Final Drill inspires pride in recruits

Final Drill inspires pride in recruits

Recruit Andrew K. Roelle, guide, Platoon 1070, Company D, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, leads his fellow platoon members during Final Drill aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Aug. 7.

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO (Aug. 28, 2013) - Recruits of Company D, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, marched in formation for their Final Drill competition aboard the Depot, Aug. 12.

Prior to stepping on the parade deck to perform an array of drill movements, drill instructors verbally reviewed commands and movements with their recruits to remind them of what to expect.

Each platoon in the company is evaluated separately. After all the platoons are graded on a 100 point system, the platoon with the highest score wins the competition.

Both recruits and their drill instructor are graded on 25 different drill moves during the competition, such as left and right oblique, by the left and right flank and the way they fall into formation.

In order to prepare recruits for this demanding competition, drill instructors begin teaching the fundamentals of drill as soon as their recruits step on the yellow foot prints.

"From day one, we drill," said Sgt Frank Cruz Jr., senior drill instructor, Plt. 1070. "All together, we probably do more than 1,000 hours of drill training (during the span of 13 weeks)."

When it was time for Cruz's platoon to drill, Cruz marched his platoon with loud, firm commands. Although it may have appeared Cruz had done the competitions many times before, this was his first time.

"The platoon's performance was pretty good. They looked good from the front," said Cruz. "We've come a long way."

Cruz explained he tried to inspire and motivate his recruits, prior to the competition, with drill videos and war stories. Winning the competition is the goal for every recruit and drill instructor. Regardless of a win or loss, all recruits take away valuable experiences.

"I really hope we won because it would mean a lot to our senior drill instructor (Cruz) and our platoon," said Recruit Christopher J.L. Estrada, Plt. 1070. "There is a sense of pride knowing we left everything we had out there and improved our discipline."

For some recruits completing Final Drill was more rewarding because of the drastic improvement of their drill capabilities.

"I was awful at drill when I first started," said Estrada. "I couldn't get any of the moves right. But everyone in the platoon helped me and (Cruz) pulled me aside to break down the moves. That helped a lot. I felt pretty confident during Final Drill and I didn't mess up. That was my goal."

Although only one platoon walked away with the honor of winning Final Drill, each recruit and drill instructor of Co. D displayed precision attention to detail and discipline in learning. is the official website of the United States Marine Corps and is maintained by the Marine Corps' Division of Public Affairs.