Advice and Info About Enlisting Into the Marine Corps

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It is important that you trust and believe in yourself and in your abilities. You must have faith and you must be true to yourself. Fear of the unknown is human nature and perfectly fine. It is what we do with our fears that makes us into the warriors that we eventually become.
 No matter how much information you have about boot camp, you still will be lost and will suffer while there. The information here is to give you a heads up of what is to come and to teach you how things really are so you can sort of ease and prepare your mind now. Since most of you love to make boot camp out to be something it is not, this is why this page was created. In the end you will see that most of your worrying is unnecessary.
You can prepare yourself mentally by reading and understanding this section. And you can view a video of your first two hours of boot camp by clicking here.<<<

  • Not all boot camp platoons are run the same way which is why you may of heard a variety of stories about what takes place while in boot camp. The Senior Drill Instructor chooses how to run his or her platoon and the only thing that will be the same is the training schedule. For example: Swearing is allowed while in boot camp, but some SDI's will choose to not have his or her DI's swear at their recruits. Some drill instructors will flip footlockers on a regular basis while other platoons will not allow this practice. Some platoons chant or yell certain phrases before doing most things while other platoons will yell or chant a very different thing. This is why it is important to keep an open mind and don't assume that what you have heard from others will be how it goes for you. It is only the small things that will be different from platoon to platoon. There is also such a thing called "DI Time" which is an hour or so where DI's can choose to do whatever they want. During this time some platoons may choose to practice their drill while another platoon may choose to study their knowledge. Some might stress pull-ups while others might stress something else. This is why you might hear about one battalion or company stressing certain things more so than others. During this DI time they will not make you run or go fire your rifle or anything silly like that. It is simply a time where they can train you in areas that need addressing.
  • Don’t expect to be doing 20 pull-ups from the get go. Don’t expect to be running 5 miles with ease. Learn to do a USMC pull-up correctly and master it. Learn to run 1 mile and perfect that. As your confidence grows, then you can increase your workout routine. Be true to yourself and believe in your workout routine. To learn how to do a proper USMC pull-up and for fitness tips and advice, look through the following site: FITNESS TIPS AND ADVICE
  • Don’t set impossible goals for yourself. Many Marines will never do 20 pull-ups, or run 6 minute miles, so do not be discouraged. Just do your best, trust in your abilities, be patient and always give it your all. If you can only do 2 pull-ups and can only run 1 mile, then it’s kind of stupid to be thinking you will be at 15 pull-ups and 3 miles in a few weeks or months, don’t you think? Don’t be an idiot, be patient and be realistic. There are no magical solutions to getting better overnight and there are no shortcuts. All it takes is a lot of dedication and hard work.
  • You do not need to be in top physical shape to pass boot camp. The purpose of boot camp is to get you into basic shape. Of course the better in shape you are before you enter boot camp, then the easier it will go for you and it will make you more confident. It is always in your best interest to be in great shape whether you enlist or not. Just don’t go overboard in preparing for the USMC. You do not need to hire a personal trainer, or to join a gym or things like that. Basic preparation is sufficient.
  • Do not go into boot camp with the attitude of “I’ll let them get me into shape.” That is a piss poor attitude that will get you nowhere in life and it will only make you suffer. You may get away with it, but in the long run it will catch up to your ass, and it reflects poorly on you as a person. Motivate yourself and make it happen now. The time to stop being lazy is now. You claim you want to become a Marine, then how about you prove it to yourself.
  • Do not expect to gain huge bulging muscles while in boot camp. Boot camp is not about lifting weights and all that bullshit. It is about getting your sorry asses into basic shape. Large framed recruits will shed a few pounds, while skinny recruits often gain weight. All recruits become more defined or toned; some gain more muscle then others. I entered boot camp at 176 and I graduated boot camp at 176. The difference was that I lost my baby fat and I became more defined, or toned. We do not all react the same to working out, so you won’t know until you go through it as to how it will affect you.

  • You can take your own PT shoes to boot camp, but they'll force you to use issued ones.  You will be issued running shoes and your own shoes will be returned to you at the end of boot camp.
