Educators Get Taste Of Recruit Training
Carl | February 6, 2014
San Diego —
Approximately 40 educators visited multiple Marine Corps installations in southern California to learn more about the Corps. However, for many, the most informative and impactful experiences were when they were challenged to participate in recruit training like activities.
Educators of the Chicago and St. Louis area conducted the Combat Fitness Test aboard the depot, Jan. 14.
During their week-long visit, the group was briefed on Marine Corps recruiting policies, Corps history, and recruit training. Specifically, what recruits go through in their 13-week journey to becoming Marines.
Before heading to the football field for the CFT, educators were broken down into two groups. Drill instructors then aligned them into a platoon and explained the fundamentals of marching. Although they seemed to soak up the knowledge well, applying it was a different story.
As Sgt. Mark Peters, senior drill instructor, Platoon 1074, Company K, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, gave the order to step forward, only about 20 people moved together. After laughing it off, Peters informed the educators of what they had done wrong and tried once again to march together. The improvement was minor and, after a quick chuckle, it was decided the group would simply walk the rest of the way to the football field.
“I thought I was pretty athletic and coordinated,” said Tish Nager, guidance counselor, Hillsboro High School. “But this stuff is harder than it looks. I can tell it takes practice because it’s not a normal stepping pattern.”
When the group arrived at the football field, Marines gave demonstrations of each part of the CFT and informed the group how the tests are scored.
In the Corps, the CFT includes an 880 yard run known as movement to contact, ammunition can lifts and a simulated maneuver under fire. However, because much of the group was at varying physical fitness levels, the CFT was performed only by those who volunteered and the half mile sprint was taken out.
Many of the educators who volunteered to do the ammunition can lifts appeared to be shocked around the halfway point, at the difficulty of the exercise. They struggled to push themselves for more repetitions.
After the ammunition can lifts were done, only a handful volunteered for the remainder of the CFT.
“This was one of the hardest physically challenging things I’ve ever done,” said Nager, who is also a soccer, softball and basketball coach. “Because I’m a coach, it was very informative and motivating. There were people who thought they couldn’t do it and just pushed through it. I think that’s one of the biggest things I’m going to take back as a coach. It was also an eye opening experience and now I have experiences I can talk about when my students ask about the Marine Corps.”
As the volunteers worked their way through the Maneuver-under-Fire, their peers shouted words of encouragement. Maneuver-under-Fire consists of a fireman’s carry, dummy grenade toss, high and low crawling and ammunition can carries.
Herbert House, a post-secondary college and career advisor at William J. Bogan Hish School, pushed himself to exhaustion so much that after he completed the CFT, he vomited.
“The intensity of it made me feel like I was getting to my breaking point,” said House. “But what was going on through my head during the CFT was that I just have to finish. I tell my [students] that there are times and emotions that make you want to give up, but with hard work, good attitude and focus you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. I did it for my [students].”
For each volunteer that went through the CFT there was a drill instructor right behind them shouting and pushing them forward just like they push recruits in training.
“It’s a great experience for the Marine Corps and civilians to collaborate and learn how to better inform educators and students on the military,” said Peters. “If we don’t push them 110 percent it might never happen. This may be their only chance, it’s about getting the mission done and [the educators workshop] is important.”
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