SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KXAN) - The transformation into a Marine begins the second a recruit steps on the yellow footprints and ends when they complete their basic training at Camp Pendleton.
In between, there are 63 days of training.
Their bodies will be pushed to lengths they have never been, all while acquiring a very elite set of skills.
"What makes us the most premier fighting force is what happens on these hallowed grounds," Major Jeremiah Salame told the group of educators.
A group of teachers from the Austin/San Antonio area recently attended a Marines Educator Workshop in San Diego. The workshop gave the teachers a week-long and hands-on experience at the Marine Corp Recruit Depot where recruits are received and put through boot camp. Educators Workshops are designed to give teachers a better understanding of how the Marines operate so that they can better assist students that are considering a life in the military. KXAN reporter Chris Sadeghi and photographer Chris Nelson spent the week in San Diego with the teachers and this is part-two of a three-part series on the educator workshop.
The teachers got to try their hand at the Combat Fitness Test that all recruits must pass.
Recruits have to show they are physically capable of handling the rigors of combat. The CFT measures how many times they can press a 30-pound ammo can overhead in a span of two-minutes (a minimum of 91 is required to pass the test.)
Then they must run, crawl, carry fellow recruits on their back, hurl grenades, and run with the same ammo through a series of cones on a football field, completing the entire course in a maximum of 2:45.
It is one of several training exercises that will leave them tired and weary, but they will get no sympathy.
"When you are in combat, nobody cares if you are tired or hungry or thirsty," said one instructor while showing the educators the Bayonet Assault Course, an obstacle course in the sand which sits very close to the loud plane engines of nearby San Diego International Airport.
Marine Corps training not only trains recruits physically, but mentally.
A 20-year-old recruit named Darryl from Fort Worth told about his fear of swimming.
He had never learned to swim in his life, but was forced to face his fear during "pool week," the week that tests recruits ability to hold up in water.
Within a couple of hours of entering the water, Darryl had taught himself to swim.
No lessons, no instructor, but because he had to in order to become a Marine.
"We push them to the physical barriers to the point they can't go anymore," an instructor said.
But the motto in the Marine Corps is that every Marine is, first and foremost, a rifleman.
During a trip to Camp Pendleton, teachers got to hold and even fire an M-16 at the firing range where the best marksmanship in the world is taught.
Marine recruits are expected to hit targets up to 500 yards away.
One of many skills that will set them apart as one of the few and proud.
A distinction that takes 63 days to earn.
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