Semper Fidelis: Becoming a Marine- Part 5 of ? Basic Training

Basic Training

Disclaimer:

I realized I never posted this to my blog: this is actually the piece I wrote for the United States Marine Corps page on Basic Training. So here you go!

Recruit Training (Boot Camp)

If you wish to contact a recruiter about joining the USMC, click this link.

Marine Corps Recruit Training is generally considered to be the most intensive and difficult basic training of any branch of the US Armed Forces. Over three months of constant training and education goes into forging hardened, battle willing Marines. Recruits are broken down, and built up as superior soldiers for today's battlefield and military occupations.

The Marines are America's first and front line warriors. Every Marine knows how to and must be expected to fight in some of the world's most dangerous and demanding conflicts. In order to prepare Marines for this, they must go through the living hell of Recruit Training. They will be asked to do things that they never before would have attempted, let alone believed could be possible. From the miles of hiking with full battle gear to the dreaded gas chamber, Marine Corps recruits are put through a very special kind of hell. It weeds out those few to get so far as Basic without what it takes to graduate, and makes Marines of the survivors. MCRD is easily the most important cog in the Marine Corps machine, making men of boys, giving them raw strength and ability and forcing it into an incredibly strict and harsh reality. Few would question the results of MCRT techniques.

The Marine Corps holds it's Marines to the highest of standards, especially when it comes to physical condition. To ship to Basic, recruits must be capable of passing the Initial Strength Test before shipping. However, they will be required to perform the Physical Fitness Test, a more rigorous version of the IST, periodically through Basic, so most recruits would be wise to meet PFT standards before they leave for boot camp.

The requirements for male and female recruits are as follow:

EVENTMINIMUM MALEMINIMUM FEMALE
1.5M RUN13:3015:00
PULL-UPS(M) FLEXED ARM HANG(F)200:12
CRUNCHES4444

MCRD

Marines begin their training in one of two MCRDs (Marine Corp Recruit Depot); San Diego, California or Parris Island, South Carolina. Male recruits West of the Mississippi ship to MCRD San Diego, while male recruits East of the Mississippi, as well as all female recruits, ship to MCRD Parris Island. While practices differ somewhat from coast to coast, the results are largely the same, and what few differences there are are minor in the grand scheme of things.

Receiving

When recruits arrive at their assigned MCRD, they first are put through Receiving, which quickly shows the recruits that the next 13 weeks of their lives will not be a joke. Generally recruits will not sleep the first night, as they fill out paperwork, arranging for things like medication, base pay, and being issued basic gear, turning in all civilian possessions. They will also be given their recruit haircut, cut close to the scalp, as well as medical and dental screenings.

All through Receiving, you will get a taste of what the 12 week "training" portion of Basic will be like. You will spend several days being ordered around and barked at by Drill Instructors, being shown the ropes, and ordered to do any and everything "by the numbers" from showering to making your rack (bed).

Training Begins

Recruit Training is broken up into three phases: Basic Learning, Rifle Training, Field Training. Each will cover particular aspects of the requirements of the Marine occupation. Throughout all of these phases you will go through physical, mental, and academic training. You will continue to be physically active throughout the next 3 months. Just because the focus of the second phase is marksmanship does not mean you will stop marching, stop running, stop PTing in any way.

In fact, just about every day recruits will get a bit of every Marine's bread and butter: Physical Training (PT). PT is performed early in the morning to warm up recruits, starting with a number of limbering exercises and then up to 15 reps of the "daily dozen" (side-startle hops, bends & thrusts, rowing exercise, side benders, leg lifts, toe touches, mountain climbing, trunk twisters, push-ups, bend and reach, body twists, and squat benders). This should create a habit in recruits for after basic to perform PT as often as is healthy and possible.

During training, you will usually get a full night of sleep: 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. As with everything else at recruits training, however, there is of course a list of exceptions; such as when a recruit is required to perform guard duty, fire/security watch, mess duty, or when the series/company is engaged in scheduled night events, where recruits can expect a minimum of 6 hours of sleep. During The Crucible, Recruits generally get approximately 4 hours of sleep per night.

You will also be afforded some free time, at least an hour a day when in garrison, starting on the first official training day. During this free time no training will take place and no instructions will be given by Drill Instructors. This time is used for recruits to tend to personal needs, read and write letters, or watch Instructional TV. Before free time every day, mail will be handed out by your DI.

