Recruits train to lead during the Crucible

Recruits train to lead during the Crucible

Rct Axe T. Buffington, Platton 1003, Alpha Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, balances himself on a chain bridge during the 12 Stalls event at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Aug. 27. The 12 Stalls event is a part of the Crucible, which is a 54-hour test of endurance where recruits must conquer more than 30 different obstacles while they experience food and sleep deprivation. During the Crucible, recruits utilize small unit leadership skills they've acquired throughout training. Photo by Cpl Tyler Viglione.

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (Sept. 5, 2014) - Marines of Alpha Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, used teamwork and dependability to complete the Leadership Reaction Course, or 12 Stalls, during the Crucible at Edson Range, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Aug. 27.

The Crucible is a 54-hour test of endurance where recruits must conquer more than 30 different obstacles while they experience food and sleep deprivation. During the Crucible, recruits utilize small unit leadership skills they've acquired throughout training.

"The recruits do the 12 Stalls event in the Crucible so they can learn how to work together as a team," said Sgt Ryan R. Ayers, field instructor, Field Company, Weapons and Field Training Battalion. "They learn how to utilize and create unit cohesion to accomplish the mission."

Before starting each event, recruits were given guidance regarding what they could and could not do to complete the task.

"Each mission has certain rules that make whatever the recruits have to do more difficult," said Ayers, a native of San Francisco. "It requires the recruits to think more and get creative with the equipment that they have."

Each stall had a specific set of instructions, but one rule that remained the same for all stalls is that no part of a recruit's body can touch red-colored parts of the obstacle. Touching any red simulated combat fatalities and in order to rejoin the team, the recruit had to run 100 yards with 30 pound ammunition cans.

At one stall, the recruits were required to extract a simulated casualty from an area only using a plank of wood. The portions painted in red made the recruits use precision and creativity to do it successfully.

"If we did not come together as a team, completing the tasks would not be possible," said Rct Joseph R. Campbell, Platoon 1002.

The strains of sleep and food depravation began to take a toll on the recruits.

"We don't get a lot of sleep, our bodies are tired, and we just want it to be over," said 18-year-old Campbell. "We keep getting mad at each other, which complicates things even more, but we can't let it get to us because we have made it this far and we are so close to being done."

Drill instructors, field instructors and the company commander watched from a platform to ensure recruits are applying the fundamentals of leadership for each mission and performing within safety regulations.

Although recruits of Alpha Company have completed the Leadership Reaction Course, they still have many events to complete before earning the title Marine.

"This is the only event in recruit training where recruits complete a mission as a fire team," said 24-year-old Ayers. "Since it is something different, it requires more from them, and in the end sets them up for success."

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