United States Marine Corps Boot Camp

United States Marine Corps Boot Camp

United States Marine Corps Boot Camp, otherwise known as "Recruit Training" is a program of initial training that each recruit must successfully complete upon joining the United States Marine Corps in order to be assigned to a unit. Individuals entering the Marine Corps will undergo Boot Camp at one of the two Marine Corps Recruit Depots (MCRD): MCRD Parris Island or MCRD San Diego. Male recruits from west of the Mississippi River are sent to MCRD San Diego. Male recruits from east of the Mississippi River, as well as all female recruits from both west and east of the Mississippi River, are sent to Parris Island.

Marines trained at MCRD San Diego are often referred to as "Hollywood Marines",cite book
first=Stephen F.
chapter=Appendix 1: Marine Speak
title=To Be a U.S. Marine
publisher=Zenith Imprint, 2004
] because of the base's location in California.


Daily schedule

A typical day in Marine Corps boot camp generally follows this schedule (physical training is only done on Monday through Friday): [http://www.mcrdpi.usmc.mil/training/ MRCD Parris Island. "Recruit Training"] ]

Organizational structure

Boot camp is broken down structurally by regiment, battalion, company and platoon. One Recruit Training Regiment (RTR) is composed of three recruit training battalions. (Aboard MCRD Parris Island, there is an additional battalion to train female recruits. No females are trained at MCRD San Diego.) Each battalion is made up of four companies, and each company is broken down into two series, which may have between two and four platoons, depending on the number of recruits in the company.

Drill Instructors

Central to the experience, training, and development of Marine recruits is the Marine Drill Instructor. Each Boot Camp platoon is assigned three or more Drill Instructors. There are two (or more) Drill Instructors serve under a more experienced Senior Drill Instructor (SDI). Drill Instructors receive the Drill Instructor Ribbon for their billets of professionalism and excellence.

The head drill instructor is called the "Senior Drill Instructor" and must be addressed as such. Often referred to simply as "Seniors", the SDIs often bond with the recruits and ensure that the the DIs do not push recruits beyond necessary barriers. The second in command is officially the EDI, or "Experienced Drill Instructor" but is unofficially referred to as the "heavy hat"or "j-hat" for junior DI. This hat is usually responsible for ensuring the platoon has the gear it needs and for teaching them drill. The third drill instructor (or instructors, as there is may be two or three) in a three-hat team is the ADI, "Assistant Drill Instructor" commonly referred to as the "green belt" "kill hat" or "knowledge hat". This hat is the one who teaches the recruits knowledge and is usually the one who "corrects" recruits.

Diet and Fitness

Recruits receive their initial weigh-in during the forming phase. [ [http://www.usmc.mil/news/publications/Documents/MCO%201510.32D.pdf Marine Corps Order 1510.32D. "Recruit Training" 25 Aug 2003] ] If the recruit is under or over the height and weight standards [ [http://usmilitary.about.com/od/marinejoin/l/blintweightmale.htm About.com "Marine Corps Recruit Weight & Height Requirements - Male"] ] [ [http://usmilitary.about.com/od/marinejoin/l/blrecweightfem.htm About.com "Marine Corps Recruit Weight & Height Requirements - Female"] ] [ [http://www.usmc.mil/news/publications/Documents/MCO%20P6100.12%20W%20CH%201.pdf Marine Corps Order P6100.12 W/Ch 1. "Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test and Body Composition Program Manual" 10 May 2002] ] , the recruit is placed on double rations (underweight) or in a "diet recruit" status (overweight).Recruits on double rations, or "double rat recruits", are given twice the "chow" of their within-standards compatriots. Conversely, diet recruits are put on a strict diet composed of fewer calories and lower-fat foods such as baked fish and rice.

All recruits receive three meals a day (also known as "chow time"). These are either served at the mess facility while in garrison or via Meals, Ready to Eat...or a "boxed chow" that has a sandwich, a bag of chips, 2 cookies, a hard boiled egg, boxed raisins, a granola bar, and an apple, pear, or orange.

Training schedule

Boot camp is a 12-week cycle of training, beginning with a receiving phase of in-processing or "forming", [http://www.mcrdpi.usmc.mil/newsinfo/faq.htm MCRD Parris Island. "Frequently Asked Questions"] ] followed by three numbered phases. Each phase includes intensive education and training on history, customs and courtesy, close order drill, as well as other topics deemed essential for United States Marines.

Receiving Phase

The initial period of Marine Corps Boot Camp is called the Receiving Phase. This period begins as the new recruits are on the bus en route to their recruit Depot — they are civilians who desire to enlist, with little or no understanding of the requirements demanded of Marines in today's Fleet Marine Force. Disembarking from the bus, they line up on the famous "Yellow Footprints". These footprints are spread at 45 degrees, the proper foot placement for the position of attention "POA", at which they will spend most of boot camp.

The recruits are acquainted with "Uniform Code of Military Justice" (UCMJ), to which they are now subject. Next they are searched and must give up any and all civilian conveniences. They don their initial military issued uniforms. From here, the males receive their first military haircut, where they are left essentially bald.

