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Surviving Marine Corps Basic Training, Part 2

Page 2


Marine Corps Basic Training

Combat Water Survivial is not a day at the beach.

Official USMC Photo

The biggest event of week 5 is Combat Water Survival. All Marines must pass basic water survival skills in order to graduate from boot camp (those who don't pass will receive extensive remedial training until they do). Training in Combat Water Survival develops a recruit's confidence in the water. All recruits must pass the minimum requirement level of Combat Water Survival-4, which requires recruits to perform a variety of water survival and swimming techniques. If a recruit meets the CWS-4 requirements, he may upgrade to a higher level. All recruits train in the camouflage utility uniform, but those upgrading may be required to train in full combat gear, which includes a rifle, helmet, flak jacket and pack.

Also this week will be a 5 mile hike a test on Marine Customs & Courtesies, more training in first aid, a full-blown inspection (uniforms, rifles, questions, etc.), and (of course) more classes on core values.

Weapons Training . Marksmanship training teaches recruits the fundamentals of marksmanship with their M-16A2 service rifle. This training takes place over two weeks, the first of which is called Snap-In Week. During this week, recruits are introduced to the four shooting positions (standing, kneeling, sitting and prone) and a Primary Marksmanship Instructor shows recruits how to fire, how to adjust their sights, how to take into account the effects of the weather, etc. Recruits also have the opportunity to fire on the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Training machine. During the second week of marksmanship training, recruits actually fire a known-distance course with ranges of 200, 300 and 500 yards. Recruits prepare for rifle qualification on Friday of that week.

Before you actually get to fire however, you will practice aiming and dry-firing your rifle until you simply can't stand it anymore. By the time you fire that first actual shot, you'll have dry-fired your rifle in every conceivable position thousands of times.

In addition to rifle training, during these two weeks, you'll receive basic training on grenades and other types of weapons.

Field Firing Range (FFR). FFR is a portion of training devoted to firing weapons in a field condition. During marksmanship training, recruits learn how to fire at a single target while in a stationary position. During FFR recruits learn how to fire at moving and multiple targets, while under low-light conditions and wearing their field protective (gas) mask.

During week 7, you'll also experience a 6 mile night march, and get another chance at the Confidence Course.

Week 8 is called "Team Week," which means you get to spend all of your time working at the "mess hall" or some other glamorous detail.

This is much better than it sounds, however; for an entire week, you'll be free of the incessant presence of the D.I.s (to be replaced with the relatively gentler attitudes of the mess sergeants). Additionally, you'll enjoy using your status as a "senior recruit" to help, um.....motivate brand new recruits as they stumble throw the chow hall lines. (BTW, the best way to tell "senior" recruits from the newbies is to look at their haircuts. Bald heads indicates new recruits, while stubble, or "high & tights" indicate more senior recruits).

One word of warning. Enjoy it while it lasts......when you return to your platoon at the end of this week, you'll more likely than not discover that your D.I. thinks you've grown sloppy and undisciplined during the week, and will expend extra effort for the next few days in returning you and the rest of the platoon to his/her version of disciplined recruits. This "re-transformation" will most likely require several applications of "quarter-decking."

The ninth week will consist almost entirely of the fundamentals of field firing, in preparation for field training during the tenth week. There will also be a 10 mile march (with packs) during week 9. If you havn't experienced blisters yet during your time in boot camp, you most likely will experience it during week 9.

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