Basic Training – Schedule

Basic Training is broken down into three basic phases: The First Phase is Basic Learning; physical and mental. The Second Phase is Rifle Training and the Third Phase is Field Training.

The first part of week one is called "forming." The Drill Instructors "form" new recruits by a process known as "total immersion."

Forming is the period when recruits are taken to their training companies and they "meet" their drill instructors for the first time. During Forming’s 3-5 days, recruits learn the basics: how to march, how to wear their uniform, how to secure their weapon, etc. This period of time allows recruits to adjust to the recruit training way of life before the first actual training day.

Immediately, you’ll be expected to learn a brand new vocabulary (no mistakes allowed!). You don’t go "upstairs," you go "topside." You don’t go downstairs, you go "down below." Your bunk becomes a "rack." The latrine is a "head." The floor is a "deck." The walls are "bulkheads." The windows are "portholes." the ceiling is an "overhead." You face "forward." Behind you is "aft." Facing forward, left is "port," and right is "starboard." Never, EVER call the D.I.’s office an "office." It is, and always will be the "D.I.

Third-person language is also a cardinal rule. It’s not "me," or "I," it’s "this recruit." It’s not "them," or "us," it’s "these recruits," or "those recruits." Never, EVER, say the word, "you" to your drill instructor. The proper phrase would be "Sir, this recruit does not understand the drill instructor’s request, sir." (Shouted at the top of your lungs, of course).

Almost every single day of Marine boot camp you’ll experience Physical Training (P.T.). This normally consist of six limbering exercises, followed by the "daily dozen" (side-startle hops, bends & thrusts, rowing exercise, side benders, leg lifts, toe touches, mountain climbing, trunk twisters, push-ups, bend and reach, body twists, and squat benders), up to 15 reps each, and up to three sets of each. This is in addition to required runs and long-distance marches.

Recruit training uses a progressive physical training program, which builds up recruits to Marine Corps standards. Recruits will experience Table PT, a period of training in which a drill instructor leads several platoons through a series of demanding exercises while he stands on a table. Recruits will also run, either individually or as a platoon or squad.

Other PT consists of obstacle courses, circuit courses, or 3-, 5- or 10-mile conditioning marches.

Most nights you’ll get a full 8 hours of uninterruped sleep. However, the Marine Corps Recruit Training Regulation allows the Basic Training Commanding General to reduce this requirement to 7 hours. The above does not apply when a recruit is required to perform guard duty, fire/security watch, mess duty, or when the series/company is engaged in scheduled night events. Under such circumstances, the hours of sleep may be reduced to a minimum of six hours. When such a deviation is authorized, the eight-hour sleep regimen will be restored as soon as possible after the event/circumstances no longer exist. During the Crucible Event, recruits will normally receive four hours of sleep per night.

In addition to 8 hours of sleep, you’ll get some "free time" each day. The purpose of free time is to allow recruits to read, write letters, watch instructional television (ITV), and to take care of other personal needs. It is a period when no training is received by recruits and no instruction is conducted by Drill Instructors. Free Time is intended to be a relief period from close, constant association for both recruits and DI’s and to take care of personal hygiene and other personal needs. The Marine Corps Recruit Training Regulation requires the DIs to give you one hour of uninterrupted free time each evening, beginning on the first training day, while in garrison (ie, not out in the field), Monday through Saturday, and four hours on Sundays and holidays while in garrison. Company commanders may authorize two hours of free time on Saturdays. However, company commanders may also suspend free time for recruits as a result of punishment imposed by administrative or legal proceedings. Mail is passed out each day by the DI’s prior to free time.

You may not think you have any rights in boot camp, but you would be mistaken. The Marine Corps Recruit Training Regulation lists the following "recruit rights:"

(a) Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, except under the conditions mentioned earlier in this article

(b) One hour of free time daily, unless removed for punishment, and during processing, forming, weapons and field/combat training, and the Crucible

(c) 20 minutes to consume each meal.

(d) Attend sick call.

(e) Attend scheduled religious services.

(f) Request mast via the chain-of-command.

(g) Make and receive emergency phone calls.

(h) Receive mail on the day it is received by the parent company except for Sundays, holidays, and during the Crucible Event.

(i) Send mail without fear of censorship.

(j) Make head calls.

(k) Use medication prescribed by a certified military medical officer.

The Marine Corps has recently increased emphasis on close combat training, and you’ll begin this training during week one with an introduction to bayonet fighting. You’ll also experience your first 1.5 mile formation run, and be introduced to your closest buddy in boot camp: your M16A2 rifle.

The Marine Corps has added martial arts to its Boot Camp program in November 2000 – the biggest change to boot camp since the Crucible was added four years before that. Recruits l get about 15 hours of martial-arts training at boot camp and will receive another six hours of training during the Marine Combat Training. Only then will qualified Marines earn their first belt, which is tan. Ultimately, Marines can work toward a gray, green, brown or black belt throughout their careers.)

No article on Marine boot camp would be complete without mentioning this very important aspect. During your 13 weeks, you will spend countless hours taking this rifle apart, cleaning it thoroughly, and putting it back together. Countless hours!

The remaining hours of the week will be comprised of various academic classes.