Local Military News

How a recruit becomes a Marine in 13 weeks

Marine recruit Beth Dailey from Platoon 4007 eyes the finish line at the Field Training Unit's Infiltration Course during Basic Warrior Training. Series 4006, the first female recruit series to participate in BWT, finished the program for enhancing combat skills on March 5, 1988.
Marine recruit Beth Dailey from Platoon 4007 eyes the finish line at the Field Training Unit's Infiltration Course during Basic Warrior Training. Series 4006, the first female recruit series to participate in BWT, finished the program for enhancing combat skills on March 5, 1988. The Beaufort Gazette

In this undated multiple-exposure photo, drill instructors move recruits off the early bus to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and arrange them on the famous yellow footprints painted on the pavement.

Above: In this undated multiple-exposure photo, drill instructors move recruits off the early bus to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and arrange them on the famous yellow footprints painted on the pavement. (File/The Beaufort Gazette)

 

The phases of Marine Corps recruit training

Phase I: BREAKING THEM DOWN

It starts with yelling.

In the middle of the night, recruits are bused in and “greeted” by receiving drill instructors, who find fault with nearly  everything recruits do. With knocking knees, recruits spend about a week in what is called in-processing, where they are formed into platoons, issued uniforms, given haircuts and undergo initial fitness tests.

From there, they jump into physical training, engage in hand-to-hand combat through the Marines’ martial arts programs and are put through drills on which they later will be timed and tested. There are also classes during which they learn about Marine history, culture and courtesies.

It ends with Swim Week. Some recruits learn to swim, and others hone their aquatic skills. By the end, they’re leaping into deep water and treading in full gear.



Above: Swim week at Parris Island. (MCRDPI photo)

 

Phase II: BUILDING THEM UP

Most recruits have never fired a weapon.

That changes in a long grass field near the estuaries of Ribbon Creek.

Recruits spend a full week — called Grass Week — learning proper shooting form and targeting before they ever fire a round from their M16A4s. They spend another week shooting, building up to the Table 1 Marksmanship test, where they take aim at long-distance targets from several positions.

Of those who have shot before, only a small number approach the shooting form the Marine Corps teaches,  according to drill instructor Sgt. Elton Langlais.

“It’s a different way of shooting,” Langlais said. “For those who have shot weapons before, this is about removing bad habits and teaching them how to properly employ the weapon.”

This phase also includes more physical training, how to rappel properly and use a gas mask.

 

Above: Gas mask training. (MCRDPI photo)

A company commander, a first sergeant, and a recent graduate (with honors) share what the U.S. Marine Corps' three core values mean to them.

Phase III: Becoming Marines

In the final phase of recruit training, Marine recruits are tested physically and mentally on all they’ve learned.

“There’s way more of a mental aspect than I thought,” said recruit Brandt Edler of Beaver, Ohio.

That includes more complex marksmanship, survival skills in combat, land navigation and maneuvering under enemy fire.

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The final test is the Crucible, a grueling three-day exercise that earns the recruits the right to be called Marines.

From there, it’s graduation day and reuniting with families, who are amazed at the U.S. Marine who stands before them.

The new Marines get 10 days of leave before reporting to Camp Lejeune, N.C., for more training and then to their respective military occupational specialty schools across the country.

Photos taken of Marines going through the Day Movement Course portion during the Crucible on Sept. 25, 2015 at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.

Above: Recruits going through the Day Movement Course portion of the Crucible on Sept. 25, 2015, at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. (Delayna Earley/dearley@islandpacket.com) A US Marine stands holding a Eagle, Globe and Anchor emblem following a post-Crucible ceremony.

Above: A US Marine stands holding a Eagle, Globe and Anchor emblem following a post-Crucible ceremony. (MCRDPI photo)

Follow reporter Matt McNab on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.

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