Where Real Marines Are Made
(January 6, 2011)
|Marines. The few. The proud.|
Way more than a slogan, it truly is a way of life. Many
mistake the pride that accompanies earning the title
“Marine” with arrogance or an inflated ego too big to
restrain when tossed into a room with other service members.
They may be right, but I say this; it's all in the training.
The Corps' training instills in
Marines the confidence that we can accomplish any and
every task given to us; we are trained to believe and know
that we are the best; we are trained longer, and arguably
harder, than any other branch of military service.
Enlisted Marines are trained at one of two recruit training
depots in the United States: Marine Corps Recruit Depot,
Parris Island or Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego. Both
depots are identical when it comes to training schedules and
yet, ask any Marine where they were made and that's when you
will see the true pride and arrogance of a Marine come to
It becomes a battle of East versus West. Parris Island
Marines will argue that having the luxury of training next
to an airport and traveling between MCRD San Diego to
Pendleton is laughable and that the reaper mountain is
nothing more than a glorified trail hike. Not my opinion,
just what I've been told. San Diego Marines lash back that
whining about sand fleas is childish and that training on a
flat, tiny island is no match for the hills and real-Marine
infantry courses in California's coastal mountains.
So what's the real deal? Who has it harder? Is there a
Let's look at the facts. MCRD Parris Island trains recruits
that hail east of the Mississippi River and those from
Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as well as female
recruits. There are four recruit training battalions, 1st –
4th; the last of which is all-female. In the summer it's
much hotter than the average 92-degree temperature because
of the 96 percent humidity that comes with being located in
a salt-water marshland. Winter temperatures stay in the mid
to low 50s, although the humidity still rarely dips below 71
Despite the elements, There are close to 600 drill
instructors conducting training at any given time on the
island, graduating a little less than 17,000 Marines per
year; with a male attrition rate of fewer than 7 percent and
female attrition rate of fewer than 17 percent, give or
MCRD San Diego
Males west of the Mississippi river attend training at MCRD
San Diego. There are three all-male training battalions. The
west coast depot's average 73-degree summer temperature is
cooler than its east coast counterpart, with winter temps
roughly the same. Training occurs on the depot as well as
the terrain of Camp Pendleton where forced marches up and
over hills taller than
Mount Suribachi test recruits' mettle.
In the west, there are roughly 500 drill instructors who
conduct training, graduating 20,000 + recruits per year with
an attrition rate of fewer than 10 percent.
The West coast does more with less. The East coast has its
weather-related misery and unrelenting bugs. But, no matter
how you slice it, the end result is the same: Marine.
We all claim our titles, no matter where we are “made” and
proudly stand shoulder to shoulder and say, believe and
know: we are the best of the best. The few. The proud.
Semper Fi brothers and sisters.
By USMC Sgt. Kuande Hall|
Parris Island, 3rd Battalion, India Co.
Marine Corps News
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