  • If possible learn to climb ropes and 9ft walls. Practice balancing/running on a log. This can be accomplished by using a street curb. Learn to climb over pull-up bars by pulling yourself up and over. Ask a recruiter about the “chicken wing” method used to climb obstacles. Learn to climb a rope. Learn to climb a wall that is taller then you are.The whole point of trying these things now is so that when you do them in boot camp, it wont be your first time trying these things and you wont be as lost.
  • Upper body strength is very important to Marines. You will be doing a lot of climbing, pushing, pulling and crap like that. Do not worry about getting muscular before boot camp. Focus on many reps and focus on gaining power. Focus on agility. Bar dips are good for upper body power. I am not a very muscular person, but very often I could outshine the muscular recruits/Marines on any USMC obstacle because I was more limber, faster, more agile, less weight to haul, etc etc. So having huge ass muscles is not always a good thing. You gotta have heart to pass boot camp and weight lifting muscles are totally not necessary. Wait until after boot camp to do all that bodybuilding stuff. Believe it or not the Marine Corps is not about muscles. That is not the type of strength they are looking for.
  • Practice stretching all of your muscles to avoid soreness, and I mean all muscles. From your back, to your groin, to your neck, to your shoulders, to your feet, it all requires stretching. A pulled muscle can mean you get dropped from training if you can’t continue. Injuries are the number one reason recruits get held back, so stretch. No Ben Gay is issued, but I have heard that some platoons allow ice to be used each evening to avoid injuries. You will be sore, so stretch, and stretch and do some more stretches. I remember my ears and toes and fingers were sore, aside from all the usual soreness you feel. This actually scared me because I had never been sore like that in my life, so prepare for it.
  • Practice sitting “indian style” for long periods of time. This is the preferred method to sit in boot camp. This is with your legs crossed in front of you with your back somewhat straight. Get your body used to this position. Trust me on this one. Ask your recruiter to show you what sitting indian style looks like if you don't know. This is also a great way to stretch your groin muscles. While in the position, use your elbows to push down on your knees and you can feel the groin being stretched.
  • Practice holding a simulated rifle out in front of you for a minute or so. You can use a broom stick or a 2x4. Just hold it out straight in front of you and keep still and don’t bend or move around. This builds character and strengthens the lower back. It hurts, but it works. When you start this training if you so desire, you can use only your bare hands. You will quickly see how heavy your hands get. It’s all about discipline and focus.
  • Learn to love drinking water, especially when not thirsty. Straight tap water is best when served at room temp. You will drink a lot of water in boot camp. You are forced/encouraged to hydrate daily and during the summer months, recruits will be drinking 10 plus canteens of water throughout the day. You must drink water. Learn now to love it. If you dehydrate while there, you will get a funny feeling from the thermometer going up your ass to take your core temperature, so drink water. DRINK DRINK and DRINK some more. Yes, you are given restroom breaks every so often. They do not torture you. And you can request to use the rest room, if you’re brave enough. During the night time you usually can get up to use the head on your own. Not allowing head calls can cause you great damage. Remember, boot camp is not about them torturing you. That is all bullshit rumors.
  • There is no need to shave your head prior to you leaving. They will shave your nasty dreads once you arrive. If you sport a bald or shaved head now, then that is fine. Just remember there is no need to cut your hair before you leave. Do not get any USMC tattoos and do not wear any USMC related clothing when you ship out. The less you stick out, the better it goes for you. No hats either and no baggy clothing. You want to look like a good clean cut person when you go to boot camp and you don't want to stick out. In reality no one really cares what you look like when you ship. It just is in your best interest to blend in and not to look like some freak.
  • Do not take anything that is unnecessary to boot camp. Only take a few dollars (20) for emergencies while traveling, an ID, any paperwork you may need, any glasses/contacts, and medications, and any religious material you feel you need. Anything extra you take such as books, IPODS, cell phones, jewelry, hats, back packs, etc etc will be placed into storage and you get it back before you graduate. You do get your personal belonging back, so don't worry about this. Do not bring anything that is illegal. If you are not sure about whether you should take something to boot camp or not, then don't freakin take it. And the less shit you take, the easier the first few days will be for you.
