Parris Island, S.C. --
Throughout recruit training, future Marines undergo various tests in order to walk across the parade deck on graduation day. However, after the Crucible event, new Marines must complete their final obstacle, the battalion commander’s inspection.
A number of tasks need to be completed to prepare for the inspection.
The new Marines clean their weapons, the squadbay, and spruce up their uniforms, said Sgt. Courtney Hunt, a drill instructor for Platoon 2000, Echo Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion.
During the inspection, the drill instructors, the company commander and the battalion commander exhaustively examine everything prepared. The inspectors walk sharply across the squadbay, crisply executing drill movements while they inspect each Marine individually.
“The inspection of the squadbay is intense,” said Sgt. Alonzo T. Williams, a drill instructor for Echo Co. “We check every corner of it for cleanliness.”
“We cleaned from the cracks on the floor to the cracks in the ceiling,” said Pfc. Terrance I. Tanner from Echo Co. “We cleaned everything thoroughly.”
Not only are the uniforms inspected, but the Marines themselves are also inspected to ensure they meet proper hygiene standards, and are familiar with Marine Corps knowledge.
“When I participate in an inspection, I look for proper grooming,” said Williams, of Dublin, Ga.
It’s also a time for the new Marines to display what they’ve learned during their time at recruit training, Williams added.
Along with pressing uniforms, meticulous cleaning and studying knowledge, new Marines must also learn to keep their military bearing and express discipline.
“It’s important to keep your bearing,” said Tanner, from Sandersville, Ga. “Marines need to show that they’re not weak.”
Drill instructors constantly teach recruits how to keep their composure, Tanner said.
Inspections are all about confidence, Hunt said. For example, Marines can display poise by maintaining a straight face when answering a knowledge question incorrectly.
A Marine’s response to the anxiety of being inspected says a great deal about his character.
In addition to sustaining military bearing, inspections also build a foundation for leadership, added Watkins, of Atlanta.
Before the battalion commander inspection, recruits must pass the senior drill instructor’s inspection and the company commander’s inspection.
Self-reliance is crucial to passing each inspection.
“During the first inspection, you’re still in civilian mode, but you gradually gain confidence,” Watkins said. “Once you claim the title ‘Marine,’ you’re already prepared and confident for the inspection, now you just have to project it.”