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Surviving Marine Corps Basic Training, Part 2

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Sgt. Justin Glenn Burnside motivates a recruit with Echo Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. Burnside, originally a signal intelligence specialist from Bristol Fla., is one of about 600 drill instructors who shape the approximately 20,000 recruits through Parris Island annually into United States Marines. This handful of dedicated DIs is entrusted with sustaining a more than 237-year legacy.
U.S. Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. David Bessey

Continued from Part 1

As you move away from the first week, you'll continue learning the basics of close combat skills, including the infamous "pugil sticks." Many recruits are somewhat apprehensive about this phase of training, but then find out how much fun it really is. It's almost impossible to get hurt. The recruits are protected by a football helmet and mask, rubber neck roll and crotch cup, and only two kinds of blows are permitted: the slash and the horizontal butt stroke, both to the well-protected head and neck. A clean shot ends the bout. The secret is aggression -- this is not a defensive sport.

A word here about competition. Marine platoons compete against each other in almost every aspect of training, from drills to inspections to pugil sticks to P.T. to academics. For each and every event, trophies are won and displayed prominently in the barracks on the award's table. This is no small matter -- the competition is stiff and the D.I.s (and recruits!) take victories and defeats very seriously.

You'll learn field first aid, attend classes on core values (as well as other academic classes), and receive several hours on basic weapon handling.

Around week 3, in addition to more re pugil sticks and close combat training, additional classes on first aid and core values, you'll participate in a 3 mile march (with packs).

The Confidence Course consists of eleven obstacles, designed so that each obstacle is more physically challenging then the last. The obstacles are: (1) Dirty name (2) Run, Jump & Swing (3) The Inclining Wall (4) The Confidence Climb (5) Monkey Bridge (6) The Tough One (7) Reverse Climb (8) Slide for Life (9) the Hand Walk (10) The Arm Stretcher, and (11) The Sky Scraper. While these names sound daunting, the course is designed so the average platoon can run it in 45 minutes. Like pugil sticks, the Confidence Course is a great morale builder, as most of the recruits find out they can negotiate the obstacles with ease (after a little practice and "encouragement" from ever-vigilant D.I.s).

During the fourth week, there will be even more training with pugil sticks and additional training in close combat skills (I told you there was increased emphasis on this). In addition to the daily P.T., there will be further academic classes (including more core values training).

The highlight of week 4 is the individual drill evaluation. Your platoon will be evaluated, graded, and compared to the other platoons. The winning platoon, of course, receives a trophy for the trophy table. The losing platoons receive the wrath of their respective D.I.s.

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