Category Archives: USMC Boot Camp Training

Marine Crucible Video

Video of Recruits During the Crucible at MCRD San Diego

This is a video of Marine recruits in San Diego as part of Phase 3 of boot camp, the Crucible. The Crucible is an exhausting 54 hours of obstacles, challenges, tests and miles of marching that utilizes everything they’ve been taught during three months of boot camp recruit training.


Filmed By Devon Lawrence

Marine Crucible

The Marine Crucible is the final test a Marine recruit will go through in the final stage of boot camp, phase 3. Everything that a recruit has been taught will be required to complete the Crucible. It is impossible for a single recruit to complete it alone, emphasizing team work and unity. It is 54 hours of extensive marching (48 miles) with simulated combat testing. Recruits are deprived of food and sleep wearing recruits thin and forcing them to focus and rely on their teammates and their training. During the entire Crucible, recruits are only given about three MRE’s (Meals Ready To Eat) and a total of four to eight hours of sleep. The soon-to-be Marines go through a series of challenges that test them mentally, physically and even morally. Challenge events are often named after Medal of Honor recipients from the Marine Corps.

What does the Marine Crucible include?

The Crucible includes a series of obstacle courses, day and night assault courses, land navigation courses, individual rushes up steep hills, martial arts, and a lot of marching. Many of the tests are made more difficult with added obstacles like the requirement to carry a “wounded” Marine.

Completing the Crucible

Finishing the Crucible is an emotional time for most recruits. The pride of having accomplished not only the Crucible but Marine Corps boot camp training is one of the proudest moments of most Marine’s lives. Upon completion of the Crucible, recruits are treated to the “Warrior’s Breakfast” where they are allowed to eat as much as they like, the first time since entering boot camp that they had that freedom. The Warrior’s Breakfast is followed by the Eagle, Globe and Anchor ceremony where they are called Marines for the first time.

Marine Corps Drills

Marine Corps Drill and Ceremonies Manual

If you are enlisting in the Marine Corps and you want to learn and prepare as much as possible for boot camp, then you’ll want to get a jump on learning Marine Corps Drill. Fortunately, the Marine Corps Drill and Ceremonies Manual is available in PDF form online, but the bad news is that it is quite a hefty manual. The manual lays out standard procedures for all close order drill military ceremonial evolutions.

Marine Corps Drill Manual

The Marine Corps drill manual covers all sorts of drill and ceremony information. The drill part of the manual covers drill basics, individual instructions without arms, arms with the m16 rifle, arms with the handgun, sword, guidon, national and organizational flags, squad drill, platoon drill, company drill, battalion drill, regimental drill, inspections, and organizations and parade staff drills.

Ceremonies Manual

The entire manual is made up of several parts. The second part covers ceremony information. Topics covered include reviews, parades, presentations of decoration and retirement, change of command, relief and appointment of the Sergeant Major, activation and deactivation ceremony, honors, Marine Corps birthday cake cutting ceremony, mess night, funerals and memorials services and the loading and ceremonial firing of the M16 rifle.

Marine Corps Close Order Drill

Recruits in the USMC will spend many boot camp hours practicing drill. It may seem tedious, but there are good reasons for close order drill. One thing you’ll learn at boot camp is that there is a reason for everything, even things that seem completely random and apparently pointless. Close order drill provides a simple formation from which other combat formations can easily be performed. It allows units to move in an orderly manner that looks organized and maintains a military appearance. It allows Marines to carry individual weapons in a safe manner. It improves discipline and helps recruits train to respond to orders.

How to Prepare for Marine Corps Boot Camp

Boot camp is supposed to push you past what you believe your limits are, both mentally and physically. It’s supposed to teach you that you are much tougher and stronger than you believe you are, but that you absolutely rely on your fellow recruits and teammates to accomplish your mission and goals.

So what can you do to help you come prepared for the training of USMC boot camp?

Getting In Shape for Boot Camp

Without a doubt, you will be doing yourself a huge favor by getting yourself into the best shape as possible before you even arrive. You must pass a physical fitness test and certain weight & height requirements to even be accepted into training. If you are over or under weight, your recruiter can help you reach a specific target that can get you into boot camp. The truth of the matter is that no amount of physical training will make boot camp easy though. Drill instructors will push you to your limits, as they should. However, being in great shape before you even arrive will definitely help you keep up and excel during training.