Phase One: Basic Learning

After receiving, recruits are introduced to what everyday life at Basic will be like, where they finally get to meet their new best friend: their Senior Drill Instructor. They will also be taken to the barracks, where they will be staying for the next 12 weeks, barring some field training. Recruits will learn (or practice, if they came prepared) how to march, how to wear their uniform, secure their weapon, and most importantly follow orders. This process is called "forming" and it will prepare you for the training ahead of you.

Recruits also learn how they will be required to speak from that point on until their graduation: in the third person. There is no me, I, or you. Recruits will say "This recruit" or "that recruit" or "those recruits". There is no floor, it is called a "deck". The latrine is a "head". Upstairs is "topside", and down stairs is "down below". The direction your facing is "forward", behind you is "aft", left is "port" and right is "starboard". The list of new vocabulary is long, and by no means optional.

Once you graduate, you may drop the third person speech, but the rest of the terms learned during forming will continue to be used throughout your career as a Marine.

DISCIPLINE: Incentive Physical Training

While Drill Instructors are not permitted to use profanity or physically touch recruits (save for safety reasons), the Marine Corps Drill Instructors have a special means of keeping recruits in line: IPT or "Quarter-decking."

IPT consists of prescribed exercises (a maximum of five minutes outside in "the pit," no maximum inside). Exercises one can expect if one is "quarter-decked" are: bends & thrusts, leg lifts, side lunges, mountain climbing, running in place, side straddle hops, and push-ups, done as fast as the D.I. can "encourage" you to perform them.

Recruits can expect to be "quarter-decked" frequently during "forming" as they will not be familiar the the tasks that they are being assigned, and will make mistakes. As Training progresses however, this 'punishment' will reduce in frequency until it hopefully comes to a near halt.

Week one of Basic Learning starts with an introduction to Close Quarters Combat (Yes, CQB!), primarily bayonet fighting and familiarizing you with your M16A2 rifle, before moving on to the basics of close combat. Marines will be taught the need to be aggressive and to over power their opponents when they are introduced to "pugil sticks", which recruits are required to strike at one another in one on one matches of pure offense.

You will start learning basic first aid, continue with pugil sticks and close combat, and move on to core values, weapon handling, and other academics.

Soon after this, you will be introduced to one of the great morale boosters of Recruit Training: the Confidence Course designed to give recruits confidence in their abilities as they navigate a daunting obstacle course that has them climbing, running, swinging, crossing bodies of water with nothing but ropes, and much much more.

After this, recruits will experience on of the biggest events of recruit training: Combat Water Survival. Marines are an amphibious force and all Marines must be capable and confident in the water. If a recruit cannot meet certain standards in Combat Water Survival they will not graduate, though they will be given additional attempts if they do not succeed at first.

After CWS, recruits will come to a milestone of progress, undergoing their first major inspection and as always, continuing their academics.

Phase Two: Rifle Training

During weeks six and seven, recruits will go through basic rifle training. Starting off, recruits will learn basic stances and firing positions, how to fire their rifles and adjust their sights, and understand the basic fundamentals of marksmanship. After a week of dry firing and familiarizing yourself with your rifle, you will get a chance to fire it for real on a known distance range. Recruits will fire live rounds at targets between 200 and 500 meters away.

During weapons training, recruits will also receive training on grenades and other common weaponry used by Marines in the field.

After learning to fire at stationary targets on a range, recruits will then learn how to engage targets in the field, firing on multiple moving targets under a variety of conditions.

Week eight is "Team Week" which means recruits get something of a break from the usual training to spend their time in the mess hall or another similar duty. While it doesn't sound particularly enjoyable, recruits will get to enjoy the relatively gentler nature of Mess Sergeants as opposed to their Drill Instructors.

Week nine has recruits diving right back into their training, focusing on firing their rifles in the field in preparation for the final phase of training, Field Training. Recruits will also experience a 10 mile hike with packs, which is sure to give blisters to even the most resilient recruit.

Phase Three: Field Training

Field training is when you learn to take everything you've learned, and apply it all to operations in the field. You'll operate and live in a simulated combat environment, and learn the fundamentals of patrolling, firing, setting up camp, and more. Basic Warrior Training introduces recruits to field living conditions, preparing them for the USMC School of Infantry, where the majority of their field training will take place.

