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How to get through Marine corps boot camp

Updated on February 20, 2014


Why I know

I've been in the Marine Corps for a little over two and a half years now so I'm speaking from experience. I've had so many people from my hometown or just people I know that wanted to join the marines ask me how boot camp is and how hard it is. Here is a little advice that I think will help you understand what boot camp will be like.

What you need to here from me!

Ok here’s probably the most important thing you will need to know about what to expect from boot camp. Anything else after this is just good advice for the little things. You ARE going to get yelled at yes but it’s not as bad as it looks on TV or anything. Everyone goes in thinking it is going to be the hardest thing in the world but honestly it’s not. Really they just mess with your head. When I went through boot camp I thought for sure I was going to get ran to the dirt but it really wasn’t all that physical. I mean I'm a pretty fit guy but even if I wasn’t there were guys in with me that were in far less of shape than me. It's really the mental part of it. Not being able to talk to your family and friends for three months is pretty hard on some people. It's not the easiest thing to go from seeing whoever you want to being with a bunch of people you've never seen before and having to live with them and only them. That was probably one of the hardest things for me considering I was a "Social Butterfly" as my mom likes to call me. The other factor that really gets to people is the fact that they have to do exactly what someone says down to the "T" without back talking or asking why. No other job in the world can treat you like the Marine Corps so yea it's a little tough to get used too. All in all if you want to get through you will get through. You'll get to boot camp all nervous and scared and before you know it you’ll be on your way home a marine and you’ll look back and say "man where did the time go." You'll also notice that people will start asking you the same exact questions that I get like "how hard is it" or "Do they beat you up" and things like that. You can only think back and laugh when they ask you these questions because you'll remember that you were once there but now you understand. I personally thought boot camp was the easiest part of the Marine Corps because you always know exactly what to do. So don’t be scared, boot camp is just the beginning... wait for your first combat deployment it'll be a doozy if you’re afraid of boot camp.

Common Daily Bootcamp Schedual

Time         Activity             Description 

5:00AM     Wake-up          Wake up and perform personal morning tasks. For males, shaving is mandatory every morning.

5:10AM      Fall-in              Line up in company area, perform morning physical training (calisthenics and running).

6:30AM      Morning chow

8:30AM      Training           Begin the day's scheduled training exercises.

12:00PM     Noon chow

1:00PM       Training           Continue the day's scheduled training exercises.

5:00PM       Evening chow

6:00PM       Drill instructor time Time for drill instructors to talk to the recruits about any subject they may think requires attention. Mail call is also performed during this time.

8:30PM       Personal time Time for recruits to engage in personal activities, such as writing letters, working out, doing laundry, or shaving.
Recruits may also catch up on platoon duties during this time, such as barracks cleaning or boot shining.

9:30PM        Lights-out       Time for recruits to sleep.

Recent Update: 11/29/2012

Just doing this update to let you know how everything went. I am about 5 months out of the Marine Corps and finished my 5 year enlistment. In that 5 years I was NJP'd twice, went on 3 deployments, pick up a team leader billet and then a squad leader billot for a bit, and even left as a Cpl (E4). That's is a pretty good history for an infantry Marine or I like to think that. I had a lot of hard times and fun times and looking back on it I am glad I did it. No regrets except for maybe getting busted down in rank twice.


Recent Update 9/16/2013

Hey guys, I just wanted to stop in and update this a bit. I was recently asked by my brother's girlfriend if I could talk to her brother about what boot camp and the Marine Corps is like because he was about to leave for Paris Island. I called him up and we talked about a bunch of different things and I kept coming back to the fact that boot camp is a beast that changes all the time. From what I talked about with him I think the most valuable piece of advice I could give him was just don't look like your uncomfortable or exhausted and you will do great. Remember that drill instructors feed off weakness so if you show no emotion and just do it boot camp will feel a lot easier than if you let them know how it was effecting you. Pretty much just stone face it gents and before you know it you will be off having beers in some other country one a deployment. (That is if you get a non-combat deployment)

One more thing, if any of you reading this have already done boot camp I would love for some stories. Just write out your experience with boot camp and drop it in the comments box and I might add them to the hub. Thanks guys.

whats would you like to hear about next?

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© 2009 Chris


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      ISTs are 1.5 mile. Max pull-ups and crunches

    • cmlindblom profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from middletown, ct

      Okay, here is my tip to you. Infantry and all of combat arms is the most pride filled jobs you can do in the military. I was infantry and would not have wanted to do anything else even though I had a high test score. Do not worry about getting a job when you get out because the G.I. bill will pay for your school and pay you to go to school so you can still do whatever you want. Not many people I know get a job out of the Marines doing what they did in the Marines so do not base your MOS off of getting a job when you get out. The respect you will get from employers (as long as you serve honorably) will land you a job. Good luck!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I am currently 18 years old a senior in highschool im having problem passing my azvab my recruiter told me that I would have to sign up and take it at meps he also told me they can't tell you what your going to be able to do in the Marine corps I was wanting to go infantry but was worried about if I wanted to get out what could I do as a job? Also anytips on passing the azvab is much needed

