should request an individual augment billet with a Marine Expeditionary Unit so you can travel to other countries.”

So do your kids recruiter a favor, remind your recruits why they joined and tell them to go after it. Recruiters just point potential Marines in the right direction, once they make it, all they have to do is ask and be persistent.

Do some research on Dan Daly. He is remembered for many things, but commonly a famous saying. He is also the epitome of a exemplar Marine. Each time a company graduates, one Drill Instructor receives the Dan Daly award for being the hardest working. Who do you think will win?

The winner of the rifle range: Platoon 2150
Final CFT: Platoon 2156

Please remember it’s not about who gets first place… it’s about being consistent. When the winner of honor platoon is determined it might just surprise you.