Co. I recruits experience first Marine Corps inspection

Co. I recruits experience first Marine Corps inspection

SSgt Jason R. Lansdon, Company I, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, inspects a recruit during senior drill instructor inspection aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego March 1. Senior drill instructor inspection is the first inspection recruit undergo during recruit training. Photo by LCpl Pedro Cardenas.

MARINE CORPS RECRUITING DEPOT SAN DIEGO (MARCH 7, 2013)­–Recruits stood tall in formation at the position of attention. Their backs straight and their hands by their trouser seams while holding their rifle next to them. Their uniforms are pressed and clean and while they stand stiff, ready for inspection. Their eyes were fixed as they patiently wait to be inspected by their drill instructor.

Recruits of Company I, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, were evaluated during a training requirement known as the Senior Drill Instructor inspection aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego Feb. 22.

For the past few weeks, recruits learned a lot of information and this is the first test where they must demonstrate what they have learned. Inspection begins when a drill instructor stands in front of them. Recruits begin performing "inspection arms," a drill movement requiring recruits to inspect the chamber of their weapon to ensure it's clear of ammunition and safe for handling. Then, the drill instructor grabs the rifle and thoroughly inspects it for cleanliness. 

After inspecting the weapon, drill instructors begin to ask recruits various questions on Marine knowledge. Drill instructors look for the recruits to have bearing, discipline and confidence while answering each question. Finally, drill instructors inspect uniforms to make sure recruits know how to follow Marine Corps regulations.

During inspection recruits are graded on personal appearance, hygiene, weapon cleanliness and Marine Corps knowledge. Attention to detail is learned early in Recruit Training to give recruits a baseline for what gear inspections will be like during combat operations.

"Inspections are used to show what the platoon has learned, check uniforms, discipline and to get the recruits familiar with weapons maintenance and handling," said SSgt Jason R. Lansdon, Plt. 3206, Co. I, 3rd RTBn. "Recruits worked for multiple hours on uniform preparation and weapons maintenance to get ready for this inspection."

Marines are expected to be attentive to detail whether it be having a presentable uniform to or properly–functioning gear during combat operations inspections. Thus, practice is one reason for performing inspections early on training.

"Inspections are to show that we have learned something and that our drill instructors are doing their jobs," said Recruit Nathan S. Trefethen, Plt. 3205, Co. I, RTBn. "This inspection will help us become more disciplined. It will also give us a great experience to carry over to other future inspections."

During Recruit Training perfection is demanded of recruits. However, since perfection is impossible, recruits always have room for improvement. Some go the extra mile to stand out among the rest.

"I take time out of my sleep to prepare. I practice drill movements and study military knowledge," said Trefenthen, a Sacramento, Calif., native. "There are things we could improve on such as knowledge and drill."

As with anything, performance will only improve through practice. With senior drill instructor inspection now complete, recruits of Co. I still have a long road of challenges ahead of them in Recruit Training. Attention to detail is not only expectation any more, but it is demanded. However, recruits will have their drill instructors to help them earn the title of United States Marines.

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