Drill instructors create hectic environment for recruits
By Lance Cpl. Bridget M. Keane
| Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego | May 02, 2013
SAN DIEGO --
In combat, Marines are expected to push through chaotic situations, pain and fatigue, engage their enemy and accomplish the mission. When recruits first arrive aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, their drill instructors are there to provide them with that type of stress in order to develop combat ready Marines.
Drill instructors of Company K, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, pushed recruits to their limits during the Combat Conditioning Exercise aboard MCRD San Diego April 24.
The purpose of the CCX is to reiterate all Marine Corps Martial Arts Program techniques they have learned during their first few weeks of training and to be able to apply them effectively while in a chaotic environment.
Although the exercise is a majority of MCMAP sustainment, one of the main purposes is learning to apply the techniques during a time of stress.
“We are introducing them to a stressful (simulated) combat environment; we want to see how they’ll react under that stress,” said Sgt. Melvin Rodriguez, drill instructor, Platoon 3226, Co. K, 3rd RTBn. “We want them to be able to react correctly and be able to fight through.”
Before the course begins, the recruits run a lap around the course.
“They do this to get their blood pumping and heart rate up,” explained Rodriguez. “We want to put a lot of pressure on them.”
A whistle blast indicated the beginning of the course. Recruits split into groups to different stations, each led by a drill instructor.
The stations included MCMAP techniques such as break falls, lead-hand punches, knee strikes, leg-sweeps and combat rolls. Every recruit was expected to perform them properly while drill instructors continuously pushed them to their limits.
The second blow of the whistle indicated a transition between stations. The transitions included lunges, star-jumpers, low and high crawls, fireman’s carry, buddy drags and the bear-buddy drag. Recruits repeated these drags until they moved to the next station and continued with the exercise.
“Everything about the course is physically and mentally demanding,” said Rodriguez. “It’s important for recruits to build up their endurance because you can’t quit in the middle of combat.”
The stress caused during the CCX allows recruits to start building a combat mindset and makes them more aware of what they can accomplish when they push through exhaustion and pain.
“It takes a lot to go through this course, more mentally,” explained Recruit Dakota Johnson, Plt. 3225, Co. K, 3rd RTBn. “I feel that you have to muster up a lot of courage to push yourself mentally. Your body might be tired, but your mind has to be stronger.”
Johnson, a 19-year-old, Littletown, Colo. native, explained that the course gives you a different perspective when performing under stress.
“I feel this course also builds up your confidence,” said Johnson. “Once you see how you can get through the course and realize it was all in your head, it makes the next physically demanding exercise not that bad.”
Co. K recruits pushed through the pain, fatigue and stress caused by the CCX. They can walk away from the experience with mental and physical confidence in their abilities to perform in a stressful environment.
“You have to push yourself 100 percent with everything in recruit training,” said Johnson. “Once you see how you perform under pressure, you should be able to do anything.”