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Marine Bootcamp: The Real Deal


You Can't Handle The Truth

Jack Nicholson plays a great Marine Corps officer but movies like "A Few Good Men" and "Full Metal Jacket" often lead to misconceptions about The Corps.  As an honorably discharged and proud Marine I would like to set the record straight about Marine Corps Bootcamp.

Recently I came across an online product that claims to prepare Recruits for the rigors of Marine Corps Bootcamp.  Although the product may actually have quality content, I was disturbed to find a picture of what appeared to be an Army Soldier on the website.  You might be thinking what's the big deal but as a Marine who earned the designation, I know no self respecting Marine would ever allow an Army image to be used in representation of a Marine.

No disrespect to the proud Army Soldiers who have served and are serving our fine country, I would suspect they would feel the same way if the tables  were turned.

I am going to take a stab at reconnecting with an experience that has shaped every day of my life.  

13 Weeks of Hell, it made me a man.

I am going to use the Marine Corps Recruit Parris Islands Website as a reference for recalling my experience, some of the terms have changed but for the most part the training of Marine as Basic Rifleman is the goal of bootcamp.







You're Now Property of United States of America

Most websites about Marine Corps Bootcamp often skip this key part of the process. It's called shipping, and when I mean shipping I mean the raw product, the future Marine. In this case the story happens to revolve around my shipping experience to Parris Island S.C. But this is not Fed Ex Story.

This actually is the best part of Bootcamp. They put you up in a high class motel like the Days Inn, presumably to ensure you are staying out of trouble on your last night of Freedom. You will soon find it only gets worse from here.

You get picked up by your recruiter at "o" dark thirty and they take you to the closest MEPS station. This is where they process all the paper work.

They give you your "orders" which they place in a big bright orange envelope, you retake the oath and you are on your way to the airport.

When I shipped for Parris Island I flew with a few fellow recruits from Cincinnati. We were given food vouchers for the airports and we had a layover in Chicago en route to Charleston, SC. It was my bright idea to save our vouchers for Charleston so we could have one last nice meal.

Boy did I screw up. As soon as I got off the plain with my bright orange envelope there was a Marine who already expected my arrival. He barked out "Hey You, get overhear, follow me and sit in these chairs, face forward and no talking."

While sitting face forward..."I was thinking but what about my vouchers, I still have vouchers." I now was starting to get a feel for what was going on. They took us in a room in the basement and we waited with our heads down. You see this is a well oiled machine. They know who is coming and when. We were just waiting for enough Recruits to fill a bus.

I remember this night like it was yesterday. It was 1992 and the night of the NCAA Final Four Championship game. The Marines who were on duty collecting recruits were watching the game and we had to keep our heads down. Luckily, so to speak my team the UC Bearcats had lost in the Final Four. I would be missing the game so I guess that was the only redeeming thing about missing a Final Four Championship game.

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You're getting the picture, you are now a piece of property!

After nearly a 2 hour bus ride you are now at the Main Gate of Parris Island. You have seen the pictures and heard the stories but quite honestly the tree lined Malecon Drive, it's more like an ambush.

This is where the rubber meets the road. You have probably seen the pictures of the yellow footsteps painted on the pavement. A Drill Instructor hops on the bus and shouts those famous words "Get OFF My Bus" you start to get the picture. You can check your soul at the door. You are now property of the USMC.

At this point you are pretty much in processing phase and learning basic "Recruit" protocol. "Yes Sir," "Aye Aye Sir" and "This Recruit," which are some of the ways you respond or address the Drill Instructor. You find out quickly there is no "I" just "Aye, Aye." You soon get the feeling that "Recruit" means scumbag. I also have the distinct pleasure to have served as Permanent Personnel on Parris Island so I have been able to view this from the other side.

Speaking from the otherside, as permanent personnel I realized recruits stink and have bad breath and often are yelling at you "Yes Sir" in fear that everyone is just another Drill Instructor. It gets a little bit old and you to can help in the training by giving them a little attitude once in a while.

I fondly remember staying up 24 hours straight on my first night on Parris Bed and Breakfast. Just straight to Breakfast.

I remember getting my first chow hall experience. It was breakfast at something like 4 or 5 am. I was still in my stinky civilian clothes I had been traveling in since the 5 Diamond Days Inn. No Mountain Dew to keep this recruit going, just some scrambled eggs, some corned beef hash, a piece of toast and a cup of juice.