  • The USMC will issue you everything that you need. Do not bring extra clothes, hygiene gear, etc etc. They will take you shopping once there. The less bullshit you take, the easier it will go on you. Remember, you are heading to USMC boot camp and not some vacation. Do not show up with soap, toothpaste, towels and crap like that. Once again, they will force you to buy all this stuff once you arrive in boot camp.
  • Learn to shave your disgusting face. Everyone (males) will shave in boot camp no matter what. A regular disposable razor is what you will use. Just ensure that you know how to shave now. Let me say it again. Everyone will shave in boot camp. Even those who don't need to shave will still go through the motions, so learn it now if you don't know how. Do not be that idiot recruit who cuts his neck each time he shaves.
  • Stop drinking booze, stop smoking, chewing, dipping, fast food, and caffeine about one week or so before you ship out to allow your body to get used to it. If you are really addicted to anything such as coffee or soda, then stop sooner. You be the judge. Bottom line is you will not have all that bullshit while in boot camp, so get your body use to not having it now.
  • Stop all working out about one week or so before you ship out to allow for your body to rest and recover. Just listen to your body. If you’re sore and tired, then stop working out. Remember, the purpose of boot camp is to get you into basic shape. You do not want to go into boot camp with an injury, so let your body rest.
  • Try to get rest those last few days before you ship out. You will not sleep those first few days while in boot camp, so rest while you can. Force yourself to rest, I know it’s hard, but try.
  • Understand that you will lose your voice, so do not be shocked when you lose it. Everyone will, including many DI’s. You will be sounding off with intensity and volume all the time like never before. Your voice will sound rough at first and it might go away, but have no fear because it will return.
  • Do not arrive to boot camp drunk or with a hangover. Do not drink on the plane, bus, train or hotel while in transit. There is no need for a last drink. You are not going to die and you will be back in 90 simple days, so don’t over dramatize the ordeal. If your ass gets thirsty, then drink water.
  • Remove all your piercings from your body well in advance to allow for them to close up and heal. You will not be needing them anymore. This includes you nasty reservists. You do not want to be a Marine reservist and be seen with earnings or any other crap like that. It's called having integrity.
  • Do not eat foods that will have you crapping your pants that day before you travel or the day you travel. You will be too freakin scared to ask to use the head, so ensure you don’t eat nasty foods. Try to use the restroom as you get off the plane, bus, or train. Use it that one last time because you wont want to ask to use it due to fear for a few days. Bottom line here is to use the restroom before you arrive to boot camp as often as possible.
  • Do not think that all of boot camp is the way it will be that first week. Boot camp actually starts after the first week, so just hang in there. That first week is just processing and it is or can be very stressful. Don’t quit based on that first week. If you go there to become a Marine, then ensure you leave as one.
  • Do not take what the DI’s say to you personally. They are not picking on you because they are assholes; they do it because it’s what makes you into a Marine. Remember, you asked to be there so no whining. Don’t be so sensitive. Go in with a fresh blank slate. Let them make you into a Marine. Leave all your bullshit past life at home. If you show attitude while there, then guess what. They will work on you until they get from you what they demand out of everyone else, and that is teamwork. Like I said, leave all of your past issues at home. No one cares who or what you were before, so leave that life at home.
  • Understand we are all different. Just because recruit JOE can do certain things you can’t, this doesn’t mean he is better than you. It is not an individual competition. Just try your best and never quit. Being slow because this is who you are is ok, being slow because you have an attitude is not ok and you will be dealt with.
  • No ass kissing. Learn to be a team player. Don’t be upset when you are fired from a leadership position in boot camp such as guide or squad leader. Many times firings are done to mess with you. People are fired left and right in boot camp, so don’t fall apart when it happens to you. It is nothing personal and life in the USMC is not always fair. And boot camp positions mean nothing once you graduate, so do not act as if you are Chesty just because you were a squad leader. No one cares about that crap once you graduate.