During this final phase of training, recruits must go through the "Gas Chamber" designed to teach recruits how to don their gas masks in the case of a chemical agent at use. The Gas Chamber is one of the more difficult tasks at recruit training, despite lasting only a few minutes. While in a sealed room filled with riot control gas, recruits must repeatedly remove and don their gas masks, all the while coping with the extreme sensations caused by the gas. Breathing the gas causes a choking sensations, making recruits gag and cough. It irritated the eyes, making them water profusely. It burns the recruits' skin, and often makes them panic. But in order to leave the room they must overcome their fears and remain in control so they can go through the exercise and quickly as possible.

The Gas Chamber proves to recruits that their masks will protect them from harmful substances, and see that they have the ability to apply the masks in times of need, giving them much needed confidence in themselves and their equipment.

Week eleven comes around, and recruits have just two more weeks left until graduation. Though they are tired and sore, most recruits have gained incredible confidence and become extremely capable. Week ten marks the end of most training, with weeks eleven and twelve set aside to test the recruits one final time. Recruits will first go through the Company Commander's Inspection, which will demand the utmost from the recruits, requiring them to do everything perfectly, from the way they wear their uniform to the way they handle a weapon.

The Crucible.

The final portion of United States Marine Corps Recruit Training is The Crucible. During this fifty-four hour test of weeks of training, and pure resolve and strength of body and character, recruits will be pushed to show that they are worthy of the title "United States Marine."

Recruits will be sleep deprived, they will march approximately 40 miles, and go through a number of events designed around the requirements and expectations of the Marine Corps. Recruits are on the cusp of earning their Eagle, Globe, and Anchors, and they know it. They must work to show that they can work cohesively as a unit to solve a wide variety of problems, demonstrate complete field capability, and quality of character. A final foot march will conclude with a Morning Colors Ceremony and a "Warriors" Breakfast."

The famed "Eagle, Globe and Anchor Ceremony" is conducted immediately after the Cruicible. The Eagle, Globe and Anchor is the Marine Corps Emblem -- It signifies that they are members, always and forever, of the few and the proud. Once open to loved ones, the ceremony is now a private affair, and only Marines attend. As of the ceremony, that includes every recruit that made it through the Crucible.

Marines at last

Now that the recruits are no longer recruits, but Marines, things change quite a bit. Their remaining time at Basic has them speaking once again in the first person, wearing the rank insignia they have earned, and taking on more responsibilities. The Drill Instructors, who often allow the new Marines to call them by their rank, rather than "Sir" or "ma'am", step back and let the Marines adjust to their new life.

The final days are spent mostly on academics as well as practicing for the graduation ceremony, where Marines will be reunited with loved ones for the first time since leaving home.

Graduation

The minimum (core) graduation requirements are:

  • Pass the physical fitness test and be within prescribed weight standards
  • Qualify for Combat Water Survival at level 4 or higher
  • Qualify with the service rifle
  • Pass the batallion commander's inspection
  • Pass the written tests
  • Complete the Crucible

Time Spent in Training:

  • Instructional Time (The Crucible / Combat Water Survival / Weapons and Field Training): 279.5 hours
  • Core Values / Academics / Values Reinforcement: 41.5
  • Physical Fitness: 59
  • Close Order Drill: 54.5
  • Field Training: 31
  • Close Combat Training: 27
  • Conditioning Marches: 13
  • Administration: 60
  • Senior DI Time (nightly free time): 55.5
  • Movement Time: 60
  • Sleep: 479
  • Basic Daily Routine: 210
  • Chow: 179
  • Total: 1518 hours
5 Comments
6 Comments
Posted by MordeaniisChaos

Basic Training

Disclaimer:

I realized I never posted this to my blog: this is actually the piece I wrote for the United States Marine Corps page on Basic Training. So here you go!

Recruit Training (Boot Camp)

If you wish to contact a recruiter about joining the USMC, click this link.

Marine Corps Recruit Training is generally considered to be the most intensive and difficult basic training of any branch of the US Armed Forces. Over three months of constant training and education goes into forging hardened, battle willing Marines. Recruits are broken down, and built up as superior soldiers for today's battlefield and military occupations.

The Marines are America's first and front line warriors. Every Marine knows how to and must be expected to fight in some of the world's most dangerous and demanding conflicts. In order to prepare Marines for this, they must go through the living hell of Recruit Training. They will be asked to do things that they never before would have attempted, let alone believed could be possible. From the miles of hiking with full battle gear to the dreaded gas chamber, Marine Corps recruits are put through a very special kind of hell. It weeds out those few to get so far as Basic without what it takes to graduate, and makes Marines of the survivors. MCRD is easily the most important cog in the Marine Corps machine, making men of boys, giving them raw strength and ability and forcing it into an incredibly strict and harsh reality. Few would question the results of MCRT techniques.

