Last week, the United States Marine Corps took a group of educators from the southeast to Parris Island, South Carolina to experience the process of boot camp up close and personal.
News 4's Patrick Claybon went along for the trip and shares the first of his three part series, Making Marines.
Parris Island, South Carolina; over the course of the year, thousands of young men from everywhere east of the Mississippi River travel down this causeway with hopes of becoming a Marine.
I, along with educators from Alabama and Tennessee had the opportunity to experience an authentic re-enactment, of recruit receiving. Including a phone call; the one phone call that a recruit makes when they arrive stating that they are there safe and simply to not send any large items. It’s the first of many things to take recruits out of their comfort zone.
Claybon asked one recruit, "What [was] the first thing you thought when you came in?”
Recruit Zorn responded, “November 27th sir, this recruit hit the yellow footprints and wondered what he had done sir."
Did you catch that? Zorn and many other recruits we talked to on the trip had a hard time using things like ‘I’ and ‘me’, only referring to themselves as ‘this recruit’; a large part of the discipline here is to lose the sense of the individual and focus on the team.
Brigadier General Paul Levefebre is the commanding general of the Eastern Recruiting Division, and he spoke with educators on day one about the emphasis the Marine Corps places on teamwork. "That character development piece starts with a focus on teamwork; what we do here is we take the ‘I’ away and we replace it with ‘we’ and that's the first step in this process."
Every Marine is held to a very high standard of marksmanship. During their training they have plenty of opportunities to become acquainted with their M16A2 assault rifle in a high tech indoor training center.
“One shot, one kill”: that's the motto and recruits will eventually be rated at distances up to 500 yards. Along with the educators, I had a chance to take a few shots.
If things go on schedule for recruits, they will spend 13 weeks on Parris Island with around 70 of those days being actual training.