MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO --
High school administrators, teachers and counselors from Recruiting Stations Houston and San Antonio experienced a week-long synopsis of Marine Corps recruit training during the Educators Workshop Monday through today.
The educators’ first step in their simulated transformation to becoming Marines began with their arrival on the depot.
As the buses came to a halt in front of the famous yellow footprints, drill instructors overwhelmed the vehicles and barked at the passengers, making their intimidating presence known.
After sternly instructing the educators to exit the bus and line up on the yellow footprints with speed and intensity, the drill instructors paced up and down the rows yelling orders and ensuring the educators got into the proper position of attention.
Following several minutes of controlled chaos, the drill instructors stopped their yelling and took a moment to congratulate the educators because they survived the first two minutes of Marine Corps recruit training. The educators then took a tour of the rest of the receiving process by their drill instructor guides.
“On the yellow footprints, I felt confused because there were so many commands, I didn’t know what to listen to and I could hardly understand the drill instructors,” said Nicole Clark, history teacher, Karen Wagner High School, San Antonio. “It’s like they speak a different language.”
The educators attended classroom briefs describing the entire enlistment process, including recruiting, joining the Marine Corps, boot camp graduation, the Fleet Marine Force, and Marines’ lifestyles.
“If my students were interested in the Marines, I would talk to them about it and find out why they were interested,” said Dave Stritz, assistant principal, Belleville High School, Belleville, Texas. “From what I’ve seen, they would have to be very committed because for 13 weeks, a recruit must go through a lot of mental and physical challenges.”
The educators continued touring many training sites around the depot. They watched demonstrations of water survival training at the depot Swim Tank; Marines tackle the Confidence Course; and received a class and some brief hands-on training with the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.
“What surprised me most about this workshop was learning about the structured days and the non-stop activity of the recruits,” said Stritz. “I heard they were busy, but to actually witness it first-hand, they are really doing something every minute of the day.”
Educators also watched a demonstration of the modified Bayonet Assault Course, and were offered a chance to run through the obstacles themselves. They maneuvered through the course; crawled through tunnels; and navigated a rope bridge, suited in flak jackets and Kevlar
helmets while carrying rubber M-16A2 service rifles with training bayonets attached before engaging training targets at the end of the course.
“I have a deep appreciation of how physically strong these recruits are because of the stamina required to go through the course and hold their rifle correctly while low-crawling,” said Ashley Philipps, world geography teacher, Summer Creek, Houston, Texas. “I go to the gym and use a treadmill, but this is a whole new level of being physically fit.”
The educators traveled to Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, and Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Edson Range, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., as well. There, they got a closer look at some of the aircraft the Marine Corps uses, fire computer-generated weapons in the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer and participated in the 12-Stall obstacle at Edson Range. During 12-Stall, recruits overcame 12 problem-solving obstacles using teamwork and the limited resources they were given.
Educators leaving the depot today said that they now have a better understanding of the Marine Corps and its young men and women.
In addition, educators may also take some tips from the depot.
“I think it would be beneficial for all teachers to see how drill instructors teach recruits, said Stritz. “Teachers can learn from drill instructors in the way they repeat things. I definitely see a correlation between what drill instructors do and what teachers do. The drill instructors are very thorough and make sure the recruits understand what they are being taught.”