The Marine Corps holds it's Marines to the highest of standards, especially when it comes to physical condition. To ship to Basic, recruits must be capable of passing the Initial Strength Test before shipping. However, they will be required to perform the Physical Fitness Test, a more rigorous version of the IST, periodically through Basic, so most recruits would be wise to meet PFT standards before they leave for boot camp.

The requirements for male and female recruits are as follow:

EVENTMINIMUM MALEMINIMUM FEMALE
1.5M RUN13:3015:00
PULL-UPS(M) FLEXED ARM HANG(F)200:12
CRUNCHES4444

MCRD

Marines begin their training in one of two MCRDs (Marine Corp Recruit Depot); San Diego, California or Parris Island, South Carolina. Male recruits West of the Mississippi ship to MCRD San Diego, while male recruits East of the Mississippi, as well as all female recruits, ship to MCRD Parris Island. While practices differ somewhat from coast to coast, the results are largely the same, and what few differences there are are minor in the grand scheme of things.

Receiving

When recruits arrive at their assigned MCRD, they first are put through Receiving, which quickly shows the recruits that the next 13 weeks of their lives will not be a joke. Generally recruits will not sleep the first night, as they fill out paperwork, arranging for things like medication, base pay, and being issued basic gear, turning in all civilian possessions. They will also be given their recruit haircut, cut close to the scalp, as well as medical and dental screenings.

All through Receiving, you will get a taste of what the 12 week "training" portion of Basic will be like. You will spend several days being ordered around and barked at by Drill Instructors, being shown the ropes, and ordered to do any and everything "by the numbers" from showering to making your rack (bed).

Training Begins

Recruit Training is broken up into three phases: Basic Learning, Rifle Training, Field Training. Each will cover particular aspects of the requirements of the Marine occupation. Throughout all of these phases you will go through physical, mental, and academic training. You will continue to be physically active throughout the next 3 months. Just because the focus of the second phase is marksmanship does not mean you will stop marching, stop running, stop PTing in any way.

In fact, just about every day recruits will get a bit of every Marine's bread and butter: Physical Training (PT). PT is performed early in the morning to warm up recruits, starting with a number of limbering exercises and then up to 15 reps of the "daily dozen" (side-startle hops, bends & thrusts, rowing exercise, side benders, leg lifts, toe touches, mountain climbing, trunk twisters, push-ups, bend and reach, body twists, and squat benders). This should create a habit in recruits for after basic to perform PT as often as is healthy and possible.

During training, you will usually get a full night of sleep: 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. As with everything else at recruits training, however, there is of course a list of exceptions; such as when a recruit is required to perform guard duty, fire/security watch, mess duty, or when the series/company is engaged in scheduled night events, where recruits can expect a minimum of 6 hours of sleep. During The Crucible, Recruits generally get approximately 4 hours of sleep per night.

You will also be afforded some free time, at least an hour a day when in garrison, starting on the first official training day. During this free time no training will take place and no instructions will be given by Drill Instructors. This time is used for recruits to tend to personal needs, read and write letters, or watch Instructional TV. Before free time every day, mail will be handed out by your DI.

Phase One: Basic Learning

After receiving, recruits are introduced to what everyday life at Basic will be like, where they finally get to meet their new best friend: their Senior Drill Instructor. They will also be taken to the barracks, where they will be staying for the next 12 weeks, barring some field training. Recruits will learn (or practice, if they came prepared) how to march, how to wear their uniform, secure their weapon, and most importantly follow orders. This process is called "forming" and it will prepare you for the training ahead of you.

Recruits also learn how they will be required to speak from that point on until their graduation: in the third person. There is no me, I, or you. Recruits will say "This recruit" or "that recruit" or "those recruits". There is no floor, it is called a "deck". The latrine is a "head". Upstairs is "topside", and down stairs is "down below". The direction your facing is "forward", behind you is "aft", left is "port" and right is "starboard". The list of new vocabulary is long, and by no means optional.

Once you graduate, you may drop the third person speech, but the rest of the terms learned during forming will continue to be used throughout your career as a Marine.

