Recruits battle their way to become Marines

Recruits battle their way to become Marines

Recruits of Company E, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, set up watch as their fellow recruits make their way across the Two Line Bridge during the Confidence Course at Edson Range aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. Nov. 5. Recruits found that teamwork is critical during the many challenges of the Confidence Course. Small unit leadership is utilized as recruits are broken down into groups of four and sent out to complete each obstacle in the course. Photo by LCpl Jericho W. Crutcher.

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (Nov. 15, 2013) - Exhaustion set in on recruits of Company E, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, as they fought their way through the Confidence Course during their Crucible at Edson Range, Nov. 5.

The Crucible is a 54-hour test of endurance in which recruits must conquer more than 30 different obstacles while they experience food and sleep deprivation.

Recruits found that teamwork was critical during the many challenges of the Confidence Course. Small unit leadership was utilized as recruits were broken down into groups of four and sent out to complete each obstacle the course had to offer

"The Crucible's Confidence Course emphasizes the recruits ability to negotiate obstacles that simulate a combat environment," said SSgt Shawn M. Stallings, senior drill instructor, Platoon 2101. "The Crucible helps tie in the field training skills and tactical skills while allowing the recruits to be small unit leaders and utilize teamwork."

Recruits had to perform buddy drags which simulated an evacuation of an injured person. After buddy drags, recruits fireman carried their fellow recruits to a safety point.

While the course is similar to the one at the depot, the Crucible Confidence Course requires recruits to rely solely on each other to make it through each obstacle rather than having a drill instructor walk them through it. Drill instructors briefed their recruits on the course and then sent them out to allow them to overcome it on their own.

During the course, recruits low and high crawled with their fire team carrying a combat load with them. Once recruits crawled to the ending point, waiting on them was an ammunition can run that was also done as a fire team. They sprinted around a set-up trail with the 35 lbs ammunition cans to the end of the trail where recruits then threw a simulated grenade at a target.

The Two Line Bridge consisted of recruits working in pairs to walk across a rope to move gear from one side of the bridge to the other. While a pair of recruits make their way across the bridge, the rest of the fire team stood watch to keep an eye out for enemy movement.

"Teamwork and confidence helped us get past each challenge we faced during the Crucible Confidence Course," said Recruit Justice D. Parker, Platoon 2101. "Everything during the course simulated combat situations, such as having to get all of our gear across the Two Line Bridge while others stood watch for the recruits coming across the bridge, and we used what we've learned during recruit training to complete each obstacle we faced."

Another obstacle was the Skyscraper; it is a three-story obstacle recruits climbed with their combat load and M16 A-4 service rifle. Recruits make it up the obstacle by reaching out a helping hand to their fellow recruits and pulling them up to the next story of the obstacle. Once they reached the top they had to climb down a cargo net on the back side of the obstacle.

Eighteen-year old Parker, a Chicago native, explained that there was one goal in his mind and that's mission accomplishment, so he did as the Marines did before him and that's complete the mission even when his body was weak and tired from buddy drags, ammunition can lifts and all the other hardship challenges recruits went through together during the Crucible Confidence Course, explained 18-year-old Parker, a Chicago, Ill. native.

Next, the Stairway to Heaven stood approximately 50-feet tall towering over recruits as they started their way up the obstacle. Recruits went up and over the obstacle in pairs staying in cadences with each other.

Stallings, a 27-year old Houston native, explained the Crucible Confidence Course brought it all together for the recruits of Co. E, because recruits had to rely on their fellow recruits to meet the mission time line and share hardship together as they did it.

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