While in receiving you are always on the go. Final background checks. They try to trick you into admitting something you left out. It's called the moment of truth. The truth is, if you gotten something in your past and you haven't brought it better do it now because your going home or going to the brig. I remember a couple of Recruits who nearly finished training and something showed up on their record. Now that sucks. You've done the training and guess what your still going home.

After nearly a week of receiving you are now approaching the Pick Up. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions are the Mens Recruit Training Battalions. I don't know much about 4th Battalion which trained Women Marines, known as W.M.s, I encourage one to create a lens.


Phase 1

4 Weeks of Hell

Now this is your first real day at Bootcamp. I was a member of 3156 Lima Company 3rd Battalion. You have a Senior D.I. (Drill Instructor) and 3-4 D.I.'s in your face at all times during Phase 1.

During this phase they are very focused on weeding out the weak. First stop is the IST (Initial Strength Test) this will tell if you are ready for the training. You have a combination of Pull ups, Sit ups and 1.5 mile run that you will be graded on.

If you do not pass you will be placed in Physical Conditioning Platoon or PCP to get you ready. It is affectionately known as Pork Chop Platoon. You don't want that. 13 weeks is enough. Get in shape before you arrive at Bootcamp. Luckily I was relatively ready.

During Phase 1 there is an assortment of important Marine Corps Knowledge to soak in. You are constantly studying, in classes and training. Between these training periods your Drill Instructor is training you on "Drill." Drill is used to move Marines around in an orderly fashion. Drill includes rifle manual as well as marching.

In between these periods of Drill and Training there is another opportunity called the Quarter Deck. The Quarter Deck is at the front of the Squad bay and is an open area. Just enough room to do some push ups, leg lifts, run in place or whatever might entertain your Drill Instructor. You don't want to go to the

Quarter Deck because you just don't know how long it will last.

I almost forgot about the cousin of the Quarter Deck the sand pit. Outside every barracks on Parris Island there is a sand pit and yes it's a place to play. That is a place for the Drill Instructors to Play. One of my favorite games in the pit was making sugar cookies. If after a bad day of practice on the Drill Field a D.I. wants to get your attention, nothing better than some sweaty recruits rolling around in the sand. You get the picture. We looked like sugar cookies when we were done. This made for a long day with sand in all of your special regions.

One of my other favorite parts of Phase 1 was hitting skills. You may call it boxing. I was a pretty tame boy going into the Marines and I lucked out when I got to box a hard-charger from the streets of New York. While swinging away in a 4x4 enclosed area I think I might have landed one punch but was the recipient of about 40. It was an embarrassment. The instructor told me never to return to LeatherNeck Square. I informed my Senior D.I.that night. If I am honest I was kind of glad I was banned from Leatherneck Square but my Senior D.I. was having none of that crap. I was back in the ring the following day. Luckily, Day 2 I couldn't feel the left side of my face (Which Actually is an Advantage, No Pain, No Pain) and my boxing partner was not so experienced.

Phase 2

Swimming & Rifle Range & Mess Duty

I actually enjoyed this part of the training. The days went fast because we were engaged in more of the physical aspects of being a Marine.

Although you continued with the knowledge, During Swim week you are in the pool a lot learning to trust yourself with your "floating 60lb pack."

During this phase is where you natural physical skills came into play. If you grew up playing sports your hand eye coordination or conditioning could really make a difference for this phase.

The Marine Corps is unique from other services in that it trains all its members to be Basic Rifleman. This means that you spend 2 weeks of marksmanship training. In fact, you spend an entire week practicing "DryFire" techniques sitting around a painted barrel.

On to Range Week, this was by far my favorite week.

I had some challenges at the Rifle Range. I had the big brown glasses called B.C.s short for Birth Control glasses. You see you weren't going to be sleeping with anybody wearing B.C.s. and they weren't an asset when trying to look down the barrel of a M-16 Rifle at a target 500 Yards away.

There are three levels of qualification. I had the lowest called Marksman. It was a medal with a square target. It was affectionately called the Pizza Box.

On to Mess week. This is the hardest week of Bootcamp. You are up at 3am working the chow hall and home after 8pm. Its a long day and you oddly miss your days on "The Quarter Deck."


Phase 3

BWT, Grenades and Crucible, Graduation/Marine Week.

This is when you get to put your training to the test. you are out at BWT, Backwoods Training for nearly 3 weeks. During this time you get to test some of the training you have learned in simulated combat exercises.

It gets a little nasty out there after just a few days. You look forward to using a real "head" bathroom as soon as possible.

The Crucible is something new that I did not experience when I went through Bootcamp but is basically like a final exam over 3 days. You are out in the woods, almost like a simulated 3 day war.

