Photo Information

Donald E. Pittman, 20, from Marshal, Minn., low crawls under wires while running through an obstacle course during the Recruiting Station Twin Cities mini boot camp May 7. Pittman, a Southwest Star Concept 2009 graduate who ships off to boot camp Dec. 12, was recruited out of the St. Cloud office by Sgt. Kirk P. Ryan. For additional imagery from the event, visit

Photo by Staff Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook

Motivation soars as Midwest Marine applicants overcome obstacles at mini boot camp

11 May 2011 | 9th Marine Corps District

Editor’s note: This is the second article of a three-part series on the Recruiting Station Twin Cities mini boot camp.

Day two of the Recruiting Station Twin Cities mini boot camp kicked off drill-instructor style with four of San Diego's finest politely delivering a 5 a.m., wake-up call May 7.

Following a short physical training session and morning feast of Meals, Ready-to-Eat, 618 high school and college students from the Midwest set out to continue their three-day training evolution with a combat fitness test, martial arts and numerous other Corps-related activities. However, for many participants, the highlight of the day involved completing an obstacle course.

"It was a great team building exercise," said Tyler Mees, an 18-year-old senior at Century High School in Bismarck, N.D. "It wasn't the toughest event, but we all had to motivate each other to get through it and cross the finish line together."

Mees, who ships off to San Diego June 13, also said going through mini boot camp last year helped him decide that earning the title Marine is what he wanted to do.  

"The purpose of mini boot camp is two-fold," explained Gunnery Sgt. Matt Taylor, RS Twin Cities' program specialist. "One, give poolees and guests an idea of what they'll experience at recruit training. The second, evaluate our pool to determine if they're the best qualified applicants. We don’t want to send someone to San Diego or Parris Island who isn't ready or won't make it."

By day two, only three out of 621 people opted to stop training and called their parents to come pick them up.  

"Some people just don't have what it takes," said Taylor, a 36-year-old Springfield, Mo., native. "We're the elite fighting force of the Unites States military and not everybody fits that mold." 

Click here to read the first article of the series. Additional imagery from the event can also be found at

9th Marine Corps District