After this, the recruits go through days of introduction to the Marine Corps and completing the paperwork necessary to accommodate them into the Marine Corps. This takes approximately three days, ending with the Initial Strength Test (IST). The IST consists of performance tests involving pull-ups, abdominal crunches, and running. To pass, a male recruit must complete at least 2 pull-ups, 44 crunches in two minutes, and run 1.5 miles in 13:30 minutes or less. The female recruits must hold a “flexed arm hang” (hanging on a bar with their arms bent) for at least 12 seconds. They must also complete 44 crunches in two minutes, and run 1.5 miles in 15:00 minutes or less. Those recruits who pass the IST are prepared for their actual platoons, while those who fail are dropped, for males, to PCP "(Physical Conditioning Platoon)", informally known as the "Pork Chop Platoon" or "Donut Brigade", and for females, to FRP ("Female Rehabilitation Platoon"), where recruits are subjected to even more intense physical training. Female recruits are also dropped to FRP to recover from injuries received during training and to recover from certain illnesses.

From this point, recruits experience "Black Friday". This is the day where they meet their actual Drill Instructors. They also meet their Company Commander, a Captain, who orders their Drill Instructors to train them to become Marines. It is at this point that Boot Camp truly begins. Recruits receive their "IT Brief", where the recruits learn of the consequences of disobedience, or even not performing to the Drill Instructor's expectations. The Drill Instructors physically, psychologically and mentally challenge the recruits, including yelling at maximum volume to induce stress, simulate stress of the battlefield, and elicit immediate compliance to instructions. As punishment for infractions, both major and minor, "incentive physical training" (IT) ("getting thrashed/bent" or "going to the pit") can be imposed on wayward recruits, usually as a Platoon. In past years, this policy of "individual/incentive training" has become controversial in its alleged severity, however it is defended by the Marines who have gone through it as "essential" to the training necessary to becoming a Marine.

Each phase consists of a predetermined number of training days, these are counted in the training matrix as "T1", "T2", etc. [http://www.mcrdpi.usmc.mil/training/matrix/ MCRD Parris Island. "Recruit Training Matrix: Phase I"] ]

Phase One

Phase One lasts approximately four weeks. This phase is designed to break the recruits of civilian habits and to prepare them for Marine Corps discipline. This is done by disorienting them and instilling in them the mental and physical discipline needed to perform under stressful situations that will be simulated in subsequent phases, and experienced in combat situations. It is at this point that a recruit must come to terms with the decision he has made, and where he develops the true determination needed to make it through the process of becoming a United States Marine.

The purpose of the First Phase is to psychologically break down the Recruit. At this point, civilian thoughts and habits are considered detrimental to training, so they are squashed during this period by intense physical training, unchanging routines, strict discipline, and heavy instruction. The process is designed to enable recruits to learn to survive in combat situations, when captured by the enemy, and generally to adapt and overcome any encounters foreign to the recruit. One of the principle ideals learned during this period is that any and all Marines must be called "Sir", or "Ma'am", because they have completed the journey and become "Fleet Marines." Also, from this point onward recruits are not permitted to refer to themselves with first-person ("I") or second-person ("you") pronouns, because traditionally Marines think of themselves as the Corps, or their unit, first (rather than thinking of themselves as an individual recruit/Marine). Instead, recruits are required to use third-person referrals, such as referring to themselves as "This (or the) recruit" or "These (or the) recruits", etc. Failure to do so usually ends with extreme punishment, such as an IT.

The bulk of first phase, other than the breakdown, consist of classes about the Marine Corps, First Aid, History, Rank, Protocol, Customs and Courtesies, and other relevant topics.

During this phase, recruits are also issued their M16A2 Service Rifle. This weapon, always referred to as a "rifle", never as a "gun", stays with the recruit through the entirety of Boot Camp. Recruits must learn their rifle's serial number, the four weapons safety rules, the four weapons conditions, and go through preparatory lessons in Marksmanship. In addition, recruits begin to learn close order drill, to instill discipline, and the immediate and willing obedience to orders.

By the end of First Phase, recruits can march, respond to orders, and can PT adequately. All recruits must also pass swimming qualifications at the end of Phase One. Recruits unable to pass their swimming qualifications will be dropped out of their original platoon and cycled into a different platoon so they have another chance to pass the qualifications.

At this point they are ready for Phase Two.

Phase Two

Phase Two of Marine Corps Boot Camp is essentially the training that Marines require for the field. This includes two weeks of rifle training and field week.

The first week of the second phase of boot camp is known as "Grass Week". This week is spent in class learning about the Marksmanship principles of the M16, and how to shoot efficiently. When not in class, recruits are "snapping in", or dry firing their rifles at painted targets similar to the targets they will fire at for qualification.

