Female Recruits Train To Be Warriors

Carl | February 25, 2013 

- Parris Island is the only place where women are trained to become enlisted Marines and they undergo the same training men do here.

Throughout the 13 weeks of recruit training, there are major training events that complete the transformation – becoming a human weapon is one of them.

From the first few training days until Training Day 22 recruits earn their tan belts in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. Tan belt is the first rung on the ladder of MCMAP, and the training teaches recruits the basics of the program.

“Not only do we want them to know the techniques but we teach them Marine values,” said Staff Sgt. Michelle Baerman, a brown belt MCMAP instructor and drill instructor with November Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion. “Not only are you a martial artists, but you’re well-rounded warriors.”

The 27-year-old Keokuk, Iowa native strives to teach her recruits to be able to take on any opponent. Teaching MCMAP to female recruits can be challenging, she explained.

“Since they’re females, their biggest obstacle is usually the stereotype of being defenseless. I tell them that they’re going to be able to take on anybody and that nobody can mess with them now,” Baerman said. “It doesn’t matter how big or strong your enemy is – you have to be able to take on any kind of opponent.”

The recruits learn the techniques through demonstration and repetition.

“Most kids this generation aren’t used to staying on their feet very long and we’re making them kick over and over again,” Baerman said.

“We’re preparing them for war, and they can protect themselves now,” she added.

Baerman stresses endurance, muscular strength and the need for recruits to build reaction time, all through a great deal of preactice so the techniques become like second nature.

“I teach females the same way that I teach males,” Baerman said. “There’s one way to learn and I instruct that way.”

Lance Cpl. Javarre Glanton

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