PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. — On a very wet day in South Carolina, a group from Georgia and Florida woke up before sunrise Wednesday to get a taste of what a new Marine recruit goes through for 13 weeks.
By the time it was over, what was actually one day felt more like three.
Participants in an educators workshop at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, brought up from Sixth Marine Corps District recruiting stations in Jacksonville and Tampa in Florida, two of the several recruiting stations along the eastern half of the United States, were on a bus at 6 a.m. When they got to the depot, they stepped onto its yellow footprints to meet their drill instructors.
From the very first moment off the bus, it was made clear by the drill instructors, both female, that “Yes ma’am” and “No, ma’am” where the only proper responses to a question. The workshop participants were shown the phone boxes from which the recruits use a script to call home, and were briefed on what else takes place when recruits arrive.
A quitting attitude is not allowed.
“‘I changed my mind’ doesn’t work in the contract, so we change it back,” Capt. Maryanna Sheck, recruitment training regiment escorting officer, said.
The workshop then moved on to the squad bay, where the recruits sleep and drill instructors are able to witness the gradual progression from recruit to Marine. There are phases in the training process, each one offering more release than the last.
There was later an overview of family services for Marines, the recruitment process, a voluntary education program and the musician enlistment option program. Preceding this was a briefing from Brig. Gen. James Glynn, commanding general of the recruit depot and Eastern Recruitment Region.
In this capacity, Glynn oversees the recruitment and training process of new Marines east of the Mississippi River. It is a transformation that he said involves replacing “I” with “team” and earning the title of Marine from a place that often feels like isolation and desperation.
“This is what we do; we make Marines,” he said.
A lunch in the mess hall offered a chance to interact with recruits undergoing training, and workshop participants later fired M16 rifles on the shooting range before lightning brought the drill to a halt. A briefing was offered on the swimming requirements expected of future Marines, followed by a panel discussion with non-commissioned Marines and a look at the aircraft at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.
On Thursday, workshop participants were expected to get a firsthand look at physical training, do a museum tour, view a martial arts demonstration, see the “Confidence Course” and observe basic warrior training.
The workshop wraps up Friday.