From the Marine Corps website:

The Crucible is a rite of passage that, through shared sacrifice, recruits will never forget. With that memory and their core values learned in recruit training, they can draw upon the experience to face any challenge in their path.

You have now earned the right to the title "United States Marine" hopefully your family is visiting. Parris Island has a great program to entertain your family with tours of the Island and you get a few hours off on your first liberty in 13 weeks with our family.

During this week there is a motivation run and other confidence building activities. You have only just begun.

You are now "The Few, The Proud, The Marines"

A few other thougths on Bootcamp

I don't claim this to be the end all description to Marine Bootcamp. It is a very condensed but accurate account of what you might expect. Almost anybody can be a Marine if they are willing to do the work but the truth is few are willing.

I would like to share a few stories from my bootcamp experience.

My Bootcamp Birthday Party!

I was lucky enough to have my 21st birthday party fall in the middle of bootcamp. I had sent home numerous letters to my family encouraging them not to send any gifts or cookies.

Not understanding the family felt uncomfortable not sending any gift (Now they might).

I did not announce my birthday but one evening during mail call, I received well over 10 colored envelopes and a box. This is pretty much the tip off its your birthday. As standard protocol I was required to open the box in front of the Drill Instructor.

At this point we were well into Bootcamp and they had began to loosen a bit ...mostly in a harassing way. The drill instructor offered me an opportunity to have a birthday party.

Here's the catch. At my birthday party I needed to invite 5 "friends" to the quarter deck. In fact I was required to. This is a no win situation. Do you invite a "friend" or an "enemy" because when the D.I. is done pushing your friends with Push ups, Sit UPs and Side Straddle Hops (jumping jacks) for 30 minutes you are in a bit of a predicament.

So I invited a few Recruits that were more on the meek side. While they pushed I was required to eat the whole box of cookies and drink a canteen of water. I was in heaven for a few minutes but the sugar buzz began to kick in. Rest assured...those cookies didn't last very long. Hence the term "Tossed Cookies."

But I never forget my 21st birthday.

Water Projectile!

As a safety measure you were required to drink at least 10 canteens of water a day. The drill instructors were very on top of this. Often times during the day they would require you to take out your two 32 once canteens of water and finish them on the spot.

You would then hold them out in front of you and tip them over to show you had finished.

This often challenged the laws of physics and 64 ounces of water often was just about up to the back of you throat.

We had a young drill instructor in training join us mid training and he knew that I would run to the garbage can every time I filled up with water and had to release so to say.

On one particular day after requiring me to finish 2 full canteens he got in my face and said you are not to move. You will stay put until I say so. He was using some other vernacular I am sure but, I am sure he never did this again. Since I could no longer hold it down. My stomach rebelled and water went flying all over him.

The other drill instructors saw what happened and actually started laughing, a rare glimpse at their human side. In future weeks I never had any challenges to my need to find a garbage can.

High and Tight!

Bootcamp, after you get over the initial shock (which is the idea) is actually quite comedic. The Drill Instructors Job is to always find a new twist to keep you down or play with your mind.

During the first 10 or so weeks of Bootcamp all of your haircuts are the basic buzz cut on the verge of being bald. But a there was nothing basic about the High and Tight (exactly as described) High on top, tight on the sides...after 10 weeks of basically no hair.

The high and tight is kind of like a reward for hard work and a status symbol that you are ready to graduate Bootcamp.

You have earned your High and Tight.

So we go to the barber and do our training exercises for the day. When we get back to the barracks everybody is dying for the opportunity to get to a mirror and see their new hair cut. So we thought we were about to get our opportunity to check out our new hair doos but instead of the the normal squad by squad approach the let us use the head all at once.

You start to get the sense something is up, so as we all rush to the head, we quickly get the picture. The mirrors have been covered with paper and the D.I.s are going crazy yelling. They know you are just itching to get a peak at that new haircut but they once again have put you in your place.

At the moment I was a bit aggravated but as I get older I really get a kick out of the humor behind who came up with this one.

Sound Off Marine!

Larry on May 25, 2017:

You left the Martial Arts Program out. But I think it was adopted after your time. Other than that you are accurate. My son will be graduating on June, 9th

anonymous on March 04, 2013:

I just created a new lens for future Marines. Come check it out and let us know what you think. Thanks.

bensen32 lm on December 24, 2012:

First, Great Lens.

