T Nation

USMC Bootcamp Too Easy


I just came back from Parris Island and I'm pretty suprised how much easier it was than I expected. I mean I was not even that good of a recruit I constantly got quarterdecked so yeah it was a tough mentally but physically it was easy as hell. I was expecting it to make me extremely physically fit but the only real improvements I made was from doing pullups or whatever else in my own freetime, the PT that they made us do there was really not that hard and after first phase we barely PT'd anymore.

In fact there were people who did exactly 3 pullups, 60 crunches in 2 minutes, and ran 3 miles in like 25 minutes and they're going to be infantry.

The Crucible was supposed to be the big test in the end that everyone who'd been slipping through the cracks and barely making it would get weeded out but it turned out to be overrated. Yes it was tough because it was cold and we were in wet clothes for like two days and a lot of people fucked up their feet with blisters but physically it wasn't that tough. Plus we got 4 MREs I heard it used to be only 2. And I'm pretty sure we got more sleep than they used to give us.

All the DI's there blamed "mother's of america" for making it so easy I don't know if that's an actual organization or whatever but these mothers must have thought that they were helping us but all they did was screw us. I'm not infantry so I don't really know about the training at ITB but I hope for our country's sake that its tough as hell because some people who graduated and are going to ITB are just not physically ready for combat.


So I'm guessing you weren't Honor Man. PFC? There's a lot that they need to teach you during that time period, PT is only part of it. You get out of it, what you put into it. So what did you get out of it?


"The more you sweat in peace the less you bleed in war"

I agree, boot camp has been watered down over the years. When I went through Paris Island in the early 70's all the dril instructors had just returned from Viet Nam and were serious about making sure we were ready to go there and they would be able to rely on us in their platoon in combat. At that time all the drill istructors volunteered to be drill instructors and doing a successful tour as a drill instructor almost guarateed you an early promotion to the next grade.

Fast forward 5 years later to the late 70's: a whole lot of new restrictions were placed on drill instructors, almost all drill instructors had NO combat experience, almost all drill instructors had to be forced into taking the job, and it was almost impossible to make it through a tour as a drill instructor without breaking some rule, getting reported and getting busted. Not an improvement in my book. I can only assume that it has gotten even worse over the years as more and more rules get piled on.

However, I think IBT does make up for a lot of that. It is a lot longer and there is a whole command structure of fire team leaders, squad leaders, platoon seargents, etc. as well as fellow marines who know their life will depend on you in combat and who will do whatever it takes to get you ready or get rid of you. They can be pretty persuasive if they need to be.

From what I have heard from Iraq, the Marines are still, man for man, the best fighting force in the world, including the best marksman, the closest knit units, the fiercest fighters, the best trained and led in small unit tactics, etc.


Fucker. I only got 2 MRE's. I was so hungry.

In fact, that may have been the hardest part of it all for me. The constant hunger. Of course, I was a diet recruit and got less food than everyone else.


boot camp is just a building block, the first step. SOI will be harder then the fleet will really test you. yes mothers of america is a real organization. between them and the liberals they've done there best to soften the marine core. But the spirit lives on through you if you will it. semper fi


I haven't been in the services but I know that with our football programs summer camp is 8 weeks of grueling physical turmoil, and some football camps are probably tougher physically.

Anyone with experience in both?


Good points, gentlemen. As someone said, boot camp is no real challenge physically if you are in shape to begin with. To me, Parris Island was all about discipline -- and that includes body, mind, and spirit. After boot camp, everyone attended four weeks at ITR (in my day it was known as Infantry Training Regiment), which was held at Camp Gieger, a part of Camp Lejeune.

