MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. --
During Event 2 of the Crucible, inside the arena dubbed “The Octagon” by drill instructors, recruits get one final chance to prove their mettle in hand-to- hand combat.
Inside the giant wooden frame, reminiscent of gladiator pits of ancient Rome, future Marines square off against each other with simulated rifle bayonets in preparation for the toughest of battle scenarios.
An extremely stressful environment, rigorous physical training and, of course, the Crucible are just a few examples of the many challenges a Marine recruit faces.
The Crucible is a 54-hour-long culminating event in which recruits complete about 36 different stations and hike almost 50 miles with their weapons and loaded packs. One of the events many drill instructors and recruits look forward to is Event 2, where recruits practice body sparring and pugil sticks inside the wooden octagon ring and then move on to a series of obstacles.
“I thought the event was very fun,” said former Rct. Aaron Byard of Akron, Ohio, with Platoon 3114, Mike Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion. “I think all physical things like this are fun. Most of the recruits got real nervous, but I tried to keep calm. I knew my mission – to get the guy with the red helmet.”
Even rain couldn’t stop the training. The recruits still carried on with the pugil sticks portion of the event and then moved on to the Leadership Reaction Course.
“When this event runs correctly, it’s awesome,” said Cpl. Dustin Lang, of Granger, Ind., a Page Field instructor with Weapons and Field Training Battalion’s Field Training Platoon. “It teaches them how to react in a fight. If they win, it boosts their morale. I think this is probably the most fun event for the recruits. It’s also one of my favorites.”
There are many different reasons why the event is important for future Marines. They learn how to control aggression, react in a fight and experience working through the element of surprise, just to name a few.
“I think the event is great,” said 1st Lt. Dan Brendel, of Granite Bay, Calif. Brendel will be the next series commander for Mike Co.’s lead series. “It helps make them more aggressive. Aggressiveness can sometimes be key in the Marine Corps.”
Staff Sgt. Terrion West, a drill instructor with Platoon 3114, said he believes the recruits like it because they get to show off a little.
“I like this event, too,” said West, from Ruston, La. “You get to see them get some. This event puts some fight in them. I think it’s important to the Crucible because the Crucible defines them. It’s the point that shows that they are ready to become Marines.”