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3 Ways toPrepare for Marine Corps Boot Camp

Updated on July 20, 2015

Three Ways to Prepare for Marine Corps Boot Camp

Of the different branches boot camp of the United States military, Marine Corps boot camp is the most rigid. Marine Corps boot camp is the longest in terms of time, weight standard, physical fitness, discipline, severity of punishment. This article will detail the different ways a potential recruit should prepare for boot camp mentally, physically, and by learning certain Marine Corps knowledge.

It helps to know going in that Marine Corps boot camp is a 13-week mind game. Drill Instructors tell recruits that there is a method behind the madness, and they are correct. For example, from training day one, recruits are not allowed to say “me”, “I”, or “you”. Recruits are required to speak in the third person at all times; mind games like this teaches recruits they are part of a team. Also, speaking in third person is supposed to make the recruit feel that they are a nobody so they are forced to work as a team. The point of Marine Corps boot camp is for the Drill Instructor to transform the civilian into a motivated and disciplined Marine.

Marine Corps recruits are expected to be in peak physical condition prior to boot camp. While at boot camp, recruits are expected to improve even more. The Marine Corps scores both recruits and Marines by how well they perform on a three mile run, sit-ups, pull-ups, and dead arm hang. To score the perfect physical fitness test of 300, a male recruit would have to perform 100 crunches in two minutes, 20 pull-ups, and run three miles in less than 18-minutes. For a female recruit to score a perfect 300, she would have to perform 100 crunches in two minutes, a dead-arm hang of 70-seconds, and to run three miles in less than 21-minutes.

Lastly, a potential Marine Corps recruit should learn certain knowledge before they leave for boot camp. On the first day of boot camp, recruits are issued to camouflage notebook which contains all the needed information a recruit is required to learn. It is important to learn most of this testable information before the first day of boot camp. It should be noted that it is never wise to for a recruit to display that they knew the knowledge before they have arrived from boot camp, as it seems to Drill Instructor that the recruit is trying to work the system; this makes the recruit stand out, and it is never good for a Drill Instructor to know any recruits name.

Knowledge that a recruit should know before they arrive at boot camp includes:

•General orders

•Marine Corps history

•Current Marine Corps events

•Commandant of the Marine Corps name (as of 2015, it is Joseph F. Dunford).

•Name of all the ranks in the Marine Corps and Navy

•Marine Corps acronyms

•Marine Corps and Navy terminology

•Marine Corps leadership traits

•Marine Corps leadership principles

•Marine Corps core values (honor, courage, and commitment)

•Marine Corps Hymn

•Rifleman’s Creed

•Code of conduct (for war)

If a recruit learns this list of knowledge, they will be better off when Drill Instructors test them, and for the written exam that is given. Also, if a recruit understand going in knowing that Marine Corps boot camp is designed as a mental game to get rid of the mentally weak, the greater the chance that that recruit will graduate and become a Marine. In addition, if a recruit arrives at boot camp physically fit, the less likely a Drill Instructor will haze a recruit for not coming to boot camp as a “fat body”, a term Drill Instructor love to say. Lastly, if an individual graduates Marine Corps boot camp, they will join a brotherhood and sisterhood of thousands of current Marines as well as the Marines who came before; it truly is worth the 12 weeks and five days of the physical and mental abuse which is Marine Corps boot camp.


Goldish, M., & Pushies, F. (2011). Marine Corps: Civilian to Marine. New York, N.Y.: Bearport Publishing.

Turley, P. (2012). Welcome to Hell: Marine Corps Boot Camp. Palisades, NY: Chronology Books.


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    • ronbergeron profile image

      Ron Bergeron 

      3 years ago from Massachusetts, US

      Good HUB, Alli. It brings back memories.

      I highly recommend knowing as much of the "knowledge" as possible before reporting for duty at MCRD (Marine Corps Recruit Depot). That will free up your mind to deal with everything else that will be happening to you. Much of the information (General Orders, Rifleman's Creed, ranks, terminology, etc.) is readily available on-line. Be prepared.

      As getitrite says, knowing how to swim is a big plus. After all, the word "Marine" implies "water".

      Also, keep in mind that the purpose of boot camp is to weed out the people who aren't suitable and to get everyone else mentally and physically ready to meet the challenges you'll face during the rest of your time, whether that's one enlistment or an entire career. The drill instructors will put you under a lot of physical and mental pressure to make sure you can handle it. If you keep that in mind and don't take anything said to (or about) you too personally, you'll be better off.

      I reported to Parris Island at the end of August of 1982. The first week or two were quite a shock. To this day, I consider the whole experience to have been well worth it.

    • getitrite profile image


      3 years ago

      Its also a good idea to learn how to swim(if one doesn't know how) before entering boot camp as well. When I was at Parris Island, they just threw all the non swimmers in until they either learned or damn near drowned.

      And if a potential recruit knows the names of the President, Vice President, and Secretary of Defense, he will only have to learn the rest of the chain of command when he gets to boot camp. Semper Fi

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Sounds like a physical challenge to the extreme.

      Great insight.


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