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.