An essay on how Marines are built.
| The United States Marine Corps recruit training system (often referred to as “boot camp”) is the most difficult and effective basic training in the U.S. military. This is so because of the intense research and practice done in order to discover how to breakdown a man and then build him into something different, something harder, something stronger. That “something” is a Marine, the direct result of vicious training and a constant indoctrination program.
Upon arriving at recruit training, the recruit is allowed one phone call before being searched for contraband and issued various uniforms, utility gear, and toiletries. The recruit then fills out paperwork, receives vaccinations, and is issued his M16A4 service rifle, which he is required to give a female name. This week-long process serves as a pretext for recruit training.
During recruit training, the recruit endures a discipline-heavy schedule that resembles the ancient Spartan agoge. He is familiarized with Marine Corps terminology, which assists in transforming his mindset. A floor is a “deck”, a wall is a “bulkhead”, a gun is called a rifle or pistol respectively, and so on. Along with this change in vocabulary, the recruit is forbidden to use first-person or second-person pronouns. Instead, he is ordered to use third-person referrals such as, “The recruit”, or any aforementioned referrals to the recruit (the latter of which generally being an insulting name used by a Drill Instructor). This change in language encourages the recruit to lose civilian thoughts and habits, which are considered detrimental to the training process. The recruit is also introduced to the culture and history of the Marine Corps in the form of indoctrination. One example of an indoctrination technique is the reciting of certain songs or mantras, such as the Marine Corps Hymn and the Rifleman’s Creed. By using such indoctrination techniques, the Drill Instructor are able to instill a common goal in the recruits: to kill the enemy.
Along with the psychological exercises, the recruit also endures grueling physical training. Each day, the recruit is awakened between 4:00 and 4:30 a.m. and is marched outside his barracks to the parade field and becomes part of a P.T. (physical training) formation. After doing a long series of calisthenics, the recruit is forced to run in formation. The recruit is then marched to a mess hall, eats breakfast, and is guided through a day of obstacle courses, classes, and other activities on the training schedule. At 5:00-6:00 p.m. the recruit reports back to his barracks and is sent to bed between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. Besides just keeping the recruit in shape, this training regimen also instills discipline and a sense of unity into each recruit.
During the final weeks of training, the recruit is taught technical skills of the Marine Corps, the “tools of the trade” as one might say. He is taught basic marksmanship, one of the most valued skills in the Marine Corps, as well as rappelling, swimming, map reading, martial arts, melee tactics, and small-unit combat strategies. After learning these, the recruit has finally finished recruit training.
Over twelve hellish weeks of training and indoctrination, the recruit has undergone a radical transformation. He has evolved beyond who he was in civilian life and has become a disciplined combatant of the military. He has finally become a United States Marine.