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Marine Boot Camp Teaches Recruits to 'Do the Right Thing'

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10, 2004 – Marines who routinely practice self-discipline are the desired result of 12 weeks of arduous training, explained a Marine drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.

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A drill instructor welcomes a new batch of recruits to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C. Marine Corps photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Tough training on parade fields and rifle ranges, in swimming pools and in bivouac sites molds Marine recruits into the world's best and most flexible infantry, Staff Sgt. Matthew M. James noted.

Boot camp also instills in recruits the desire to "do the right thing" with or without supervision, the drill instructor explained.

"That's where the self-discipline comes in," James observed, noting that although boot camp "is definitely a rigidly structured environment," postings throughout most of the rest of the Marine Corps are much less regimented.

Recruits have earned the right to call themselves Marines after graduating from boot camp, James said. Yet, truly successful Marines, he emphasized, are those who stay true to Corps' teachings and traditions for the rest of their lives.

James said he stresses the importance of individual responsibility to his recruits, challenging them with questions like, "Are you going to be disciplined when I'm not around you?"

Drill instructors work long hours to mold recruits into Marines, James noted. But, seeing the joyous faces of new Marines and parents on graduation day "makes it all worth it," he said. "It makes you want to do another (training) cycle."

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Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.
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