Sounds like Boot Camp is the same in San Diego only thing I think that is different is you mentioned sand pits outside well we had dirt/mud pits. I was in Boot Camp in 87, Delta 1075

One of the things that stands out in my mind most in Boot Camp that I hardly hear from Marines, but most agree when i bring it up. The first time you meet your DI's. the Series Commander talks to the platoon all calm and "normal" as your all sitting there on the floor on the Quarter Deck and he calls in the DI's and they stand there as he introduces them. Everything is calm and as soon as he steps out the door the Senior DI says a little something again, calm. Then he turns it over to the DI's and all at once hell breaks loose, they are screaming and yelling and running around telling you to get your gear and get to a rack (bed).

The utter chaos, the confusion, people tripping over each other and running into each other trying to get away from the DI's and get their gear and get to a rack, it was mind boggling.

25 years later it is hilarious to think back and imagine what it must have looked like for a DI, to see 80 guys jump up and run in every direction.

Thanks for bringing back so many memories.

Cpl Bensen


anonymous on December 07, 2012:

@anonymous: Oh and I forget to mention. I was also Lima Co. "Killer Third" Bn like you were so from a fellow Lima, oorah devil.

anonymous on December 07, 2012:

Boot Camp was just a tiny bit different when I did it in late 1999. One thing I always notice is how people note that what's in the different phases of Boot is not how I did it. Probably the biggest example is that when I was in, BWT was more near the middle of training, I believe it was the weekend that ended Week 5, so straight from the pool to BWT, then another training week then you went for the two weeks at Rifle Battalion. Around week 10 you had sort of an advanced week of BWT called...AWT (Advanced Warrior Training) where you did night exercises and more rifle range stuff; it seems like they've tied it all together in the week where AWT was, which kind of makes sense. Our "service week" (where you work at a chow hall or wherever) was later too; week 11 I believe, so almost off the damn island. The Crucible for me was both...not as bad as I thought and somehow worse. For a lot of small group obstacle stations I was put with a couple, shall we call them, less-than-stellar recruits and I was often literally dragging the two of them through the obstacle while we were being screamed at and they were trying to RTT (refuse-to-train). On the big (at the time, we had faaaar longer pack marches in Infantry school and the Fleet) march back to base at the end I literally badly rolled my ankle about 5 minutes into the several hour march and so walked quite a few miles with a heavy pack, rifle et al on a badly sprained ankle. When we got back to the squad bay after the Warrior's Breakfast the Corpsman had to actually cut off my boot.

marine-bootcamp on November 29, 2012:

We've just released our brand new updated Marine Boot Camp Preparation Guide! Check it out at

bofirebear on November 22, 2012:

Been there done that good lens

anonymous on October 18, 2012:

@anonymous: "O" I am sloppy and you are a "D" bag...grow up you troll

anonymous on October 18, 2012:

I have a question, when the hell did the letter o become a number? I've never ever had morning revelry at "oh" something something but I've had thousands at "zero or 0 not o" something something. Thank you have a good day. I just think it is sloppy, Since letters aren't numbers and numbers aren't letters.

coachbriany lm (author) on July 21, 2012:

@anonymous: good catch.

anonymous on July 01, 2012:

The range goes out to 500 yards, not 500 feet. You are thinking of the navy rifle range.

Mamabyrd from West Texas on June 24, 2012:

Great lens!! I was a former Army Soldier and Drill Sergeant. I can appreciate what each service does for this great nation. Thank You!!! for your service

anonymous on April 03, 2012:

Can you tell me how to get my Military Records from 1992 from Parris Island?

anonymous on March 29, 2012:

Do they do "shark attack" in the marines? I've also heard of "Ambushes" where the drill instructors will randomly ambush you and yell in your ear. I found a video of it, but do they do this to everyone?? ambush=

anonymous on February 16, 2012:

Man this brought back memories - from way back in 1988. I guess that makes me a bit of an old timer? Boot camp totally changed my life. I tell part one of the story here:

USMC3531 on January 16, 2012:

I got done with boot camp Sep 2nd 2011. I earned the proud title of Marine. I read this and laughed remembering some of the stuff that happened to me in India Co. I got a kick out of the hydration. My knowledge hats motto was hydrate or die. Especially birthdays. One guy got a singing birthday card haha! He got slayed. As for souls go, you might just wanna leave them at home or the Drill Instructor will own it. A lot has changed though. No more boxing, just pugile sticks. Aye sir instead of aye aye, (more of a west coast thing for aye aye), mess week is team week, Which still sucks but it's better then chowhall duty, we don't throw grenades. The crucible is something I will probably never forget. It was the only time that my Drill Instructor actually treated us like Marines. The sand pit is still not fun haha, and sugar cookies still walk the island. I remember we went out right after pt one day. We had just gotten out of the showers, and bam 10, sand pit. I would have gotten lucky if the recruit in front of me hadn't picked his face. Boot camp will never fade. I will never forget my drill instructors. They transformed me into a dicaplined Marine that I am today. Semper Fi Marines. Oorah!