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Hey , great info. Personally I've always wanted join join the Corp, especially since one of my family members served in it. I really appreciate it, and hope your still in good health. Semper Fi

    • cmlindblom profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from middletown, ct

      Thanks for the comments guys and good luck with signing up and boot p. Remember to make the best of it and don't just do what everyone else is doing. Yes, there it peer pressure in the military,

    • profile image

      Your Name 

      5 years ago

      To the Author: Thank you for your service and for sharing your experience. Thank you for updating how you're enlistment went...that's some real sh#t, I like how blunt you were about it

    • profile image

      Your Name 

      5 years ago

      They don't allow cell phones, lol.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      This is awesome! I am 15 and have always wanted to be in the marines partly because my dad was in it. Thanks for the information, I cant wait until I can sign up.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Boot camp in1964 was tough that's when I went thru corporal punishment was common. Pt wasconstantly applied for the slightest mistake.we ran with sand in our packs. Pushups on the grinder would raise blisters. They would get us up at midnite to run. No tennis shoes.we ran around camp mathews 8 miles in july. One recruit had a stroke. Our senior drill instructor was the proudest man iv ever met a korean war vet and nonhackers weren't getting by him into his marine corp. I got banned for life for saying these things. On I hear they are allowed cell phones in bootcamp now.

    • AlexDrinkH2O profile image


      5 years ago from Southern New England, USA

      I went through Army basic training at Ft. Gordon, GA back in 1966 - in those days they swore at you and hit you if they wanted to. (My Army basic was probably closer to the basic training depicted in "Full Metal Jacket" than Marine basic is today!) I wouldn't go through that again for love or money. You know what though? I'm glad I got through it and I'm proud of my service. Great hub. If you don't mind an ex-Army guy saying it, Semper Fi! (By the way, I saw what Marines were doing when I was in 'nam in '67 - you guys are awesome.)

    • cmlindblom profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from middletown, ct

      Yeah , I guess it has... but don't get me wrong we still got messed with on a constant basis. You would still be kept awake by fire watch getting quarter decked in the middle of the night and expect to push early in the morning. I was into that stuff though. oh, and remember with that hour of chow it includes start to finish. Falling out about 10 times before we were "fast enough", marching back and forth until we do it right, standing there until form for chow was done and then having time at the end to drill some more. It still turned out to be a very very short meal.

    • profile image

      been there 

      5 years ago

      apparently bootcamp has changed, it never used to be an hour of chow time we were lucky to get 2 min in, and 5 am wake up? really? we were up at 4 and even earlier training and getting messed with by the d.i's the physical part was a lot tougher than u have described sir, now it seems bootcamp is looking a lot like the army im very dissapointed.

    • sonnyhodgin profile image

      Sonny Hodgin 

      6 years ago from Indiana

      Good stuff here. Never been through enlisted boot camp, but have been through OCS. Semper fi

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Brendancart: i leave for boot camp in 2 weeks. when you sign up you become a "poolee" after MEPS. every month they have a physical test which is a watered down version of an IST. just be able to run 3 miles, do at least 60 situps and at least 5 pullups. for pullups and situps id recommend you strive to be above the minimum

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks so much for the information I was looking forward to joining the Marines I'm 16 and the main thing I was worried about was boot camp but this helped me a lot. I have a question when u get to boot camp right when you step offend bus what do they give you like supplies and what are some good workouts to get me in shape for boot camp like what type of exercise do you do at boot camp? Thanks so much for the help and thanks for defending my freedom.

    • Rufus rambles profile image

      Rufus rambles 

      6 years ago from Australia

      Great hub! My friend is training for the Australian special forces SAS selection course (an amazing feat to even consider it!). It sounds incredibly hard. Interestingly we recently discovered my great grandfather's World War one letters and at that time so many young men enthusiastically joined up. So many in fact that the military could be very selective when passing or failing men based on their medical examination. These days it seems few men are interested in joining up and would in no way be prepared to put themselves through such a selection course as you describe! Very interesting to read it from the American perspective. Voting this hub up!

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      I was in the navy 4 years and to this day I remember 2 things very clearly. The first is me saying to the woman next to me: What am I supposed to do? I've never done laundry before. Because of my own lack of a basic living skill, I made sure my own kids knew how to do laundry (and did their own) starting in middle school. Boy did my older son whine and complain! Until he went off to college. Then he realized the importance of this skill.

      The second thing I remember is me stressing out loud how I was never going to make it, it's hard, etc. And the woman next to me saying, "It's all a mind game. They want to know who can cut it and who can't." After that, it was a breeze. I decided I COULD cut it and I did.

      Good info here.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      boot camp!!!!!!!

    • starme77 profile image


      8 years ago

      Doesn't sound too bad - but I don't think its for- nice hubb though layed out nicley - easy on the eye - keep up the good work!


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