Waiting with anticipation like the calm before the storm, recruits of Company L stood in line to jump, pull and run their way through the obstacle course on one of the depot’s physical training fields March 5.
The recruits were paired together to complete the course in utility uniforms, flak jackets and Kevlar helmets, carrying partial combat loads. They also used the buddy system to climb over logs and high bars.
The change to the standard obstacle course training is a reflection of the Marine Corps’ need for Marines to be conditioned for combat, said Staff Sgt. Brandon T. Jacobs,
Four recruits A recruit struggles to climb the final obstacle of the course, a 30-foot rope. Recruits wrap their legs around the rope and between their boots to climb. Lance Cpl. Charlie Chavez/Chevron
Recruits master the technique of using their legs their senior drill instructor’s name and platoon Platoon 3245, drill instructor, Co. L.
During the first of three training phases, recruits run through the obstacle course in their camouflage utility uniforms without carrying any other gear. In the third phase it gets tougher, and recruits must climb a 30-foot rope and carry added weight.
The exhausted recruits must master the technique of using their legs instead of their arms to pull themselves up the rope. While touching the wooden beam at the top of the rope, each recruit yelled their senior drill instructor’s name and platoon number, announcing their victory.
"It’s reassuring to know that someone is watching over me in case I’m struggling and in need of assistance," said Recruit Joey L. Trevino, Platoon
3245, Co. K. "The (first and final) bars on the course were the most difficult."
The recruits were also helped along the course by the motivating yells of their platoon drill instructors and the supervision of their company commanders who ensured the recruits used safety techniques throughout the course.
Technique is important since the recruits must help one another finish the course with added weight, said Capt. Jeff Barber, series commander, Co. L.
The obstacle course has been an instrumental way to condition the recruits by using different muscle groups. The course has always been a way to excel physically, but now combat conditioning has become a focus of the Marine Corps and the soon-to-be implemented
Combat Fitness Test, said Jacobs.
Recruits also practice paired cohesion by working together to finish without physically exerting themselves during the obstacle, which will be a major part of the culminating Crucible,
"It implements using teamwork in physically-demanding tasks," said Barber.
The recruits will take on similar tasks in their final event as recruits: the Crucible – the final test of what they have learned. After completing the task, they will join the ranks of the Marines before them.