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American Forces Press Service

Marine Entry-Level Training to Go 'Back to Basics,' General Says

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 3, 2007 – Marine entry-level training will reinvigorate its values-based approach, a top Marine official said here yesterday.

At both Marine Corps Recruitment Depots -- in Parris Island, S.C., and San Diego -- senior drill instructors will hold “footlocker classes” with enlistees to strengthen the mentor-scholar relationship, Marine Maj. Gen. George J. Flynn, the commanding general of the Corps’ Training and Education Command, told reporters at the Pentagon.

“The senior drill instructors will have their troops literally sit on the footlockers and will have that father-son, mother-daughter talk that really instills those values,” he said. “That’s where a lot of the values get reinforced and introduced to the recruits.”

Discussion topics will depend on when the sessions occur during boot camp, and Flynn said talks could range from what new recruits might experience when first arriving to a unit and what leadership they can expect, to financial advice and how young Marines should behave during leave. Senior drill instructors soon will receive a guide on how to approach these footlocker sessions, he added.

Flynn said Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James T. Conway spurred the re-examination of entry-level training. “This stemmed from his belief that the transformation from civilian to Marine is a national treasure and one that we must preserve and guard,” he said.

In addition, the Corps is considering an additional week of infantry training for both infantry and noninfantry Marines, which would likely include crew-served weapons training, plus convoy and counter-improvised-explosive-device training.

In about a month, officials at Marine Manpower and Reserve Affairs should render their judgment on whether the additional week is feasible. “All these things would provide a better-trained Marine to the operating forces,” Flynn said.

The general also announced a scheduling change to the 12-week Marine boot camp, involving the 54-hour endurance exercise Marines call “The Crucible.” In May, recruits at Parris Island will undergo the crucible in week 11, instead of week 10, and in October the crucible exercise in San Diego will move from week eight to week 11.

“We want to make The Crucible the true culminating event that it was originally designed to be,” he said. “At the end of this 54-hour event, you will be recognized as earning the right to be called a United States Marine.”

The 12th and final week of training will be called “Marine Week,” Flynn said.

“It’s a transition from going to a very restrictive environment to learning about how you are going to function in the Marines when you reach the operating forces,” he said. “You’re going to get accustomed to the leadership that you’re going to experience out in the fleet and also understand the role of (noncommissioned officers) and staff NCOs other than being drill instructors.”

Borrowing a quote from former Marine Commandant Lt. Gen. John A. Lejeune, Flynn said, “An individual should be better off for their service.”

“And that’s really what this is all about,” he said. “It’s a recommitment.”

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