DISCIPLINE: Incentive Physical Training

While Drill Instructors are not permitted to use profanity or physically touch recruits (save for safety reasons), the Marine Corps Drill Instructors have a special means of keeping recruits in line: IPT or "Quarter-decking."

IPT consists of prescribed exercises (a maximum of five minutes outside in "the pit," no maximum inside). Exercises one can expect if one is "quarter-decked" are: bends & thrusts, leg lifts, side lunges, mountain climbing, running in place, side straddle hops, and push-ups, done as fast as the D.I. can "encourage" you to perform them.

Recruits can expect to be "quarter-decked" frequently during "forming" as they will not be familiar the the tasks that they are being assigned, and will make mistakes. As Training progresses however, this 'punishment' will reduce in frequency until it hopefully comes to a near halt.

Week one of Basic Learning starts with an introduction to Close Quarters Combat (Yes, CQB!), primarily bayonet fighting and familiarizing you with your M16A2 rifle, before moving on to the basics of close combat. Marines will be taught the need to be aggressive and to over power their opponents when they are introduced to "pugil sticks", which recruits are required to strike at one another in one on one matches of pure offense.

You will start learning basic first aid, continue with pugil sticks and close combat, and move on to core values, weapon handling, and other academics.

Soon after this, you will be introduced to one of the great morale boosters of Recruit Training: the Confidence Course designed to give recruits confidence in their abilities as they navigate a daunting obstacle course that has them climbing, running, swinging, crossing bodies of water with nothing but ropes, and much much more.

After this, recruits will experience on of the biggest events of recruit training: Combat Water Survival. Marines are an amphibious force and all Marines must be capable and confident in the water. If a recruit cannot meet certain standards in Combat Water Survival they will not graduate, though they will be given additional attempts if they do not succeed at first.

After CWS, recruits will come to a milestone of progress, undergoing their first major inspection and as always, continuing their academics.

Phase Two: Rifle Training

During weeks six and seven, recruits will go through basic rifle training. Starting off, recruits will learn basic stances and firing positions, how to fire their rifles and adjust their sights, and understand the basic fundamentals of marksmanship. After a week of dry firing and familiarizing yourself with your rifle, you will get a chance to fire it for real on a known distance range. Recruits will fire live rounds at targets between 200 and 500 meters away.

During weapons training, recruits will also receive training on grenades and other common weaponry used by Marines in the field.

After learning to fire at stationary targets on a range, recruits will then learn how to engage targets in the field, firing on multiple moving targets under a variety of conditions.

Week eight is "Team Week" which means recruits get something of a break from the usual training to spend their time in the mess hall or another similar duty. While it doesn't sound particularly enjoyable, recruits will get to enjoy the relatively gentler nature of Mess Sergeants as opposed to their Drill Instructors.

Week nine has recruits diving right back into their training, focusing on firing their rifles in the field in preparation for the final phase of training, Field Training. Recruits will also experience a 10 mile hike with packs, which is sure to give blisters to even the most resilient recruit.

Phase Three: Field Training

Field training is when you learn to take everything you've learned, and apply it all to operations in the field. You'll operate and live in a simulated combat environment, and learn the fundamentals of patrolling, firing, setting up camp, and more. Basic Warrior Training introduces recruits to field living conditions, preparing them for the USMC School of Infantry, where the majority of their field training will take place.

During this final phase of training, recruits must go through the "Gas Chamber" designed to teach recruits how to don their gas masks in the case of a chemical agent at use. The Gas Chamber is one of the more difficult tasks at recruit training, despite lasting only a few minutes. While in a sealed room filled with riot control gas, recruits must repeatedly remove and don their gas masks, all the while coping with the extreme sensations caused by the gas. Breathing the gas causes a choking sensations, making recruits gag and cough. It irritated the eyes, making them water profusely. It burns the recruits' skin, and often makes them panic. But in order to leave the room they must overcome their fears and remain in control so they can go through the exercise and quickly as possible.

The Gas Chamber proves to recruits that their masks will protect them from harmful substances, and see that they have the ability to apply the masks in times of need, giving them much needed confidence in themselves and their equipment.

Week eleven comes around, and recruits have just two more weeks left until graduation. Though they are tired and sore, most recruits have gained incredible confidence and become extremely capable. Week ten marks the end of most training, with weeks eleven and twelve set aside to test the recruits one final time. Recruits will first go through the Company Commander's Inspection, which will demand the utmost from the recruits, requiring them to do everything perfectly, from the way they wear their uniform to the way they handle a weapon.

