What to Expect at Marine Corps Basic Training

Without a shadow of doubt, Marine basic training is far more challenging than any other branch in the military service. The requirements of the Marines training is much higher, and the recruits are required to learn and follow the core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment. Recruit training is located at one of the two Marine Corps Recruit Depots (MCRD): Parris Island, South Carolina, or San Diego, California.

When the recruits arrive at basic training, they are given their gear, and a series of physical examinations to ensure proper safety. They are given the IST, Initial Strength Test, taught weapon handling by trained experts, followed by the 11-obstacle Confidence Course.

United States Marine Corp Recruit Training
Marine Corps Recruit Depot(MCRD) is one of the birthplaces of trained Marines. It is where they are transitioned from young men into Marines. Marine Corps are not only trained mentally and Physically, but morally as well. The morals of the Marine Corps are their core values – Honor, Courage and Commitment. Learning and living by these values will not only transform them into basically trained, morally conscience Marines, but will return them to their Country as a better American Citizen.

Recruits should be aware of what to expect when arriving at boot camp. The first stop is at Recruit Receiving, where new recruits spend the first few days of their recruit training experience. Here they will receive their first haircut and their initial gear issue, which includes items like uniforms, toiletries and letter writing supplies. During this time recruits will also be given a full medical and dental screening, and take the Initial Strength Test.

This is the period where all recruits will meet their drill instructors for the first time. During Forming, recruits learn the basics such as how to dress, how to march, how to secure their weapons, make their beds, etc. It allows the recruits to get into the mode of what living will be like as a recruit.

This is where recruits basically learn how to march in sync. They learn how to stay in step with the rest of the platoon as well as the drill sergeant. As training continues, they become skilled performing in synchronization. The platoons will also compete in drill competitions. Drilling is used to form discipline, team pride, and cohesion.

Physical Training (PT)
Recruit training uses a progressive physical training program, which builds up recruits to Marine Corps standards. Recruits will experience Table PT, a period of training in which a drill instructor leads several platoons through a series of demanding exercises while he demonstrates on a table. Recruits will also run, either individually or as a platoon or squad. Other PT consists of obstacle courses, circuit courses, or 3-, 5- or 10-mile conditioning marches.

Recruits will have to study and familiarize themselves with the Marine Corps History, customs, courtesies, and basic lifesaving procedures. They will be given a test on these subjects while in recruit training.

Core Values
The Corps’ Core Values are Honor, Courage and Commitment. These values make up the foundation of a Marine’s character. During recruit training, recruits are taught these Core Values and the numerous others attached to them, such as integrity, discipline, teamwork, and duty. Drill instructors, recruit training officers and Navy chaplains teach specific core values classes, but drill instructors also talk one-on-one with recruits after other training events to see what values were learned and how they affect the recruits.

Most nights you’ll get a full 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. However, the Marine Corps Recruit Training Regulation allows the Basic Training Commanding General to reduce this requirement to 7 hours. In addition to 8 hours of sleep, you’ll get some “free time” each day. The purpose of free time is to allow recruits to read, write letters, watch instructional television (ITV), and to take care of other personal needs. It is a period when no training is received by recruits and no instruction is conducted by Drill Instructors.

Field Training
This training introduces the recruits to field conditions and survival. It is a 3 day event that involves the recruits learning basic skills needed for field survival such as tent building, sanitation and camouflage. During this period session, recruits will get to go through the grueling gas chamber.

Marksmanship Training
Marksmanship training teaches recruits the fundamentals of their M-16A2 rifle. his training takes place over 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) and a Primary Marksmanship Instructor shows recruits how to fire, how to adjust their sights, how to take into account the effects of the weather, etc. Recruits also have the opportunity to fire on the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Training machine. 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.

The 54 hours of The Crucible
The Crucible emphasizes trainee teamwork under stress. “Recruits get eight hours of sleep during the entire 54 hour exercise,” said Sgt. Roger Summers, a Delta Company drill instructor in the 1st Recruit Training Battalion at Parris Island. “They get two-and-a-half MREs and they are responsible for rationing out the food to themselves. Then we put them through tough physical activities like road marches and night infiltration courses. They march about 40 miles in those 54 hours.”

Note You may not think you have any rights when in basic training, but here are a few things you do have access to:

  • 20 minutes to consume each meal
  • Attend sick call.
  • Attend scheduled religious services.
  • Request mast via the chain-of-command.
  • Make and receive emergency phone calls.
  • Receive mail on the day it is received by the parent company except for Sundays, holidays, and during the Crucible Event.
  • Send mail without fear of censorship
  • Make head calls.
  • Use medication prescribed by a certified military medical officer.

New USMC Battle Dress Utilities Uniform
There is a brand new version of the utility uniform. About the only carryover from the old uniform is the idea of rolling sleeves inside out.

Some of the new features:

  • Gone are the lower pockets on the blouse.
  • Pocket flaps that once featured plastic buttons now use Velcro.
  • Trouser adjustment tapes were scrapped for an integrated elastic waist adjustment.
  • Brown suede boots replace black boots, complete with the Marine Corps’ eagle, globe and anchor on the ankle.
  • Pockets also were added to the upper parts of the sleeve.
  • The eagle, globe and anchor also appear embroidered on the new slanted chest pockets, the same as the traditional octagonal utility hat and the new “boonie” hat to be added to the new issue.
  • Collars were redesigned to be smaller and more comfortable.
  • Cargo pockets on the legs feature an elastic enclosure.
  • Belt loops were changed to accommodate the upcoming issue of Marine “rigger’s belts” in varying colors, which reflect Marines’ achievements in the Corps’ new martial arts program.
  • The blouse was even designed to make it easier for Marines to tuck it into their trousers in the field.

For the field, knee and elbow pad inserts were added to the uniform, “an issue that went over very, very well in testing,” Patricio said.

Subdued rank for the field is coming. Rank insignia that appeared silver will now be black, and once-gold ranks will be brown. But that’s only for the field. Traditional metallic insignia will be worn in garrison. There is no change for enlisted insignia.

The Biggest Change
But the most obvious change is the pattern, called Marine Pattern.

The new uniform features a computer-generated pattern patented by the Marine Corps. The pixel-style pattern “is more effective dry and wet,” Patricio said. And it’s coming in both woodland and desert patterns. It will be worn only by Marines and sailors assigned to duty with the Fleet Marine Forces, in accordance with regulations.

The uniform’s fabric also has been improved. Uniforms now are wrinkle-free and feature a permanent-press crease, eliminating the need for pressing and starching, which is said to degrade fiber.

Designers combined a longer-lasting fabric for the uniform with a lighter material.

Researchers chose a heavier trouser fabric to address increased durability while lighter blouse fabric will be used for increased comfort, Patricio said.

Even the seams on the trouser got a makeover. Reinforced diagonal seams replaced horizontal seams on the current uniform. The diagonal seams are expected to last longer by spreading the stress of the seam over a greater area.

The Enlisted Oath
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same. That I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.