Company conquers boot camp changes

Equipped with a load-bearing vest and two canteens, Company D recruits battled fatigue through rain, mud and sweat to conquer the Combat Conditioning Exercise course Dec. 19.

The CCX is designed to give recruits a combat mindset by incorporating Marine Corps martial arts techniques while they are exhausted, said Sgt. Mauricio Ramirez, drill instructor, Instructional Training Company.

The course is composed of 10 stations, with transitional exercises such as fireman carries and buddy drags in between each one.

Amid leg sweeps, break falls and counters to chokes and holds, recruits faced numerous standing and ground techniques that tested their proficiency in the movements.

The course targets several sets of muscle groups by featuring techniques from the tan belt syllabus of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.

Originally run in the first phase of training, the CCX was recently moved to the third phase because recruits are more proficient with MCMAP after their field training during second phase, said Ramirez.

“There’s an old saying, ‘There’s an eight-hour movement for a 30-second fight,'” said Ramirez. “This course definitely defines that statement when the recruits get tired from the transition exercises and have to move on to the next station without a break.”

The recruits began the course with a war cry – a yell of aggression and sign of the intensity they were exerting. They tackled the first few stations with ease before the challenging tasks began to wear them out.

“This was by far the most intense workout we have done in boot camp,” said Recruit Joseph A. Helmick, Platoon 1073, Company D. “I liked it because it was really team-oriented and I actually felt like I accomplished something when we were done.”

Helmick, a native of Hebron, Ill., said he was drained by the end of the course and that it started to show on the last obstacle when he had trouble high-crawling – a crawling movement used to keep a low-profile while moving.

“(If) the recruits put out during the course, they should feel exhausted by the end,” said Ramirez, a Soledad, Calif., native. “The course is designed to exhaust them.”

Although the recruits run the CCX only one time during training, its purpose is to challenge them. Helmick said that if the recruits will themselves to perform to their full potential, they will feel that this was the most strenuous physical training session thus far in boot camp.

While no training can truly simulate battle, the CCX is a good starting point to teach future Marines to put mind over matter, Ramirez said. By requiring them to keep pushing, even when their bodies tell them to stop, they learn a great lesson in perseverance that can help them in a combat situation.