During my tour in the Corps, all those Marines who had a combat MOS (such as infantry, artillery, and armor, etc.) but who were not trusted to "cover my back" so to speak, were weeded out by those Marines in their squad, fire team, gun section, tank, ontos, etc., and were assigned other functional responsibilities in the rear with the gear (usually a MOS change, too). No disrespect, but some individuals are just not wired correctly to handle the stress of combat. And by sending this type individual to the rear not only kept him alive, but also kept the morale and the combat effectiveness of the front line combat Marines at a higher level. Remember that it takes seven support personnel to support one combat Marine. So there is room for everyone, regardless of how they are wired.

Just my two cents.


Boot camp was hard spiritually. The lack of freedom and respect is a bitch. Physically I found it lacking. It did not even begin to prepare me for Infantry School. That said, your greatest challenges will be in the fleet.

Food was my biggest problem. I went in 5'11" and 150lbs and came out at 130lbs. I came out sickly and in much worse shape because I couldn't get enough to eat.



I did Marine Boot in '97. I did a tour, got out and came back Army. Although I missed Army Basic (well, I didn't miss it, I just didn't go), MOS training was easy, and nearly everbody passed.

On the active side, offenses people were getting discharged for pre 2001, now they get a slap on the wrist. Seperation really isn't an option.

But think of it this way. There is a war going on. There is a manpower shortage. Recruiting numbers are down (or not making goals), recruiting standards have dropped. Training requirements have dropped.

Basically, Uncle Sam is going for quantity, not quality, plain and simple.
As a young Marine, man, it falls on you to be the standard, set an example for those around you and make sure you are capable and competent in your job.

I've heard about Mothers of America, I thought it was just a saying. But the pressure to fill up slots with warm bodies is coming from command, not outside organizations. For example, if a DI has 30% shitbags who are beyond help, and fails %30 of his recruits, he will get punished. A recruiter who has no valid applicants is expected to lie to get guys in. You know, make criminal records disapear, coach recruits on how to hide injuries at MEPS, recruit homeless and the handicapp (TRUE STORIES)

I've seen it on deployment to. When I was Marine, a guy was desperatly seeking mental health care pre deployment. He got labeled a shitbag, brushed through the system and deployed anyway. Three months later, he blew his brains out in a porto-john. I just returned from deployment recently. I deployed with guys who have herniated discs, sky high blood pressure, active drug addictions and documented suicidal tendencies (several different soldiers). Despite NCO medical recommendation, these guys deployed. The medics were told to shut up and play along.

I don't want to sound preachy, but realize likely you are going to war, probally more than once, and sooner than later. In many units, it is easy to dick around in garrison and blow off training. Me personally, I'd hate to think back on a situation, and say to myself 'if only I would have trained harder, Joe would still be alive'. Once again, I don't mean to be preachy, but if you don't do it, maybe nobody else will either.

Thank you for hearing my ramble, I think I got off topic, but I hope a message got across. Good luck in your Marine career. If you have any questions or concerns in your future, there are many vets and active here who will be glad to help.


This also apply's to the Army. I was told not to disclose med records by my recruter, well got injured in bct they needed medical records and long story short I'm sitting out 2 years before I can go do AIT tho maybe 6 months if I can convince them that its all ok.(I'm switching MOS when I can)


combatmedic, you're pissing me off. Everytime I read a post from an OP, you take the words out of my damn mouth.

You're entirely right, though. We're not going through a draft right now, every servicemember is strictly voluntary. The crude fact is that our military can't afford to filter and weed out the way it normally does during peace time.


You know, shifting gears here for a minute, I gotta say from the Glass half full/empty perspective, there are alot of people joining who shouldn't be near a military base because of their health/criminal record/etc. But I'm an idealist, and with all the young men and women joining in the last 4 years, 95% of which pretty much accept the fact that they will go to Iraq/Afghanistan and perform numerous tours, I gotta think that that's a positive. Yeah we'll get some shitbags, but after the wars end (if they ever do) we'll probably see these same kids still serving. Most of the new joes in my unit have talked at length about career span. Yeah sure they're young, but from an optimist standpoint, I think alot of them will stay in for 20 some odd years. I think people look too negatively upon our military because of the statistics of recruiting and other meaningless bullshit. "Oh God, the ARMY's in trouble! They only put in 3,000 recruits this month instead of 3,200!!"


