Combat conditioning

Recruits fireman carry each other back and forth as they wait for their drill instructor to blow the whistle signifying a station change. The fireman carry is used to transport the wounded to safety.

Company I is the first recruit training company here to complete the new training regimen, which includes a schedule change in which the Crucible becomes the culminating event of training.

The start of the new year brings with it a new aspect of recruit training, with enhanced core values and combat conditioning program.

In April, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James T. Conway announced plans to modify recruit training here and at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island for Marines to focus on rededicating themselves to their core values and warrior ethos.

The Crucible has been moved from week eight to week 11. Conducting the Crucible at week eleven allows recruits to complete the hardest thing they may have ever done, right before earning the title Marine.

The Emblem Ceremony, where recruits receive their eagle, globe and anchor insignia now follows the Crucible at Weapons Field Training Battalion, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

The Crucible is a 54-hour field training event near the end of recruit training that evaluates a recruit’s mental, moral, and physical development in order to validate the transformation into a Marine.

Round kicks were one of the techniques used in the course to incorporate hand-to-hand combat along with fatigue. The intent of the course is to push recruits beyond what they believe are their physical limitations.

The new training schedule emphasizes core values through values-based training and guided discussions.

Starting the first training week, recruits participated in daily guided discussions with their drill instructors to foster personal, group and organizational values. In an open forum recruits are given ground rules and told what to expect from the discussions, said Gunnery Sgt. Jose H. Molina, Company I chief drill instructor.

Drill instructor Sgt. Brandon Guild, Platoon 1075, Company D, leg sweeps drill instructor Sgt. Mario Virto, Platoon 1069, while demonstrating proper techniques for the recruits.

A combat conditioning program has been designed to strengthen muscles used in combat and reduces the chance of injury.

Recruits wore flack jackets and helmets and carried weapons on the obstacle course in order to simulate a combat situation, said Molina.

According to Capt. David M. Dalby, assistant training officer, G-3, dynamic warm-ups, mobility and stretching exercises have been added to the program to reduce the chance of injury. Those same exercises have been increased in intensity and lowered in duration.

Recruit Ianraymond R. Fleming, Platoon 1073, Company D, does a front break fall. This move is used to avoid injury to the head and face.

“Field Week and the Crucible used to be back-to-back,” said Dalby. “The new schedule has them three weeks apart, which is anticipated to mitigate injury.”

A transition week, “Marine Week,” has also been added at the end of recruit training so recruits can gain the ability to make a better transition from the rigidly structured environment of recruit training to a less restrictive one.

In the final eight and a half days of recruit training, drill instructors assume the role of platoon sergeant and continue to teach and mentor. New Marines will be addressed by rank or “Marine.”

Emphasis will be placed on the reinforcing of core values, exercising of small unit leadership, and increasing of individual responsibility.

Recruit Roy D. Banda, Platoon 1074, Company D, low crawls through the dirt during a transition exercise from one station to another. Low crawling helps the recruits learn how to maintain a low profile while on the move.

Recruit Victor R. Rivas, Platoon 1075, Company D, throws elbow strikes as a platoon mate tries to subdue him with a training pad. The Combat Conditioning Exercise course focused on both standing and ground techniques.