One recruit, one rifle

One recruit, one rifle

An armorer confirms the M-16 A-4 service rifle serial number matches the one on the information card before handing it to a recruit from Company D, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego June 17. Photo by Sgt Liz Gleason.

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO (July 3, 2013) - During their first week aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, recruits are issued essential items they will need throughout recruit training. They receive everything from toiletries to uniforms, however the most valuable item they are issued is the M-16 A4 service rifle.

Recruits of Company H, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, spent the morning at the armory aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego June 18.

"Today we came to the armory and got our M-16 A4 service rifle checked out to us," said Recruit Alex Bautista, Platoon 2173. "It's what I've been looking forward to the most so far in training."

The M-16 A4 service rifle is used Marine Corps wide, it is a light weight, magazine fed, gas operated, air cooled, shoulder fired weapon.

"Having a rifle with them throughout training not only teaches them the importance of the weapon; it also instills responsibility and accountability," said Sgt Bo Kim, drill instructor, Platoon 2174. "They are responsible for the serialized rifle they signed for, they must have it with them at all times or know where it is at all times."

The service rifle is also an essential part of drill, which instills discipline, team work and esprit de corps.

Although at this point the recruits of Co. H don't realize it, they are building a foundation and setting habits that will help them throughout recruit training and their careers in the Marine Corps. That is why it's pertinent that they are taught the proper handling, care and marksmanship techniques early on in training, according to Kim.

After they received their rifles and cleaning kits, they were taught how to break down and properly clean their weapon. This was the first of many lessons to come pertaining to the service rifle.

"Some important things to remember when handling your rifle are keep the muzzle face up, don't point it at anyone, and don't drop it," said Bautista. "Also keep it clean, well lubricated and pretty. Also give it a good name because it's your partner, my rifles name is Jessica."

Bautista, who started shooting at the age of nine, is looking forward to learning about the M-16 A-4 service rifle and how to shoot it.

"I think that my experience will help me when it comes to accuracy however when it comes to form, it might be a little harder for me to get used to the Marine Corps' way of doing things," said Bautista. "Nonetheless, it's always good to learn new things."

Recruits will continue to gain knowledge as they progress through training and on Training Day 24 they will head to Edson Range aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton Calif. where they will be taught in depth about Marine Corps Marksmanship. While at Edson Range they will also get to shoot and qualify with the service rifle. is the official website of the United States Marine Corps and is maintained by the Marine Corps' Division of Public Affairs.