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Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego

Recruits hone survival skills in Camp Pendleton's hills

By Cpl. Eric C. Quintanilla | | May 30, 2012

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Recruits of Company D hike the hills of Edson Range, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. while they work on their land navigation skills May 16. During field week recruits get a feel for working in the field by sleeping outside and eating meals-ready-to-eat.

Recruits of Company D hike the hills of Edson Range, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. while they work on their land navigation skills May 16. During field week recruits get a feel for working in the field by sleeping outside and eating meals-ready-to-eat. (Photo by Cpl. Eric Quintanillla)


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Recruits of Company D were put in four-man fire teams to test their land navigation skills at Edson Range aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. May 15. The recruits were put in fire teams to practice their small-unit leadership skills.

Recruits of Company D were put in four-man fire teams to test their land navigation skills at Edson Range aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. May 15. The recruits were put in fire teams to practice their small-unit leadership skills. (Photo by Cpl. Eric C. Quintanilla)


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Recruits of Company D were put in four-man fire teams to test their land navigation skills at Edson Range aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. San Diego May 15.  After a four-hour class recruits had three hours to find six boxes using only a compass, map and protractor.

Recruits of Company D were put in four-man fire teams to test their land navigation skills at Edson Range aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. San Diego May 15. After a four-hour class recruits had three hours to find six boxes using only a compass, map and protractor. (Photo by Cpl. Eric Quintanillla)


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MCRD San Diego, Calif. --

             Company D, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, spent a week in the field aboard Edson Range, Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. May 14.

            During field week, recruits learn a variety of new skills. This is intended to give them an idea of how to survive in an outdoor environment.

            “It gives them a brief orientation to Marine Corps skills,” said Staff Sgt. Kenneth Williamson, senior drill instructor, Platoon 1074, Co. D, 1st RTBn. “Everything they do here is fire-team based and ties into small-unit leadership.”

            Recruits start with the basics, by learning the fundamentals of small-unit leadership starting with fire teams. These classes also include detecting improvised explosive devices, personal hygiene, cover and concealment and hand and arm signals.

            “I learned a lot about the basic combat structure,” said Recruit Ryan Lundquist, Plt. 1074, Co. D, 1st RTBn. “It’s stuff you can encounter in a real-life situation and is most likely to save your life.”

            Day two of field week consists of land navigation training. Recruits are expected to use a compass, protractor and map to find various points on a map, during the day and at night.

            “They need to know how to properly navigate if they get separated in the field,” said Williamson.           

            The drill instructors prepare the recruits by briefly going over field week knowledge prior to week seven. The field instructors with Field Company, WFTBn., ensure recruits understanding of the material by providing time to practice the new skill sets after teaching each class.

            Although the drill instructors do a good job teaching them the basics before they get here,  the field instructors fine tune each skill, explained Sgt. Nicholas Lollis, field instructor, Field Co., WFTBn, MCB Camp Pendleton, Calif. 

            Recruits also spend two nights outside of their squad bays, under the stars, with nothing more than their sleeping bags. During inclement weather or the cold season, recruits will use tents to keep them dry.

            “I like to sleep outside, so I enjoyed it,” said Lundquist, 21, a Chicago native. “I used to go camping a lot so it was pretty easy.”

            Friday night the recruits have one last field week event to complete, the night hike. The night hike teaches the recruits how to remain silent while ensuring their gear does not give away their position.

            “During the night hike they learn about noise discipline and how to adjust their night vision,” said Williamson.

            After field week, recruits of Co. D will make their way back to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego to begin Phase Three of recruit training.

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2 Comments


  • Nancy Inge Baker 225 days ago
    We depend on the Marines.
  • Hello Brothers 329 days ago
    1St Tank Battalion 72-74

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