  • Take care of all your personal crap before you ship out. Plan as if you will not have any money for 13 weeks. In most cases you don’t get your money until you graduate. For married recruits and in certain emergency cases, arrangements can be made. Pay off your loans, phone bills, car loans, etc etc before you leave. Boot camp is not the time to be a financial planner; you are there to become a Marine. Remember; plan as if you will not receive any money for 13 weeks.
  • You will eat chow three times a day and that is it. You eat at about 0630, and then at about noon and one final time between 4-5pm. The food is good and you will have plenty of time to eat. You eat basic food that is heavy with carbs and you actually do pick what you want to eat from what is being served that day. It’s sort of like a buffet style, but you can’t eat all you want. You may be allowed to drink soda or power drinks. Each platoon is different. We were not allowed any soda until about week 10 or so. Pure water, flavored water, and milk is always ok. They do not fuck with you while eating. You will or should have about 10-15 minutes to eat in most cases. Keep in mind that if you are in the front of the line, then you will have more time to eat then those who are in the rear of the line. While in the field things change as far as meals go, so don't act shocked when they shove an MRE or two in your face.
  • You usually get one quick phone call to tell someone you have arrived safely soon after arriving. This call is not to chat. It last about 30 seconds and you have certain words you have to say. This is a direct call and you can call a cell phone during this brief call. Plan on not using the phone until your final week. Different DI’s have different ways of running their platoon. Some may give phone time as a reward while others may not.
  • Try to get some sun on your exposed areas before you go. The sun will burn you since you will be near the coast no matter the time of year. The easier you burn, the more pain you will be in. Your nose, ears, head, neck, and hands are the most common burn areas. Just try to get some sun on you before you ship out. The sun's intensity is a lot stronger near the coast then it is in the mid-west as an example, so prepare for it. Even dark green (black) recruits will burn. It is mainly the lighter complected people from the areas that have long winters that will burn easily, so prepare for this. Remember that you will spend a lot of time outdoors in boot camp. You should be allowed to use lotion while in boot camp.
  • Memorize your SSN if you have not already. This number is used for many things in boot camp and in the USMC, so memorize it now. For those of you who don’t know what an SSN is, it is your social security number.
  • Learn to tie a tie.
  • You do get to attend religious services on Sundays and religious holidays. It is not forced on you. If you decide not to attend church services, then your ass will stay in the squad bay and you basically will have this time as free time. You are not messed with just because you may be a non-believer.
  • Free time during boot camp. Sundays you get about four hours of stress free time in the AM. All other days you get one hour of free time to do what you have to do in the evening. NOTE: Free time does not mean you are free to do as you wish. It just means the DI’s are not present yelling in your face. This is when you shower and read/write letters. Keep in mind many times you will have important stuff to do, so you won’t always have time to write or read letters. Remember, you are there to become a Marine and not to be a pen pal.
  • Start practicing doing everything with a sense of urgency. As an example: when you wake up, don’t lay there and rest, get the hell up and be active immediately. Force yourself to get up. Once again, this is not the time to be lazy. In boot camp you are active from about 430 am until about 9pm or whenever you hit the rack. So all day long you are doing something with your body and mind. You will get very tired and it will last three months. This is what makes boot camp so difficult. While at home now stop taking naps, stop lying in bed and doing nothing. Be active from when you wake up, to when you sleep at night. This is what makes boot camp so hard. You are active all day from sun up to sun down and you are on your feet much of the day.
  • Understand that you will have very little time to accomplish most things in boot camp. This is done to teach you to move quickly, while always remaining in control. If you take three minutes now to brush your teeth, then practice doing it in about 30 seconds. Everything is done with the sense of urgency and you will learn by the numbers. So say good bye to your long showers, or long restroom sessions. You will be shocked when you see how fast you can do things when you are pressured to do so.
  • Never forget that you asked to be there. Why would you ask to be there if you thought you may quit? All or nothing.
  • Understand you will be shown how to do everything once there. From showering to getting dressed, you will be shown how to do it by the numbers (the USMC way). Just pay attention and focus. You will be tired most of the time and you need to learn to deal with fatigue.