The Crucible.

The final portion of United States Marine Corps Recruit Training is The Crucible. During this fifty-four hour test of weeks of training, and pure resolve and strength of body and character, recruits will be pushed to show that they are worthy of the title "United States Marine."

Recruits will be sleep deprived, they will march approximately 40 miles, and go through a number of events designed around the requirements and expectations of the Marine Corps. Recruits are on the cusp of earning their Eagle, Globe, and Anchors, and they know it. They must work to show that they can work cohesively as a unit to solve a wide variety of problems, demonstrate complete field capability, and quality of character. A final foot march will conclude with a Morning Colors Ceremony and a "Warriors" Breakfast."

The famed "Eagle, Globe and Anchor Ceremony" is conducted immediately after the Cruicible. The Eagle, Globe and Anchor is the Marine Corps Emblem -- It signifies that they are members, always and forever, of the few and the proud. Once open to loved ones, the ceremony is now a private affair, and only Marines attend. As of the ceremony, that includes every recruit that made it through the Crucible.

Marines at last

Now that the recruits are no longer recruits, but Marines, things change quite a bit. Their remaining time at Basic has them speaking once again in the first person, wearing the rank insignia they have earned, and taking on more responsibilities. The Drill Instructors, who often allow the new Marines to call them by their rank, rather than "Sir" or "ma'am", step back and let the Marines adjust to their new life.

The final days are spent mostly on academics as well as practicing for the graduation ceremony, where Marines will be reunited with loved ones for the first time since leaving home.

Graduation

The minimum (core) graduation requirements are:

  • Pass the physical fitness test and be within prescribed weight standards
  • Qualify for Combat Water Survival at level 4 or higher
  • Qualify with the service rifle
  • Pass the batallion commander's inspection
  • Pass the written tests
  • Complete the Crucible

Time Spent in Training:

  • Instructional Time (The Crucible / Combat Water Survival / Weapons and Field Training): 279.5 hours
  • Core Values / Academics / Values Reinforcement: 41.5
  • Physical Fitness: 59
  • Close Order Drill: 54.5
  • Field Training: 31
  • Close Combat Training: 27
  • Conditioning Marches: 13
  • Administration: 60
  • Senior DI Time (nightly free time): 55.5
  • Movement Time: 60
  • Sleep: 479
  • Basic Daily Routine: 210
  • Chow: 179
  • Total: 1518 hours
Online
Edited by Mikemcn

Are those minimums for new recruits accurate? That seems like a very low barrier to entry, they must rely on the training itself to get recruits in shape. If you can run around an 8 minute mile and are of basic strength, you'll get in. How much harder are the physical tests after that? Do they slowly ramp up in intensity? I feel like you would get alot of ok recruits and then they'd immediately fail out once they started doing things like the hiking in full gear and whatnot.

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

@Mikemcn said:

Are those minimums for new recruits accurate? That seems like a very low barrier to entry, they must rely on the training itself to get recruits in shape. If you can run around an 8 minute mile and are of basic strength, you'll get in. How much harder are the physical tests after that? Do they slowly ramp up in intensity? I feel like you would get alot of ok recruits and then they'd immediately fail out once they started doing things like the hiking in full gear and whatnot.

Those are the minimum for new recruits as far as I have been informed. I can scan in the booklet I was given by my recruiter that details that stuff if you'd like.

Basic Training is all about getting you past the standards. The requirements for graduation are much higher, as well.

This being said, no recruiter will ever tell you that is good enough. When I went to MEPS, the "required" amount was unacceptable unless the individual had clearly put every ounce of effort into it. One kid had done the minimum number of pull-ups, and dropped from the bar, clearly capable of more. The Marine observing shouted at him to get his ass back on the bar and finish his pull-ups.

With the Marine Corps, you're never expected to fulfill the minimum, that's just what you HAVE TO HAVE to go to bootcamp. If you're out of shape, they will cut your food intake and up your PT when you are at Basic to get you up to standards. And if you just try to coast by with required performance with your recruiter, they are not going to be happy with you. They expect you to constantly exceed your own capabilities and improve yourself.

You come out of basic a very different person from when you left for basic, even if you're incredibly fit.

They don't want to require too much, because there are those who have the will to do better but have never accessed that part of them until they arrive at MCRD.