And you know what? Now is a hell of a time to stay in for a career. Pay is up to a decent rate, an E-4 will make living wage, very comparable to the civilian side. Education benifits are as good as ever. Re-up bonus, man, let me tell you I did the dirty while deployed, I got duty station of choice and enough of a bonus to buy a new car cash. Promotions are quick, I see combat arms soldiers making E-5 in less than three years, usually closer to two.
I can't comment on the well being of the services as a whole, but for the individual soldier, this is a great time to be in. Well, except that going to war and getting blown up part.


Of course except the Air Force. Last I heard, they are actually over @40,000 jobs and looking to cut down. They have the standards in place still. They have the program 'well, we can't resign you, but we'll let you go to the army'. They won't even look at recruits with prior service (with few exceptions). It is funny, without much advertising or hard recruiting, they can pick and choose who they let in.
On a side note, it is common for us Joes and Leathernecks to rag on the AF, specifically call them soft and lazy. In my experience though, I don't see fat Airmen. All of them are squared away, clean cut, sure maybe a little casual but always professional (and can complete a sentence without dropping the F-bomb thirteen times). I've never seen a shitbag Airman. Soldiers and Marines though, you see it. Maybe the AF is on to something?


Yeah man, Army basic training was pretty easy. I thought it was going to be hell, but I actually enjoyed most of it. That was almost 10 years ago though.

I think about joining the Marine Corps sometimes. I remember all my Sergeants and COs telling me I would have been a better Marine than a Soldier, but I never thought about it. I called a recruiter and asked about any benefits I might get if I decide to join the Corp, considering my prior Army experience, like promotions, pay bonuses, all that, he told me I wouldn't get much.


Ha, tell me about it. I was active duty from '97-'02 and spent most of the year 2000 in the brig. The charges basically stem from one fight and having a female in the barracks. I ended up getting charged with 19 different infractions. Good times. And I still almost re-enlisted.


The AF has always had an advantage. If you think about it, the AF guarantees a better environment. Army = field time, mud, rain, snow, bullets flying at you, guaranteed discomfort. Marines = same drawbacks as Army. Navy = cooped up in a tin can, weeks away from land, guaranteed 6 month cruise every 1-2 years. AF = flying planes (which is uber cool) or, if you're support staff, miles away from the front lines, clean, top-notch facilities, BIG budgets, high tech jobs, you always travel by air, etc.

I'm not saying AF is an easy life, mind you, it's just a lot more glamorous than the other services. They tend to take care of their people better and that likely translates into better recruiting, being more selective of recruits and higher retention.



They eat a hell of a lot better too. When I was stationed on Osan AF base in Korea I got to eat at their 24 hour chow halls. I thought I was eating at a restaurant. The bacon was actually cripsy! They served WAFFLES! They make the food to order, none of that pre frozen crap that's been sitting under a heat lamp for 6 hours. I couldn't get enough of it. 24 hour chow halls...........


Having been both an NCO and a junior officer, I can tell you I made a lot of minor offenses go away completely or the guy got off with a slap on the wrist, if he was a good joe otherwise. But then there was the guy who was always a pain in my ass and when he stepped over the line it was always a pleasure to see he got the maximum punishment possible. So if you went to the brig for year for a spur of the moment fight or minor infraction of the barracks rules, you must have been a thorn in someones side for a long time before that.


Yes and no. I had some issues with a select few officers, but I had a lot of senior NCO's and Warrant Officers that were in my corner. In fact, I even took the fall for something in my list of charges to protect a Staff Sergeant I knew. So, in a way I guess you're right, since there's far too many not-so-bright officers in charge.

Also, it was neither a spur of the moment fight or a minor rules infraction. It turned into quite a brawl and it was discovered that my girlfriend was living in the barracks with me and had been for six months.