Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, October 04, 2013 – Before reaching the end of recruit training, recruits must run through a battery of tests to show that they are qualified to earn the title Marine and ready for Fleet Marine Force.
Recruits of Company G, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, faced one of the fastest paced and physically exhausting tests, the Combat Fitness Test, for a final score aboard the depot, Sept. 12.
The CFT is meant to simulate combat situations and movements through three events. The first event is the Movement-to-Contact, which is an 880-meter timed run in boots and combat utilities. Directly after the run, recruits perform ammunition can lifts for two minutes. The final event is the Maneuver Under Fire, a timed movement that consists of various combat carries, crawls and obstacles.
“This event gives recruits a taste of combat,” said Sgt. Carlos Chavez, drill instructor, Platoon 2153. “The training here will help prepare them to be combat effective when they go out into real-world combat environments.”
Recruit training has been physically challenging, training their bodies for the endeavors of combat. But just as their bodies have been getting stronger, so have their minds. Mind over matter was an essential tool for recruits to overcome the challenges of the events.
“It shows that you’re never as tired as you think you are,” said Recruit Antonio C. Cole, Plt. 2155. “The body can push harder than the mind thinks; you can always push harder.”
The rapid succession of the events during the CFT leaves little time for rest and recovery. The score recruits receive will go on their record, but the training they take away from it will go with them for their entire career.
“This is as close to a combat scenario that you can get here,” said Cole, a Chicago native. “You never know what will be next right after you just finished pushing hard and going all out. You just have to be ready to jump right back into it.”
Drill instructors prepared recruits for the CFT on numerous occasions throughout the 2nd and 3rd phase of recruit training.
“While up north at Camp Pendleton, we did a lot of running that simulated the 880-meter run; almost every other night actually,” said Chavez, a South Padre Island, Texas native. “To train for the other events we did a lot of basic exercises including ammunition can lifts, push-ups, fireman carries and squats.”
Drill instructors knew the significance and importance of mental preparation for the event; therefore, they ensured recruits were pushed out of their comfort zones to achieve this.
“Drill instructors made us do physical events, and when we thought we couldn’t do it anymore they made us do it again,” said 19-year-old Cole. “I learned to push past what I thought were my limits.”
With another test passed, recruits of Co. G are one step closer to the completion of recruit training. The final test they will face is the Crucible, a 54-hour test of endurance in which recruits must conquer more than 30 different obstacles while they experience food and sleep deprivation. What returns from the Crucible is something new; a warrior, a Marine.
“You’re going to find your inner character or build it here,” said Chavez. “There are no excuses. You have no choice but to push through and be better than everything you face.”