AttorneyForFree on January 02, 2012:

I am also a former Marine and recently had the honor of speaking to a group of Marines on their way to boot camp:

anonymous on October 25, 2011:

Great lens! very interesting. Check out my site about dating your perfect match. I'm sure you can find lots of information in there which you might need to help you on your quest to have a successful marriage. Thanks.

anonymous on August 21, 2011:

My Son is at Parris Island now....I found a GREAT family FB page that is specifically his company (Kilo). Try looking for something like that...I learn a lot, and have actually met my son's rack mate's family, not to mention several others. Only 32 days until he graduates!! Semper Fi!

anonymous on August 15, 2011:

@anonymous: I am right there with you my boyfriend is also in boot camp. I have read and read up on everything trying to get some insight of what he is going through. If you come up with anything let me know:) Your not alone I'm with you.

anonymous on August 08, 2011:

My boyfriend is at boot camp now...I'm just trying to see what he is going through. At this point I'll try anything. I haven't sleep in weeks. Can any one help me. Please.

anonymous on February 16, 2011:

Nice lens. I too am a fellow Marine.OORAH and Semper Fi!

photofk3 on February 02, 2011:

I just want to let you know that I deeply respect you for your service in the USMC. Although I'm not American (I live in Hungary), I respect American Service Members because they are fighting against threats to freedom in the Middle East and elsewhere. I think President Bush did the right thing by liberating Iraq and Afghanistan. I wish the best for all US troops. I wish that they complete their mission and win the GWOT, and may all them come home safe from their deployments.

anonymous on December 18, 2010:

I went into MCRD San Diego in 1996 fresh out of high school because I mistakenly let a phone call choose my path. I'm one of the fewer and prouder who figured out how to cut up the contract during the period where you figure out what you've been sold is a lemon of psychological harassment and brainwashing (You don't earn the title of Marine, it's the only one they allow you to have after they've crushed the rest of them out of you).

The comment about being property is absolutely spot on.

I would like to thank the USMC Drill In structor training program for teaching their staff how to (try) and break the human spirit so that I could have a taste of what this country really thinks about it's lowest citizen slaves. I love my country, and I love everyone else's country too thank you very much, and I still will not hesitate to defend the constitution and our liberties, because that's the one thing that mattered in the whole experienced.

anonymous on September 16, 2010:

From your lens I would say it has changed some in 38 years and of course it has changed even more since we both went through. they say it is 12 weeks now, I'm sure I did 13. However many it was it seemed like a damn long time. I qualified expert both in boot camp and for the next 2 quals. They called the marksman badge a "toilet seat" when I was in or maybe that was the difference between "hollywoods" and "swamp rats". Semper Fi :-)

coachbriany lm (author) on September 02, 2010:

@anonymous: MKMRB,

Congrats on Earning the Title MARINE - OOHRAH, love the Gel story. It is nice to have some stories from the view of women Marines since the men and women only train together under some very limited situations like the Rifle Range and such.

I can only imagine how nasty your fellow recruits must have looked.

thanks for coming back to share your story. I am flattered you even remembered my squidoo page.



anonymous on September 02, 2010:

wow, well what can i say? other than it's all about NASTY NOVEMBER lol jk. boot camp was an amazing experience for me. you spend 3 month without doing anything of what ur used to and believe it or not it transforms u into a different person, better yet a better person. you learn how to accept your fellow marines' flaws and no matter how much u dislike them you learn to work with them. you sure get taught that a lot in bootcamp the hard way. i hated boot camp the first month or so but then i loved it. i loved the fact that not everything is given to you. it is EARNED. i left a comment here asking you if the knowledge tsts on bootcamp are the same as the asvab and that was back on january. now im here on my MOS school. i did 3 months of boot camp and a month of MCT which i loved and now im here in mos about to graduate in a 2 weeks and get ready for my first duty station. the thing i remember the most about boot camp is when my 4 D.I's would choose 10 females who couldn't do their hair properly and they would make us undo our hair and put so much gel on our hair and then they would take us to the sand pit. dang i hated it lol..good times good an expert on doing my hair now=]

anonymous on August 12, 2010:

@anonymous: Pick,

Great stories, that was when they really made Marines. Still the hardest bootcamp around but your era was definitely a tougher one than mine.

