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Company F recruits train for Crucible with depot sustainment hike

US Marine Corps News

7/11/2008 By Cpl. Robert W. Beaver, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO — While depot personnel slept in a few hours extra on the weekend to recover from the busy work week, Company F recruits were geared up and ready to train.

Wearing 30-pound packs and armed with their M16A2 service rifles, Co. F recruits pounded almost six miles of cement around the historical grounds of the depot during a sustainment hike June 21.

Undoubtedly, this hike has been the easiest so far in boot camp. The depot hike, which was their third hike during training, took Co. F recruits on a journey across flat terrain while equipped with light gear.

The first two hikes were held at Edson Range, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., on more challenging terrain. Since then, Co. F recruits finished field training and returned to the depot to begin the final phase of recruit training.

However, they needed to stay in shape for one of their final challenges.

According to 1st Sgt. John Calhoon, company first sergeant, Co. F, the purpose of the sustainment hike was to help the recruits maintain physical conditioning for the upcoming Crucible at Edson Range.

“The hike was also easy compared to (Edson Range) because our packs were lighter,” said Recruit Jason Hile, Platoon 2129. “Seeing civilian life for the first time in two-and-a-half months was also motivating.”

During the Crucible, Co. F recruits will march nearly 40 miles across hilly mountainous terrain within a 54-hour training period. Upon finishing the final hike on the Reaper, the final and steepest hill of the Crucible, Co. F recruits received their eagle, globe and anchor, and the title, United States Marine.

“Sustainment is important for anything recruits do,” said Calhoon. “It keeps their bodies prepared for challenges ahead, like our final hike.”

Company F recruits geared up near their squad bays and began their journey shortly after sunrise. They marched to the depot physical training field in a two-column formation that spanned six platoons.

“Hikes are mostly mental, but they do prepare our endurance,” said Recruit Connor Modiena, Platoon 2129. “Although this wasn’t my first hike, it was the first time I saw some parts of the depot.”

The recruits walked along the depot’s northern fence line to the commanding general’s home, Quarters One. The formation then looped past the Arcade (the Spanish Colonial arches along Shepherd Memorial Drill Field), to McDougal Hall. While the recruits hiked, they recited the Marine Corps knowledge they are required to memorize to graduate.

After Co. F recruits graduate from boot camp today, they will go on longer hikes during their Marine Corps careers. Sustainment training in boot camp builds off basic skills and hones them, making Co. F Marines more capable of challenges that lay ahead.

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