Becoming a Marine: Training

I spent last weekend with Sean, since I was up there for my nephew Ryan’s graduation. (That’s Sean on the left and Ryan on the right.) We got to talk a lot about his upcoming training.

I won’t go into full details here, but there are several phases of Marine training. (Go to if you want to learn more):

  • Values/Ethics
  • Physical Training
  • Leadership Training
  • Martial Arts
  • Gas Mask Training
  • Close Order Drill
  • Bayonet Training
  • Pugil Sticks
  • Academics
  • Combat Water Survival

I was surprised to learn how much time they spend in the classroom. They have to learn about Marine Corps history, rank insignia, how to maintain their uniforms, and a bunch of other stuff. He is looking forward to the martial arts and pugil sticks the most, I think. He has been taking martial arts (off and on) in one form or another since he was ten years old. But he may have to unlearn some stuff; his last school focused on self-defense, and I’m pretty sure the Marines will be a bit more offensive.

He has to successfully complete seven qualifications before he can graduate:

  • Marksmanship: Every Marine is a rifleman. There are three levels of qualification (1,2,3) with 1 being the highest. He only needs to qualify as a 3. (Only certain jobs require a 1, and he’s not in one of those.) He is looking forward to learning how to shoot.
  • Physical Fitness Training (PFT): Running, strength, calisthenics, etc. He has been working hard on this the last few weeks, and I must say, he’s looking very fit.
  • Combat Fitness Training (CFT): Things like a buddy lift, dragging someone off the battlefield, etc.
  • Swim: This is less a swimming test than a “not sink” test. He must demonstrate he can stay afloat when in full gear.
  • Written exam: To test the knowledge he learned in the classroom.
  • Company and Battalion Commander Inspection: Not only making sure is appearance/uniform is correct, but also answering any question his commander throws at him.
  • Crucible: This is a 50-hour endurance ordeal that I have chosen not to look too closely into.

Should he not pass any one of these, his graduation date slips one week at a time.

He will only be able to write in general terms about what and how he’s doing.

His friends tell him that he doesn’t “seem excited.” He tells them that it’s hard to be “excited” when you know you’re going off to do the hardest thing you’ve ever done. But he’s ready to go, and wants to get on with it so he can get it over with.

We have one week to go! He reports next Monday. Stay tuned!


Posted on May 16, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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