Semper Fi,


anonymous on August 12, 2010:

I had a different experience; while next to my family the Marines are the proudest part of my life. I went to PI in July 1969 (hot hot hot) Plt. 1015 and our drill instructors were brutal. Every day someone got their asses kicked. One of the most memorable stories I have was in the evening the DI would call out "Anyone for payback"? This was an invitation to any recruit that had a beef with another recruit. A big polish guy wanted to kick my ass so he call out he wanted payback with me. Now payback is when you stand at attention in front of your rack in you skivies and shower shoes and let him strike you in the stomach. Then he would stand at attention and you would respond in kind. After taking at least five shots from him and I returned five, it was obvious he was going to kill me. He had at least 20 pounds on me and was about four or five inches taller. On the last shot from him I went down for the count but would not quit. I got up and while he stood at attention I struck him square in the nuts; he went down like a homeless man that just spotted a $100 bill. Sgt. Waugh grabbed me and brought me into the "heat locker" which is where we used to take our punishment, and said to me that that was the brightest thing I had done since I was at the Island because that guy was going to kill you. He then said, but you broke the rules and punched me in the chest causing me to fly through the doors into the squad bay. I recovered from the floor and returned to the front of my rack. This was not my last challenge with the Polish fellow; I numbed him at the pugel stick training matches he then left me alone as Sgt Waugh told him that he was not smart enough to kick my ass; but again, I broke the rules on pugel stick fighting and was again punished by the DI. The Island was a physical challenge like no other, but the mental challenge was twice as hard.

anonymous on July 20, 2010:

@anonymous: Carmelo,

Did you say 4th Battalion :) , Thanks for the comments. I have not read through my squidoo page in a while. I just took a moment to reread my stories. I am smiling inside at grateful for such a great experience. I am not able to view facebook during the day, but hope to hop you your links tonight. Sounds like a great group/forum. I look forward to checking it out.

I never knew this squidoo page would have such a positive response. Thanks for stopping by. When I update this page I will include some "EyeBalls"/links to your content.

Semper Fi you Teufel Hunden,


anonymous on July 20, 2010:

You nasty 3rd battalion! completely kidding my brother. I went to Parris Island in 92 as well. i often recall boot camp with fond memories. Its amazing how well the memories stick with you/all us Marines. I was in 1st battalion, Charlie Company. Platoon 1056. I got to stand on the yellow footprints in March. is a page I visit often for the fun memories of stuff drill instructors used to say. It actually made me want to Google boot camp stories and how I found you. I admin this group it's a large United States Marine Corps group where poolees ask questions and salty dogs like us give them direction. Sometimes anyway.

I almost forgot about the last hair cuts we got. I'll definitely vouch for the accuracy of your post. Almost to a tee! Out-fuckin-standing!

Though I was honorably discharged after my 4 years, and that my life has had its ups and downs, with more ups than downs, I talk with old friends who are now First Sergeants and Master Sergeants and wonder what life would have been like as a lifer. To imagine getting out at 38 and retiring.

Anyway, I'm glad I found your post and it brought back some memorable times!

Thanks! and Semper Fi brother.

coachbriany lm (author) on July 11, 2010:

@anonymous: Rock, I say all is fair when it comes to war and pugil sticks. thanks for sharing your bootcamp story. I wish I was a hollywood marine. I would love to move to San Diego some day.

Semper Fi.

anonymous on July 11, 2010:

My bootcamp experience was 45 years ago but it remains firmly in my memory as a defining event in my life. One of my drill instructors was Sgt. L. P. Shell and he was a poster perfect Marine. He looked and acted the role of the D. I. While he was tough he was also fair and it was apparent to me even then that he took his role as a mentor seriously.

The one incident that I remember where I felt he blew it was during bayonet training. We were paired against other recruits with pugil sticks and when told to, we ran toward each other through the sand and tried to beat each other senseless. While running I fell in the sand and scrambling to get on my feet sand flew everywhere, including into my opponents eyes. With him blind I had an easy time winning. Sgt. Shell believed that I intentionally threw the sand and invited me to the D.I. hut for thump call that evening.

After all these years I still don't agree with that discipline, only because in a bayonet fight there are no rules except one. WIN by any means available. Notwithstanding that incident I still maintain the highest respect for Sgt Shell and would certainly enjo0y the opportunity to meet with him and exchange lies about our respective careers.

Semper Fi,

anonymous on July 11, 2010:

I started bootcamp July 1 1964 but I was a "hollywood" Marine. (meaning I went to MCRD San Diego). The experiences were similar but the sand fleas weren't as bad.

