Depot obstacle course challenges Company C
By Lance Cpl. Bridget M. Keane
| Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego | January 10, 2013
San Diego --
Recruit training is a place where recruits come to challenge themselves both mentally and physically, and the obstacle course aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego has put many of them to the test.
Recruits of Company C, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, went through the obstacle course for their second time aboard MCRD San Diego Jan. 3.
Recruits complete an obstacle course, known as the o-course, in each phase of recruit training. The course focuses on building upper-body strength and using different techniques to maneuver through it. Recruits climb over a series of elevated walls, logs and bars and are forced to use their last bit of strength to climb a rope at the end.
“Most recruits are excited about a new challenge when they are introduced to the o-course,” said Sgt. Nicholas DeSimone, drill instructor, Platoon 1049, Co. C, 1st RTBn. “It might not be too intimidating to look at, but sometimes it’s harder for some recruits than they think.”
Through the o-course, recruits learn their physical strengths and weaknesses as well as how to push themselves mentally through exhaustion.
“They already know what to expect from the first time they went through. This time they should be able to know where to put forth more effort,” explained DeSimone.
Recruits ran in place at the beginning, waiting their turn to challenge the course and watched as others attempted to overcome the first obstacle.
As recruits hurled themselves over logs and pulled themselves over bars, drill instructors made sure to tell recruits to keep a low profile as they climbed over obstacles.
“The training done on the o-course can be applied to certain combat situations,” said Recruit Erik Joaquin, Plt. 1049, Co. C, 1st RTBn. “That is why (the drill instructors) keep telling us to move quick and keep a low profile when we’re going over the walls.”
Once the recruits have gone through the course twice, they are then instructed to climb the rope. They must dig deep and use whatever strength they have left to pull themselves to the top of the towering ropes.
“This is probably where recruits struggle the most. By this time, they’re so worn out from the course it makes it difficult to climb the rope,” said DeSimone. “They use all their strength trying to finish as fast as they can; this is when they have to use their mental strength to continue.”
As they reach the top of the rope, recruits yell out their name, platoon number and senior drill instructor’s name before they slowly slide back down to the wood chip-covered surface.
Although they’re exhausted, the recruits can feel satisfied that they learned a little more about their bodies and their limits.
“I feel that through the o-course, you can learn how to move flawlessly through obstacles,” explained Joaquin. “If you don’t focus, you’ll end up rushing through, looking clumsy and probably end up falling.”
While they learn certain techniques, each recruit also gains confidence as they overcome their own personal challenges throughout the course.
“Since I’m shorter, I had difficulty getting over the tallest log,” said Joaquin. “But I kept telling myself to push through and finish.”
Whatever obstacles Co. C faced and mastered on the o-course, they walked away with more knowledge and confidence in their abilities, which is an important trait instilled in recruits as they get closer to becoming Marines.