Marine boot camp is officially 12 weeks of training, plus 1 week of processing.
Without doubt, Marine boot camp is more challenging — both physically and mentally — than the basic training programs of any of the other military services. See below just what it takes to survive this grueling process called boot camp. Not only are the physical requirements much higher, but recruits are required to learn and memorize a startling amount of information. There are more than 70 “training days” in a period a little longer than 12 weeks.
Week 1 – Receiving
The first stop in week one is at Recruit Receiving, where new recruits spend the first few days of their recruit training experience. During this first week you will be up the entire first night, and all of the next day. During this day and a half, you will be:
- Completing paperwork processing
- Getting Pay set up
- Initial gear setup
- Full medical and dental screenings
- Initial Strength Test (IST)
The remaining hours of week 1 will be comprised of various academic classes.
Week 2 – In the Barracks
The 2nd week of boot camp is intended to bring discipline into the recruits’ routine. Get the Recruits used to an intense schedule that they will be following everyday throughout bootcamp. Expect to learn and maintain the following in a matter of minutes:
- Wake up call
- Getting up
- Getting dressed
- Making your bed
- Brushing your teeth
- Getting shaved
- Moving out
Week 3 – Combat
As you move away from the first two weeks, you’ll continue learning the basics of close combat skills, including the infamous “pugil sticks.” Many recruits are somewhat apprehensive about this phase of training, but then find out how much fun it really is. It’s almost impossible to get hurt. The recruits are protected by a football helmet and mask, rubber neck roll and crotch cup, and only two kinds of blows are permitted: the slash and the horizontal butt stroke, both to the well-protected head and neck. A clean shot ends the bout. The secret is aggression — this is not a defensive sport. In addition to more pugil sticks and close combat training, you will learn:
- additional classes on first aid
- Core values
- 3 mile march (with packs)
- The Confidence Course
Week 4 – More Pugil Sticks
During the fourth week, there will be even more training with pugil sticks and additional training in close combat skills. In addition to the daily P.T., there will be further academic classes (including more core values training). The highlight of week 4 is the individual drill evaluation. Your platoon will be evaluated, graded, and compared to the other platoons.
The winning platoon, of course, receives a trophy for the trophy table. The losing platoons receive the wrath of their respective D.I.s.
Week 5 – Combat Water Survival
The biggest event of week 5 is Combat Water Survival. All Marines must pass basic water survival skills in order to graduate from boot camp (those who don’t pass will receive extensive remedial training until they do). Training in Combat Water Survival develops a recruit’s confidence in the water. All recruits must pass the minimum requirement level of Combat Water Survival-4, which requires recruits to perform a variety of water survival and swimming techniques. Recruits will also:
- Trail a 5 mile hike
- Test on Marine Customs and Courtesies
- Train in first aid
- Full blown inspection(uniforms, rifle, questions, etc)
- More core value training
Week 6 -/Rappelling.
This week is dedicated to learning and overcoming the fear of heights by getting up and rappelling down “the wall”. You will be taught the proper procedures and how to place your hands on the rope to successfully rappel down safely to ground.
Week 7 – Weapons Training
This week is dedicated to training that last two weeks. The first of which is called Snap-In Week. During this week, recruits are introduced to the four shooting positions (standing, kneeling, sitting and prone). During the second week of marksmanship training, recruits actually fire a known-distance course with ranges of 200, 300 and 500 yards. Recruits prepare for rifle qualification on Friday of that week. In addition to rifle training, you’ll practice and master training on:
- Grenades and other types of weapons.
- Training on how to fire properly
- Adjusting sight on weapons
- Firing a known-distance course
- Experience Field Firing Range (FFR)
Week 8 – Firing Week
Week 8 is strictly dedicated to firing your weapon and using the training you have been giving. Firing live rounds will show your sergeant how well you have listened. Concentration is key to the success of firing five well-aimed shots correctly.
Week 9 – Confidence Course
This week you will put your training on The Confidence Course to test. The Confidence Course consists of eleven obstacles, designed so that each obstacle is more physically challenging then the last. The obstacles are: (1) Dirty name (2) Run, Jump & Swing (3) The Inclining Wall (4) The Confidence Climb (5) Monkey Bridge (6) The Tough One (7) Reverse Climb (8) Slide for Life (9) the Hand Walk (10) The Arm Stretcher, and (11) The Sky Scraper. While these names sound daunting, the course is designed so the average platoon can run it in 45 minutes.
Week 10 – Field Training
During week 10, you’ll start putting all of your training together during field training. “Field Training” is “practice war.” 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. The majority of a Marine’s field training is conducted after recruit training at the School of Infantry.
During the 3-day Basic Warrior Training conducted during boot camp, recruits will learn basic field skills like setting up a tent, field sanitation and camouflage. It is also during this training that recruits go through the gas chamber.
During week 11, you get a chance to put everything you’ve learned in boot camp to the test. The week starts with the biggest competition of all: The CRUCIBLE. Everything comes together, as a team, leadership, discipline and the skills you have obtained throughout the 10 weeks of training. You will pull together as a team to finish up strong.
Week 11 is also known as “Transformation Week.” During this week the new Marines are given 1 hour extra free time each evening and wear the rank insignia of the grade to which they were either guaranteed upon enlistment, or earned during recruit training.
YOU MADE IT! This week is the receiving of awards, graduation practice and then graduation! You have now earned the title “Marine”.
The minimum (core) graduation requirements are:
(1) Pass the physical fitness test and be within prescribed weight standards
(2) Qualify for Combat Water Survival at level 4 or higher
(3) Qualify with the service rifle
(4) Pass the battalion commander’s inspection
(5) Pass the written tests
(6) Complete the Crucible
If you fail in any of the above areas, you are subject to be “recycled” (sent backwards in time to another platoon), or may possibly be discharged. Here’s how your 13 weeks breaks down in actual hours:
- 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
At the end of The Crucible, recruits march to the Emblem Ceremony, where Drill Instructors address recruits as “Marine” for the first time, and present their platoons with the Marine Corps Emblem—the Eagle, Globe and Anchor.
Receiving the emblem indicates that you have earned a place in the Marine Corps, and what’s earned is yours forever. You will now stand side by side with your instructors at graduation as part of the Few.