I had a picture perfect drill instructor, Sgt L.P. Shell. He was a poster Marine and could run, fight, curse and tain with the best. There were other D.I.'s but Sgt Shell was the Marine I wanted to be.

I did have one negative experience with him however. During bayonet trainng with pugil sticks as we were running at each other I fell in the sand. Scrambling to get up sand was thrown up and some went in the face of my opponent. As a result he couldn't see me well and I pummelled him. Sgt Shell thught that I diliberately threw sand in my opponents face

and I was first in line for "thump call" that night. I still think that if I had intended to throw sand that that should have been OK as the result of bayonet fighting is to kill your enemy, not to play by "fair" rules.

Boot camp was 45 years ago for me buy remains a defining period in my life.

Semper Fi.

anonymous on July 02, 2010:

@BryanHopkins: Bryan,

Good stuff, I love the Jack O lantern stories.

thanks for commenting.

BryanHopkins on July 02, 2010:

Love this lens bring back memories. I was in boot camp during Halloween and or Senior had us locked up on the line before taps. He went on about how much he loved Halloween and he was missing it with his kid. He decided to bring it to us. While locked up at Attention he threw mini candy bars at us. Gave us the "10 count" to pick it up and unwrap it. and then another one to eat it and swallow it. Then he went down the line and had us smile big. He picked out 3 "jack-o-lanterns" with the most messed up teeth and made them stand first fire watch with flashlights on their face. Good times!!

anonymous on February 02, 2010:

@anonymous: They test u on millitary knowledge. Like rank structure, the general orders and other things like that. nothing like the asvab. I graduated like 3 years ago I don't remember all of it.

coachbriany lm (author) on January 22, 2010:

@anonymous: Its been so long I forget, I however, don't think it is ASVAB i believe it is on Marine Corps Knowledge and you will be prepared for that by the Drill Instructors.

Congrats on your decision and thanks for serving our nation. It is a fine experience.


anonymous on January 22, 2010:

wow! the water projectile story made me laugh! that's funny. well, im shipping out on March. Im excited to ship out. Im 18 yrs old and a female and from my point of view, I wanna join the Marines because it's such a different experience that you'll never ever forget and because it educates you in distinct ways. I would love to have a question answered though. Once you're in bootcamp, they give you another knowledge test right? What kind oF knowledge test is it? is it like the ASVAB?

coachbriany lm (author) on August 02, 2009:

[in reply to John] Great Words and the Title Marine is not handed out it is Earned.

anonymous on August 02, 2009:

Always remember this: There are wannabes who ain't never gonna be and there are wannabes who someday will be. The Unites States Marine Corps does not ask you to join their ranks unless you really want to. So prepare yourself in both mind and body before you go. If you do join the Corps the experience will last will never, ever forget it.

I joined the Marines in 1959, went to boot camp at MCRD San Diego and remember boot camp as a proud achievement. Semper Fi to all Marines!!

coachbriany lm (author) on August 01, 2009:

[in reply to julie] Julie, good luck in the Marines, you will love it.

coachbriany lm (author) on August 01, 2009:

[in reply to Steve B.] Steve, I can't really remember how many days we ran, but you will be running from place to place almost every day. You will probably run for PT, physcial training 4-5 days a week except when you are at the rifle range or other specialty training weeks.

you are always getting pushed physically after a few weeks you are a machine and you probably won't care if you are running or walking.

coachbriany lm (author) on August 01, 2009:

[in reply to Jason] Jason, his website is awesome, I can't wait to get the DVD, I agree this is a great link to learn more about bootcamp and see it firsthand.

coachbriany lm (author) on August 01, 2009:

[in reply to Cpl of the United States Marine Corps] Corporal, I can't agree more. I only recommend people joining the Marines because they want to be a Marine. Education and other perks should be just the gravy on top of a decision that is clearly thought out.

Thanks for taking care of us in these challenging times.


anonymous on August 01, 2009:

You guys and girls have no idea what boot camp is like until you go. No matter how many stories you hear, you will expierance it different when you go. It could be hell or it could be a run through. It really depends on your Dril Instructors.

anonymous on July 30, 2009:

If any of you want to know what its like to be a recruit in the Marine Corps look up He has a documentary of his platoon on here, you must buy this wand watch it.

anonymous on July 28, 2009:

Hello. My name is Steve and I am leaving for bootcamp August 10th, 2009. I was supposed to leave July 6th, but then my ship date got moved to July 26th because, well there was just no more room on the island. Again it got moved to August 10th for the same reason. I am just extremely excited to go. It's funny that you mention your birthday fell in the middle of bootcamp. Mine 18th birthday is August 4th and I was supposed to have it in bootcamp. I'm actually quite upset that I don't get to have the story of my birthday on the Island.

