SAN DIEGO -- Recruit training introduces numerous topics, which recruits must master in order to graduate recruit training. Though all subjects are important, few exercises put the lives of an entire platoon or more in the hands of approximately 2 recruits. Interior guard is one of the vital responsibilities Marines assume throughout their career. Training for it is an essential need that all must learn and master.
Recruits of Company K, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, received a class on interior guard aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego April 11.
The purpose of the class was to teach recruits fundamentals of standing an interior guard post and the basic tasks and billets associated with it. Interior guard is utilized to ensure the safety of their fellow Marines and to watch over and take charge of all government property in view.
If one thing is certain in the Marine Corps, it’s that every Marine will be assigned duty, where a Marine will have to stand on post on average for 24 hours. What may seem like a simple task is greatly intensified in a combat environment. Therefore, drill instructors emphasize the importance of the information passed during class.
“We want to establish a baseline of what is important since there is always a Marine on duty,” said Sgt. Mark A. Peters, senior drill instructor, Platoon 3223, Co. K, 3rd RTBn. “It will introduce them to what they’ll be doing, let them realize how important it is, and give them the ability to identify key billets.”
Recruits learned about their 11 general orders and received grim examples of the consequences that can result from not following proper procedure during guard duty. For some recruits, these examples emphasized the importance of the interior guard class.
“It was a shock for me to realize that if you don’t know your duties and general orders, it’s not just yourself you put in danger but everyone else,” said Recruit Ryan S. Sullivan, Plt. 3226, Co. K, 3rd RTBn. “You learn that communication is vital; that it is critical to pass information on to everyone on a nearby post and especially the next person coming on duty.”
Drill instructors watch over recruits during their nightly firewatch. Although this causes drill instructors to see virtually very little sleep during recruit training, they understand the importance of it due to their own experiences.
“Drill instructors focus so much on interior guard duties because of what they’ve seen or been through in the fleet and out in combat,” said Peters, who is now on his sixth cycle as a drill instructor. “They’ve come here to make better Marines and teach them about the mistakes of the past so recruits can grow from it and be better.”
Though this is just a classroom introduction, recruits will have many opportunities to practice guard duties during recruit training. After hours, recruits take turns standing post in their squad bay while their fellow recruits are sleeping. During this time, drill instructors have simple, yet important, goals for recruits to take away from this.
“The main focus for recruits is to instill in them the ability to truly take charge of their post and to follow the general orders while on duty,” said Peters. “This will help them apply these skills out in a combat environment so that they will have a high level of readiness.”