What does someone interesting in going into the Marines need to know? What is crucial important knowledge that recruits can focus on before going to boot camp? Well, there’s a lot to memorize and a lot that can help…more really than just a simple checklist. The best thing you can do is read as much as possible from a variety of sources. You want to know some specific details to memorize, but you also just want to read about Marine Corps life and culture.
Read About the Marine Corps on Wikipedia
Obviously you should first read about the corps at marinecorpsrecruits.com…and no we aren’t biased. OK, maybe a little bit. Seriously though, Wikipedia has tons of basic information that will simply help you get a general understanding of what the Marine Corps is about: the history of the Corps, specific details on different units, information on any MOS you may be interested in, etc. Pretty much anything that you might be curious about will have a nice summary in Wikipedia, so it’s a nice source for Marine Corps topic overviews.
Learn The Marine Corps Chain of Command: Including the Current USMC Commandant
You’ll have to learn the chain of command during boot camp, but wouldn’t it be really great if you didn’t need to spend your extremely limited free time trying to memorize the chain of command when you could’ve simply squared that away before your shipped off for boot camp? And here’s a tip: great Marines go the extra mile. That means, don’t just learn the ranks and names of the chain of command. Find out the real names of your leaders. You will of course not know all of them before you are at boot camp, but you can certainly find out the name of the highest ranked Marine. You don’t want to get caught not knowing that one; it’s like not knowing who the President is. (There’s a joke in there for anyone paying attention).
Become Familiar With Marine Corps Terminology
When you first arrive at boot camp, one of the first things you’ll learn is that Marine Corps terminology is a little different than at home. At boot camp, and throughout your military careers, you’ll be expected to use the “correct” Marine Corps words. Don’t say window, say port hole. Don’t say hat, say cover. There’s a bunch of Marine Corps terminology that you’ll learn in boot camp. Get a head start on that before you go so that you don’t slip up and end up forcing you and your platoon to do more push ups.
Memorize the Marine Corps General Orders
Learn the Marine Corps General Orders before you ship out to boot camp. There are only 11 and they’re pretty important, so recite them until you can say them in your sleep. Have someone pick a number 1 through 11 and recite the order of the number they’ve chosen. If you can only recite the orders in chronological order, you’ve haven’t really learned them. Your drill instructor will most likely yell a random number at you and expect you to call it back, so make it easy on yourself.
Read Books on Marine Corps History and Boot Camp
There’s really no substitute for a thorough book on Marine Corps history or boot camp. There are several boot camp specific guidebooks or first hand accounts out there. We wrote a post suggesting some good Marine Corps Books and guidebooks for anyone headed to boot camp soon. There are more, find a few that appeal to you.