Anyway I do have a question that I would love to be answered:

How often do you actually run in bootcamp?

anonymous on May 22, 2009:

wow you are amazing i can't believe you went through all this. yes i am a girl and i decided to go into the marines. you story and how you broke it down into groups is really helpful thank you so much!!!

coachbriany lm (author) on March 24, 2009:


if you have any questions, I don't claim to be an expert but will surely give you the straight scoop as I see it.

The Marines are a great experience but the decision to join should be thorough and pros and cons should be weighed.


anonymous on March 24, 2009:

nice. this helped a lot. im still in high school w. NJROTC but its cool to read people's experiences.

toni32 on February 22, 2009:

Great Lens.Very good content.I also have a lens about US Marine Corps so please feel free to stop by and check it out.

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anonymous on October 21, 2008:

One morning during PT i took my "portholes" off because they fogged up on me and couldn't see where I was going. My heavy screams "EYY thing i know i didn't tell u to take ur portholes off put them back on u nasty" I replied with "sir this recruits portholes are foggy and he can't see" i have a very heavy NY accent , which i didn't know i had until i got there. and he repeated what i said and added in a how you doin? from then on on his duty nights before lights he would scream "eyyy tony soprano" or "yo my cousin vinny" AYE SIR!!! say it thing!!! AYE SIR how u doooin

anonymous on October 21, 2008:

One morning during PT i took my "portholes" off because they fogged up on me and couldn't see where I was going. My heavy screams "EYY thing i know i didn't tell u to take ur portholes off put them back on u nasty" I replied with "sir this recruits portholes are foggy and he can't see" i have a very heavy NY accent , which i didn't know i had until i got there. and he repeated what i said and added in a how you doin? from then on on his duty nights before lights he would scream "eyyy tony soprano" or "yo my cousin vinny" AYE SIR!!! say it thing!!! AYE SIR how u doooin

coachbriany lm (author) on October 16, 2008:


Good luck with your bootcamp. Get off the smoke and you will do great.


anonymous on October 16, 2008:

I did 3 yrs of NJROTC in high school and have wanted to beome a marine ever since. my problem was wanting to "smoke" if you understand. i have now gone 31 days without it and feel great and still want to do it. ive read a lot online and spoke to friends who have been there already. ill be 25 on november 27th. (yes thanksgiving day) i know im getting a late start but i can't wait to call myself a marine and be a man finally. thanks for serving all of you. i look forward to having yalls backs one day soon.

anonymous on October 16, 2008:

I did 3 yrs of NJROTC in high school and have wanted to beome a marine ever since. my problem was wanting to "smoke" if you understand. i have now gone 31 days without it and feel great and still want to do it. ive read a lot online and spoke to friends who have been there already. ill be 25 on november 27th. (yes thanksgiving day) i know im getting a late start but i can't wait to call myself a marine and be a man finally. thanks for serving all of you. i look forward to having yalls backs one day soon.

QuantumTraveler1 on October 07, 2008:

Semper Fi marine. Great job. I especially liked your section on the "Water Projectile". Thanks for your service to our country. We appreciate it.

anonymous on September 20, 2008:

Oh yes, we called that the "Water Treatment". This was something we heard about from other recruits (on Sundays at Church), but had never experienced firsthand.

One day, a meek and mild recruit went to medical for some reason or another. He apparently was dehydrated and told the doctor that our Drill Instructors weren't letting us drink enough water. The doctor probably fussed at our company commander, and of course stuff rolls downhill.

From that day on, we had frequent "Water Treatments" to ensure nobody ever could say that we didn't drink enough water again.

anonymous on March 06, 2008:

in this description it says you fire from 500 feet away but it is really 500 yards away. simple mistake everything else is right on. and he is right anyone can do it if they are willing to pay the price..... its all worth it. make sure your in shape before you go!! pork chop platoon is no good!

anonymous on February 26, 2008:

yeah you wear them all the time. ur di will yell at you if he notices them off ur face!

anonymous on February 11, 2008:

You're required to wear you B.C.G.s all the time while in militay "possession"

coachbriany lm (author) on February 08, 2008:

Are you referring to the military issued prescription glasses, known as Birth Control glasses. If you need them, they are the only authorized glasses you will can were during bootcamp.

anonymous on February 08, 2008:

I don't know if anyone is going to respond...but when you are in you have to wear your BT glasses at all times or just when you are shooting??

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