MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
It all started on Oct. 19, 2009, when the recruits of Company L, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, arrived on the legendary yellow footprints at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. That Monday was the start of the recruits’ 12 weeks of rigorous Marine Corps training.
While aboard the depot, the recruits were taught various things including Marine Corps history, customs and courtesies, basic first aid, and war-fighting tactics. As the 12 weeks dwindled to an end, they were sent to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., to conquer the Crucible.
The Crucible is a 54-hour culminating event of recruit training. Where recruits use the knowledge they learned during recruit training to overcome different obstacles and combat-like scenarios. Upon completion, recruits march alongside their drill instructors to the parade deck at Weapons and Field Training Battalion at Edson Range, Camp Pendleton, Calif., and the Emblem Ceremony begins.
This is the time where recruits have finally earned the title of United States Marine. Their drill instructors award them with what recruits come to recruit training for – the coveted eagle, globe and anchor emblem – which is the renowned symbol of the Marine Corps. The eagle, globe and anchor illustrates the Marines’ ability to fight in the air, on land, and in the sea.
This emblem was adopted by the Marine Corps in 1868 under the hand of the Marine Corps’ 7th Commandant, Brig. Gen. Jacob Zeilin. It is said to have been inspired by the Royal Marines’ emblem. On the emblem itself the eagle secures a banner in its beak that reads “Semper Fidelis,” the Latin phrase meaning “Always Faithful.”
“When I received my eagle, globe and anchor I was proud and ecstatic,” said Pvt. Edward J. Boudrie, Platoon 3243, Co. L. “I came here to bring honor to my father’s name, who was also a Marine. I wanted to follow in his footsteps.”
The Emblem Ceremony is equally as emotional for drill instructors as it is for recruits. As the drill instructors award each new Marine with their eagle, globe and anchor, and look into the faces of the dirt and tear stained Marines, they give the recruits something intangible, a “Congratulations Marine,” words the recruits have been awaiting to hear since the day they arrived on those yellow footprints.
“As I gave the recruits their eagle, globe and anchor, I saw the transition that each of them has gone through,” said Staff Sgt. Jason A. Cargile, drill instructor, Platoon 3245, Co. L. “I don’t see them as a recruit anymore, but as a Marine, like me”
Following the Emblem Ceremony, the new Marines are rewarded with a warm shower, which they haven’t had since the start of the Crucible, and a “Warrior’s Breakfast,” of steak, eggs, omelets, French toast and a variety of other breakfast foods. From here, the new Marines are bused back to the depot, where they will prepare for their graduation