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SD Crucible from  Lance Cpl. Grace J. Ki
Recruit Training

Known as Boot Camp, this grueling 13 week process transforms young men and women into United States Marines. 

Less than 1% of Americans undertake this process. Fewer successfully earn the title. It is an endeavor which will push you beyond the limits of your mind, body, and soul.

Recruit Training is conducted in four phases (I, II, III, and IV). Each phase presents new challenges, teaches you new skills, and prepares you to join our team.


At the end of training, recruits are now Marines - they have learned to be a part of our the Marine Corps Team and earned the right to stand among our ranks.


Continue on this page to learn more about each phase.

Click here to see our exclusive guide, breaking down what you're in for every step of the way, and how to get ahead.


Arriving to the Depot

Receiving includes arrival, the first phone call home, in-processing, uniform and equipment issue, and other medical and administrative tasks. These actions typically take 3 to 4 days to complete.

The receiving process also serves as a final screening to stop the matriculation of anyone not fit to train.  A final medical and legal screening will be conducted, and failure to meet the requirements may lead to separation or the beginning of training being delayed for some recruits. 


The last event of Receiving is the Initial Strength Test (IST).  Recruits are required to complete pull-ups, crunches, and a 1.5 mile run to pass the IST to prove they are physically capable of starting training.

Phase I

Learning the daily routine and becoming a recruit

During this first phase of training, recruits focus on individual skills. Drill Instructors will work to remove any of a recruit's former individuality. Recruits may no longer use the word "I," but shall refer to themselves as "this recruit."  Recruits will learn an instant and willing obedience to orders. They will begin to operate as a part of a unit rather than an individual.

Introductions to close order drill, the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, and other facets are made to begin the transformation from civilian to recruit. Physical fitness, military discipline, and military structure are the focus of this phase.

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Meeting Your Company Leadership

The first event of Forming, Black Friday, is an iconic event of Marine Corps recruit training.  Recruits will be introduced to their Company Commander, Series Commander, First Sergeant, and Drill Instructors.  The Senior Drill Instructor and his/her team will teach each recruit how to eat, sleep, stand, and speak for the remainder of training. 


All of this will be a blur for the recruits, and it will continue for three more long days.  Tasks which recruits previously may have thought were menial such as making a bed or tying a but will be scrutinized by the unwavering presence of their Drill Instructors.


Recruits must be fast, loud, and resilient if they expect to make it through these critical days.

Phase II

Develop the Team and basic skills

The second phase of recruit training is the longest of the four, lasting a total of four weeks.  It builds upon the foundation which recruits learned in the previous three weeks by teaching recruits more advanced individual skills to include water survival and marksmanship. 


They will be further challenged by a progressively more demanding physical fitness regimen which will include individual runs up to 3 miles and their introduction to the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) and Combat Fitness Test (CFT). 


At the completion of this phase, recruits will have earned their first belt in the MCMAP program and complete qualification with the M16A4. 

Phase III

Training and testing the Warrior

By this phase of training, the recruits have become a team.  Many recruits will feel closer to their rack mates (recruits sleeping in the bunks nearby) than their friends from home. They have become a cohesive platoon that will push through their final transition together. 

Everything during this phase is a test.  The recruits will complete their final PFT and CFT for a score to measure their levels of fitness. Each recruit will be tested in military knowledge and combat lifesaving skills through a series of written tests and practical application. They will finish their Combat Marksmanship training in order to prove their overall proficiency with their service rifle. 


Recruits will also complete Basic Warrior Training, or BWT, where ecruits will be introduced to critical skills such as land navigation, tactical movement, and fieldcraft.

The Crucible begins deep in the night where recruits will begin an arduous journey to prove their mettle as individuals and as a team. Not all recruits who start the Crucible will complete it, but those that do  return from the field having earned the title, United States Marine.

Phase IV

Preparing to graduate

The new Marine will enter the fourth and final phase of training with a new outlook. Many freedoms which were stripped from them at the beginning of Recruit Training will return. They will speak to each other differently; their relationship with Drill Instructors will shift to one of mentorship and advice.


Marines will continue to be challenged in physical fitness through high intensity training, swim aerobics, and distance running. They will conduct core values discussions with their company staff to develop the intangible values of being Marines. They will meet with Marines in their MOS's to understand what is coming once they hit the Fleet Marine Forces. 


In their final days, families will get to see their Marines during Family Day and the Recruit Graduation. These men and women return home vastly different from the doe-eyed recruit who stood on the yellow footprints weeks earlier. They are United States Marines.

Key Training Events
Sergeant Instructors
Pre-OCS Checklist
Basic Daily Routine
Eating at OCS
Living in the Squadbay
5 Paragraph Order
Getting Ready
What Can I Bring with Me?
Staying in Touch
PT Plans
OCS Knowledge
Knowledge Check
Family Day
Pro Tips
The Rumor Mill
Counseling Call
Honor Grad Principles
Reading Materials
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