Basically you just need to have the basic ability to do what they will ask of you at basic. But if you don't have the enthusiasm and intensity to up your game, by rather a lot (for example having to run twice as far, keeping good pace, or keeping pace along a 10km march with your fellow recruits).

But those are just the official numbers. It's not what is expected of people, and short of being overweight you will, in my experience, and from what I've heard, it's not what you'll be asked to do prior. You will be pushed to do better. You will be told that you can't just cruise by on requirements. You have to exceed to really make it in the corps, because otherwise you'll stay at the bottom and lets face it, it doesn't pay well.

I'll be honest, it doesn't look like much for those who are in decent shape, but most of America isn't. Most of the people I know can barely do one pull-up, let alone 10. Hell, I'm struggling to get past 10, because I've got no proper bar to work my strength up on, or any sort of equipment, all I can do it pull-ups off of a bunk bed (which is an awkward thing to make your body do when you're 6 feet tall), push-ups, etc. But I'm working hard to get into shape because I really want to be a Marine, and I think the resounding majority of the very small percentage of our population that undertakes enlisting in the Marine Corps are like me in that they want to be the best they can possibly be and will not stop working to improve themselves to be better candidates for the Marine Corps.

And you'll need that because Basic is going to be fucking hell if you're overweight and can barely perform at the minimal level. You are always encouraged by recruits, assuming they have the slightest clue what they are doing, to improve your scores, and push yourself to be in better shape, even if you already exceed the requirements.

I started out doing 45 crunches in 2 minutes. Soon after that, it was 75, and then 110. Well above what I need, but it'll make me happier, and it'll make me a better Marine. I was shown that this thinking would be best for me by my recruiter and I believe that there is some value to making those numbers so small, because it shows when someone is barely even trying. You should not be able to budge your body weight on those bars when you finish your last rep if you're doing it right, and the Marines observing will make a note of that.

In short:

Sorry if this is a bit long. In short, things do ramp up very quickly, and a lot of what you are required to do involves you wearing a hell of a lot of weight. Marches, field training, even water training are performed with heavy combat gear (body armor, a rifle, etc). It's a little different than just body weight. Try walking 6 and a half miles with a backpack full of bricks. It's a whole new experience.

On top of that, you are constantly in motion at basic training. So it's more than just a short spurt. If I'm well rested, I can do some impressive things. But when I've spent days working my ass, it's a little different.

There are also requirements like the CFT, or Combat Fitness Test, which you cannot understand how taxing that is until you try it, you just can't. We're talking about speed and intensity while carrying two 30 pound ammo cans, pulling or carrying another Marine, and generally covering a lot of ground. You are trying to move as fast as possible, and you should optimally be moving at a high speed the majority of the time, despite carrying upwards of 60 pounds. I did a shortened version of this, with full weights, and I could barely do it, and certainly couldn't run it. it's intense, it's hard, and you have to be capable of it as a Marine.

Online
Posted by Mikemcn

@MordeaniisChaos: Thanks for the reply! That whole process sounds very smart then, I always kinda assumed that in order to be fit enough to join the Marines you had to be the tough guy who spends every other day pumping iron and flexing, but understandably its more about mental strength if you have even a basic amount of fitness.

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

@Mikemcn: You'd be amazed the effect of a bunch of like-minded recruits, or even poolees (pre-recruits, basically) all working their asses off to do better and with Marines standing over you shouting at how you can do more will have on how many reps you can do. A lot of it is focused on convincing you of what you are capable of. If you can do 2 pull-ups, you can do 4, and you just don't know it yet. They are good at getting you to realize that even as recruiters. I can't wait to experience the wrath of a Drill Instructor and see how effective they are at pushing, encouraging, and building up recruits.

But honestly, look at pictures of Marines; go to a recruiting station. There will probably be the type that have necks too big to wrap your hands around and arms the size of oil pipes, but there will be plenty of goofy, kinda scrawny or at least lanky guys there. In fact the first recruiter I talked to was talk and skinny like me, wore glasses, and was actually a pretty serious weight lifter, he even had some awards for it. Marines seem to look kinda goofy and lanky a lot, I guess the whole expeditionary nature of the force attracts those types.

It's pretty cool seeing how knowledgeable the Corps has become at training 17 year old kids up into Marines. The focus is certainly on mental effort more than anything much of the time because without that mental capacity to push through the pain or the shaking limbs you'll never get any stronger.

Online
Posted by c0l0nelp0c0rn1

@MordeaniisChaos: Shocks the civilian right out of you.