  • Learn not to ask the question of “why”. Why is not always important. You asked to be there, so shut your mouth and do what you’re told. Learn to react to what is said and do not question it. Once you are done with your tasks, then you may wonder and ask why. You will be made to do many things that make no sense to you, so always remember, you asked to be there.
  • Learn exactly what ATTENTION TO DETAIL means, and learn to use it all the time. Learn what it means to clean an area over and over again. Remember, don’t ask why, just do it. Much of what you will be doing will seem very silly, but you have to do it without attitude and without asking why.
  • Always remember you are not the first person to go through this. Many people graduate boot camp each year and this has been so since long ago. Weak people, strong people, ugly people, smart people, skinny people, etc etc. Anyone can pass boot camp and they do each and every week. Trust in yourself and believe in your abilities. Have faith. Think positive. Don't exaggerate what you do not know and don't make things like boot camp out to be something they are not.
  • It is called boot camp, or recruit training and never basic training. You will either attend Parris Island, SC or San Diego, CA. It lasts thirteen weeks and you are free to go on the day you graduate. All females attend Parris Island. You have ten days of leave once you graduate. You may not leave the USA without permission during this time. You can have as many visitors come see you graduate as you please. Same deal with family day. Dress is casual. No need to get all dressed up. Your visitors should dress however they feel comfortable. Remember, it is a USMC graduation and not a fashion show. You will buy your plane ticket home if necessary in boot camp with your own cash. You can stick around and tour the base after you graduate. You can ask your recruiter for recruiter’s assistance. If approved you can be home for a few extra days or weeks.

  • You cannot change your job in boot camp or after it. You do not pick your job after boot camp. The contract you leave MEPS with will be the contract you must honor.
  • If you are injured or sick in boot camp several things can happen. You may be given a light duty, or you may be put on rest until you get better. Light duty means your duties will be limited. If it is serious, then you may get dropped into a rehab platoon to heal or get over your illness. Once you heal, you continue training exactly where you left off. You are not made to start all over. If they say you can’t continue or heal because of the nature of the injury, then you are kicked out and that is that.
  • Ensure that you can pass the basic IST test before you ship to boot camp with ease. If you fail it while at boot camp, or if you are too heavy or weak, they can and will send you to a conditioning platoon so you can get fit. You should also be doing PFT's while in the DEP since this is what the USMC uses to test you on a regular basis. During your first week in boot camp you must pass an IST to continue on with your training. There is absolutely no excuse for anyone to fail this IST, but guess what? Recruits do fail their IST and are sent to a conditioning platoon to improve their nastiness.
  • The RED CROSS is to be used in case you have an emergency while in boot camp. EMERGENCY means life or death to your immediate family and not the death of your pet. Have your parents call their local red cross chapter in their hometown, and they will get into contact with you at boot camp if an emergency presents itself while you are at boot camp.
  • You will be given many shots in boot camp and I don't mean Tequila. Some are needles, and some are air guns. The pain is never ending. Deal with it. If you hate needles then I feel sorry for you.
  • You will see a dentist and you will have any work done on you that needs to be done. Many will get their wisdom teeth yanked while many will not. If you do, you will be allowed to recover for a few days. Remember, boot camp is not meant to torture you. Also remember, for many of you this is the first time you see a dentist, so all sorts of nasty mouths are going be worked on. You do not request any work on you. You simply sit there and let them do what they see fit. Never forget that you asked to be there, so smile as they yank and pull on your fangs.
  • After you run or PT in boot camp, you don’t sit down and relax afterwards. You don’t pop open a Gatorade and rest. You don’t grab and scratch your ass or do any other unnecessary movement. You go directly into a formation and you continue with training. This is what makes boot camp hard. You are always on the move. Discipline, discipline, discipline.
  • You can get promoted one rank before you go to boot camp by: Being an Eagle Scout, doing two years of any high school Jrotc, recruiting two other bone heads into the USMC while in the DEP, having 15 acceptable college credits, and by being prior service. Ask your recruiter how to go about gaining one rank before boot camp. Ask your recruiter if the college credits needed are 12 or 15.