The second week is qualification week. This week recruits are awakened early in the morning to prepare the rifle range for firing. They spend all day running through the "KD" or "Known Distance" Course of fire, practicing their aim, firing, and recovery. On Friday of that week is qualification day. There, recruits fire at the 200, 300, and 500 yard lines, in the standing, sitting, kneeling, and prone positions, and must pass with one of three qualification levels: Marksman, sharpshooter, or expert. The Marines are the only branch of the U.S. military that require the 500 yard line qualification.(Edson range on Camp Pendleton is the only Marine Corps rifle range that is marked in meters instead of yards)

After the rifle range, recruits begin Field Week. During this week, recruits learn basic infantry tactics, designed to give every Marine the ability to function as a rifleman, should the need arise. During this week, recruits are trained in such topics as the use of gas masks, field movements (humping, the Marine term for hiking in full gear), night fire, bivouacking, field first aid, etc. At the end of this week, the recruits prepare for the Crucible.

Phase Three

Third Phase is essentially the 'polishing' of the recruits, when their drilling, knowledge, and basic skills are honed and tested. Basic Warrior Training (BWT) occurs in the middle of Third Phase. BWT is where recruits learn the fundamentals of combat and will sleep in the field. They learn about proper camouflage, how to crawl properly, land navigation, squad tactics, etc. Recruits will also eat MREs during BWT. After this week, recruits return to garrison and prepare for final drill, take the final PFT, and take the Phase Three knowledge test, which is a test that includes knowledge learned during all the classroom courses. Next comes the Crucible (see below). After the grueling Crucible, recruits return again to garrison for their Eagle, Globe, and Anchor ceremony. This ceremony represents a recruit's transformation into a Marine. It is here recruits receive their Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, and are now Marines. The long journey is finally over. The final week of Recruit Training is referred to as "Marine Week" and includes Final Drill, the Battalion Inspection, Family Day, and Graduation. During this week, Marines learn how to act like Marines, and not recruits. For example, they are now able to use the first person, and refer to their Drill Instructors, and other enlisted Marines, by their rank as opposed to "Sir" or "Ma'am".

The Crucible

The Crucible is the culmination of everything a basic rifleman Marine should know. It is three days of constant strenuous testing, hardship, and food/sleep deprivation - in other words, typical combat conditions. The recruit is given three MREs (Meals Ready To Eat), and this is meant to supply them for the next three days. Worthy of note is that while some recruits have food to spare at the end of this ordeal, others consume their rations quickly, and when they become hungry, other recruits aid their fellows, some even giving their last bit of food to another. This is one of the goals of the Crucible: to train Marines to look out for one another. This also distinguishes leaders among the recruits, something the Drill Instructors look for in their platoons. The Crucible consists of certain challenges for the recruits, broken into teams of 16, to accomplish as a whole, or fail as a whole. One single recruit completing an obstacle means almost nothing. If anyone fails, it means that those that completed it failed to aid their fellow recruit in the accomplishment of their given mission. This is perhaps the ultimate goal of the Crucible: to instill in potential Marines that completing the mission is paramount to anything else. Added to these tasks, the recruits only get 8 hours of sleep over the course of these three days, adding the very real element of fatigue to the situations. On the final day of the Crucible, recruits are awoken and begin their final march (On the West coast this begins the 'Reaper' March). This march is often considered the most grueling part in all of recruit training.


The last day is called Family Day. It is the "Eagle, Globe, and Anchor Ceremony". This is the moment where they cease to be recruits, and become Marines forever, and are awarded their trademark Eagle, Globe, and Anchor (EGA) insignia. This is followed by liberty with their families. But first, they have their "moto" run, where they run as a company, yelling Marine Corps Cadences. That night, their last at their Depots, the tradition is to have a gong show. A gong show is where the newly minted Marines get together and mock the Drill Instructors (in a respectable and appreciative manner of course), whom they now refer to as their rank. The new Marines refer to themselves in the first person, as well as addressing themselves as Private, or Private First Class, as merited. It has also been known to occur that the Drill Instructors use their last night to "IT" their platoon one last time. The next morning, the new Marines stack their sea bags in a Pyramid, form for the graduation ceremony, and are dismissed from the Recruit Depot, to their Boot leave (10 days), pending either MCT (Marine Combat Training), or SOI (School of Infantry), depending on their MOS (Military Occupational Specialty). From here, Marine Corps Boot camp is finished, the new Marines begin their enlistments.

Continuing education

Boot Camp is by no means the end of a Marine’s training. From the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Marines go to the School of Infantry (SOI) — MCB Camp Geiger in North Carolina or MCB Camp Pendleton in California for additional combat training. Infantrymen stay there longer than most Marines in order to complete the School of Infantry. After SOI, Marines go to their MOS training schools, and then their first duty station, where they continue to learn throughout their entire career. At their duty station they learn to be leaders, and gain experience and skills from the Marines with whom they are stationed.

ee also

* Ribbon Creek Incident
* USMC Officer Candidates School


External links

* [http://natgeotv.com.au/Programmes/Main.aspx?Id=869 Marine Boot Camp]

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