Mid-Missouri Marine remembers first night of training

1 year 1 week 2 days ago May 15, 2016 May 15, 2016 Sunday, May 15 2016 Sunday, May 15, 2016 8:58:00 PM CDT in News
By: Katie Moeller, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

SAN DIEGO – Just past sunset, two white school buses pull up to the sidewalk at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California. 

You can’t see any passengers in the seats but they’re there – with their heads down and shoulders hunched, the newest class of Marine Corps recruits have just arrived.

The buses have barely stopped moving when two figures jump on board.

These men are Marine Drill Instructors. For the next 3 months, they will spend every hour with the recruits they train to be Marines.

Calls of “Get off my bus! Run to the yellow footprints! Now now now now!” echo throughout the bus.

With that, the stampede to the infamous yellow footprints begins.

Colored outlines on the sidewalk, the yellow footprints show the recruits where to stand to receive their first instructions – how to stand at attention.

“Put your arms by your side. Feet together. Knees slightly bent. Eyes forward.”

Each command is followed by an “aye sir”. 

Then the recruits are read their rights, which are basically the Marines’ adaptation of the Miranda Rights: “Your commanding officer has the authority to punish you as he sees fit. Leaving the base without permission is an offense punishable by law.”

Each rule is followed inevitably by a chorus of ‘aye sir’s, growing louder with each passing minute.

The recruits then leave the yellow footprints and head inside to the contraband room, where they hand everything over from their previous lives. 

No cell phones.

No contact lenses.

No personal prescriptions.

No reading material except for religious purposes. 

If a recruit doesn’t follow commands quickly enough, he soon finds the drill instructor’s face little more than two inches away from his own, loudly yelling commands. The reprimands are harsh, but free of any curse words. 

Once rid of their personal belongings, the recruits are ordered to line up behind a row of landline phones. 

This is the last time the recruits’ families will hear their son’s voices for 12 weeks.

“Hello, this is Recruit (Last Name)… I have arrived safely at MCRD San Diego. The next time I contact you will be by postal mail so expect a letter in two to three weeks… I love you, goodbye.” 

The recruits can’t say more than that. They’re limited to reading the pre-written script on the placard in front of each phone. 

With their final goodbyes said, the recruits are hustled to the next part of the process – getting their heads shaved. 

A drill instructor pulls one recruit from the line. “You! Count off by ten for the barber. Keep the line against the wall.” 

Even from the very beginning, leadership is thrust upon the recruits at random by the drill instructors.

The young man’s arm trembles as he directs his fellow recruits into the barber’s chair.

“Five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten…”

Before he even finishes counting, the first haircut has begun. 

Each buzz takes less than one minute. After asking each recruit about any protruding moles or scars, the barber’s hands go to work, expertly gliding over each and every head.

The recruits all stare straight ahead – the earlier command of “eyes forward” has obviously not been forgotten.

One by one, each recruit stands from the barber’s chair. He is now no different than all the other young man in front of him. Same clothes, same haircut – these men will spend the next thirteen weeks together, hopefully transforming from recruits into Marines. 

The confusion and chaos of the first hours of recruit training remains a vivid memory for some Marines and Marine recruits. 

“I had no idea what I had just gotten myself into,” Levy Clark said.

Clark, a Week 11 recruit at the time, is from Dixon, Missouri and has now graduated bootcamp. 

“You think you know what it will be like, how you’ll handle it, but you have no idea,” he said.

For the new recruits, that feeling will likely stick around for a while, Clark said.  

For the first 24 hours after they arrive the recruits won’t sleep; instead, they get a crash course in how life works at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. 

Over the next weeks, the recruits will undergo 24-7 training. From intensely physical obstacle courses, to learning how to march, to learning how to fire and handle an M16-A4 rifle, the recruits will eat, sleep and breathe what it means to be a United States Marine. 

At the end of the 12 weeks of training, all but 4% of the average recruit class becomes Marines.

“I know at some point, all of us wonder how we'll make it through these three months,” Clark said. “But somehow, we just do.” 

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA – President Donald Trump's proposed budget cuts on Tuesday could decrease funding for food stamps by nearly $200 billion... More >>
26 minutes ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 6:38:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Pizza Tree, a local restaurant in Columbia, is participating in a national campaign that works with the non-profit... More >>
1 hour ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 5:17:23 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A preliminary assessment has found about $86 million of damage and costs from recent flooding and... More >>
2 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 5:00:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis man could face up to a year in prison after admitting that he... More >>
2 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 4:28:01 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City announced it will withdraw from the Affordable Care Act starting... More >>
4 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 2:56:00 PM CDT in News
PARMA (AP) — A southe ast Missouri ma n is accused of burglary after allegedly targeting a most unlikely place... More >>
5 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 1:51:54 PM CDT in News
ST. CHARLES - Jurors are deliberating the fate of Mexico resident Serghei Comerzan in the death of Missouri State trooper... More >>
5 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 1:21:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A woman is dead and a man critically wounded after shootings in St. Louis' Baden neighborhood.... More >>
6 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 12:38:59 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Lincoln University announced Mike Middleton as its interim president Thursday as it prepares for current president Kevin... More >>
7 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 11:55:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A report of a chemical smell coming from a hotel room turned out to be from white powder... More >>
7 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 11:24:00 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City's Boys and Girls Club opened its new facility after three years without headquarters. "When... More >>
9 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 9:08:00 AM CDT in News
RAYTOWN (AP) — A Kansas City-area middle school is offering support to students who saw a body hanging from a... More >>
10 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 8:33:00 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A bridge over Interstate 270 near St. Louis will be closed for the next three months.... More >>
11 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 7:51:57 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The federal agency investigating an April 3 explosion that killed four people in south St. Louis... More >>
12 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 6:35:42 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - MU has found its new chancellor. On Wednesday, UM System President Mun Choi introduced Alexander Cartwright as... More >>
18 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 12:10:00 AM CDT in Top Stories
FAYETTE - The city of Fayette Wednesday night issued an immediate boil advisory until further notice for all residents affected... More >>
20 hours ago May 24, 2017 May 24, 2017 Wednesday, May 24 2017 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 10:06:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Democratic state lawmaker has taped messages from constituents to Republican Gov. Eric Greitens's door urging... More >>
22 hours ago May 24, 2017 May 24, 2017 Wednesday, May 24 2017 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 8:28:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A Target 8 investigation background checked Columbia Uber drivers and took a closer look at the ride-share company’s... More >>
1 day ago May 24, 2017 May 24, 2017 Wednesday, May 24 2017 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 6:57:00 PM CDT in Target 8
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 71°
7pm 74°
8pm 71°
9pm 67°
10pm 65°