  • Your mail is not fucked with. They don’t hold your mail for any reason. You receive mail each week day when possible. While in certain stages of training your mail may take longer to get to you. Parents should expect a first letter about two weeks after shipping out. Make sure you write your correct address on your envelope and make sure others will be able to read it. For more info and advice about mail while in boot camp, visit the following link: MAIL WHILE IN BOOT CAMP TIPS AND ADVICE
  • Do not expect to get E-3/Lcpl while in boot camp. Only one Marine may get this rank if that. Not every company will graduate a LCPL. Some positions such as platoon guides, squad leaders, high shooters, best overall recruit, most improved recruit, highest test scores, may be promoted while there. Keep in mind I said “may" be promoted. The SDI can promote recruits if he feels they have earned it. All you can do is your best and hope you get noticed. Trying to get promoted while in boot camp usually results in epic failure. It’s all about teamwork, so don't try to get it. Let it come naturally. If you enter boot camp a PFC, then you won’t be getting promoted while there unless you graduate the top Marine in your company, and even then it is not guaranteed.
  • Keep in mind that prior to the internet taking off, millions have gone through this process without having any info like you have here. People enlisted blindly back before 2002 or so and they all made it just fine. Sometimes too much information only confuses you guys. There is no need to worry if you believe in yourself and if you trust in your abilities. Have faith in your decisions.
  • Do not think that the hand to hand combat stuff you learn while in boot camp will result in you being able to issue an ass whooping just like that. This training is mainly meant to give you confidence and it takes years of advanced training to make you into a good fighter.
  • During your first month of boot camp (1st phase), boot camp will be 1,000 times harder.  As you move forward it becomes much easier. This is how they break you down and then re-build you. It starts off very very tough, but it gets much easier as time passes, so hang in there and don't panic. 

  • Most of the stuff you guys worry about now is really pointless, but understandable. Once you arrive in boot camp because of fear, stress, and because you are so tired, you forget about all those little things that worried you prior to enlisting such as showering in front of others, or being able to keep up in runs, or being that problem recruit, or your drama at home. So understand that graduating boot camp is not hard at all. We each just love to make it a lot harder than it actually is.
  • I guarantee you that most of you once you graduate will say this, "Ahh, it wasn’t that hard at all." Boot camp for the most part is actually the easy part of being a Marine, so think about that. Don’t get me wrong, boot camp is not easy, and it’s very difficult for some. For me I hated running. Everything else I enjoyed because I accepted what I got into. Boot camp is very fun, very challenging, very scary at times, very tiresome and just one great experience.
  • No matter who you are or who you think you are, one thing is for certain about boot camp. You will get fucked with at one point or another, so prepare for that and don’t let it freak you out.
  • Where you  go to boot camp has absolutely no impact on where you get stationed. This is a silly rumor. You get stationed where the USMC places you and where you went to boot camp has no impact on this.
  • The information here is to help you. It is the small things that make boot camp easier. It will suck for everyone, but by having a small edge it may be a bit easier. It is in your best interest to learn what you can now and to prepare now. I will give you an example of how a small thing can help you in boot camp. Prior to going to boot camp I never knew how to tie a tie. So when the time came for us to do this in boot camp, I was a very lost sheep. While others already knew how to tie a tie, they had time to move on to other stuff while I was stuck fucking around with a noose around my neck. If I had known how to tie a tie beforehand, then I would not of been stressed at that moment and I could of moved on to other things.
  • What in my opinion is the hardest part of boot camp? Well, I will answer this question in this manner: Running was the hardest part for me because I hated to run and I just wasn't built for running. I did prepare myself, but I still suffered. Running in boot camp when you look at it is actually not that hard at all and for most people it is a non-issue. What makes boot camp hard is that you are busy from sun up to sun down and this takes a toll on you mentally and physically. Recruits will struggle in all events since we are all different, so try not to worry about boot camp.

Once again, you most likely are making boot camp out to be something it is not. It is a lot easier then you may be thinking. It is structured to be passed and not failed, so try not to worry about it to much.