Some good advice for leading up to boot camp would be to run at least 3 miles and “march” for at least up to 10 miles. When you first start boot camp, you won’t be running that far, but it won’t take long before you do. Concentrate on doing sit-ups (crunches) and pull-ups.

If you are overweight when you enter boot camp, don’t be surprised if your drill instructor assigns a “diet tray” to you. And if you arrive underweight, you can expect to be served double rations.

Things to Learn and Memorize Before Boot Camp

You’ll be spending countless hours practicing drill, so you can study and practice drill calls before you arrive. One easy thing you can do before boot camp is learn the Marine Corps ranks. You’ll need to learn that while at boot camp and it helps to know this stuff before you’re there. You don’t get a ton of free time to yourself, so the less you need to pack into studying the easier it is for you.

You’ll be told to learn the 11 General Orders for Sentry and will probably learn the Marine Rifle Creed. Recruits recite the rifle creed in the movie Full Metal Jacket, “This is my rifle. There are many like it but this one is mine…” You should also learn the Marine’s Hymn (particularly focus on the 1st verse).

In boot camp, you’ll have classes and tests on core values, Marine Corps history, the ins and outs of the M16A4 rifle and the Code of Conduct.

There’s definitely a lot that you can learn about the Marine Corps before you ship off for training and the less you have to work on while there, the easier your time will be and the better you will perform. It would even be helpful if you used some of your time to help your platoon members with the things you already know.

Swimming and Rappelling

You’ll have to pass a swim qualification test during boot camp after receiving some lessons. You’ll also have to rappel down a wall, so if you can’t swim or you have a height phobia, you can help yourself out a lot by working on those issues before you go to boot camp. There are no wavers; you have to pass both tests to be a Marine.

Drill Instructors will do everything in their power to give you the training in everything you need to know to complete boot camp. Sometimes recruits struggle on particular areas of training, like swimming, shooting, passing written tests, etc. Most of the time, recruits can get additional training and still complete boot camp, but it’s much easier to not be held back, prolonging your stay at boot camp and resulting in not graduating with your platoon.

USMC Training at Parris Island and San Diego

Marine Corps boot camp recruit training is a grueling program that turns young men and women into young Marines. During a 12 week period, a recruit will undergo training in a variety of subjects and skills including core values, military history, swimming and water survival training, first aid, hand-to-hand combat, leadership training, marksmenship, Marine Corps drill and more. Similar to the way people are proud of the hometown they were born and raised in, Marines tend to be proud of the recruit depot where they were made into a Marine.

USMC Recruit Depot Parris Island (aka MCRD Parris Island)

Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island South Carolina Sign

Photo By: Tiffany Renee

The Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina is where all men who live east of the Mississippi get their training. All women recruits, regardless of where they enlist, receive their Marine Corps boot camp training at the Parris Island Recruit Depot.

Less than half of Parris Island is actually habitable; this should be a source of pride for Parris Island Marines. Out of the 8,095 acres that make up the recruit depot, only 3,262 are habitable. The “uninhabitable” areas are mainly salt marsh; a lovely cozy place for a Marine recruit habitat…yikes.

Male Marines started being trained in Parris Island in 1915, while female Marines didn’t start training there until 1949. Male Marines west of the Mississippi may request to train at Parris Island if they so wish.

Parris Island is also home to the Drill Instructor School where selected Staff Non-Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO’s)are trained on how to successfully train young men and women into becoming Marines.

(Random fun fact: The hurricane scene from Forrest Gump where Lieutenant Dan was being crazy was filmed in the town that Parris Island is now a part of called Port Royal.)

USMC Recruit Depot San Diego (aka MCRD San Diego)

All men who enlist for the Marine Corps west of the Mississippi will end up at the USMC Recruit Depot at San Diego. Obviously, this recruit depot is located in…San Diego, California! All of the recruit training takes places between the San Diego Bay and Interstate 5. This is where more than 21,000 recruits are trained every single year. It’s also the home of theĀ  Marine Corps’ Recruitor School and the Western Recruiting Region’s Drill Instructors School.