Aspiring Marines experience recruit training challenges at mini boot camp

29 Apr 2013 | Staff Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook 9th Marine Corps District

Hundreds of Marine enthusiasts and members of Delayed Entry Program spent three days in Northern Minnesota for Recruiting Station Twin Cities’ annual mini boot camp April 26-28.

Nearly 100 recruiters from four states bused 663 high school and college students to Camp Ripley, Minn., to experience some of the challenges associated with recruit training.

“It’s about weeding out the mentally weak,” said Sgt. Maj. Sean P. Cox, 40, from Hoffman Estates, Ill. “We want to motivate the individuals who are about to leave and identify those not entirely committed to be a Marine by exposing the mental and physical stresses they’ll encounter.”

Five drill instructors greeted mini boot camp participants to help facilitate the command’s intent of shock and awe.

“It’s controlled chaos,” explained Staff Sgt. Michael Riggs, an instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego’s Drill Instructor School. “You set the tone for your platoon’s success in those first couple of hours. A few people might have been able to slip by us this weekend and miss out on that extra attention, but that won’t happen on the depot.”

Dozens of recent boot camp graduates also attended the event to prepare aspiring Marines for the trials ahead.

“I was scared out of my mind at my first mini boot camp,” said Pfc. Anna K. Albrecht, 18, from Burnsville, Minn. “No one wants to receive special attention from a drill instructor.” Albrecht, a 2012 Lakeville South High School graduate, also said she was eager to return to Minnesota and help mentor the next generation of Marines.  

“There were times when I saw that spark of motivation after someone thought about giving up,” she said. “They could’ve quit, but we were able to help them reach their objective.”

Noteworthy events during the training evolution included an initial strength test, knowledge test, combat fitness test, and a leadership reaction course.

“The obstacles they encountered were designed from actual missions and operations,” said Cox. “In today’s environment, every Marine needs to possess a strong critical thinking capability.”

This year’s mini boot camp concluded with a five-mile hike and an awards ceremony, which recognized 14 individuals with a Gung-Ho certificate.

“There’s a saying we have in the Marines,” explained Program Specialist Staff Sgt. Joseph Dombrovski. “’Proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance.’ That’s why we set this up every year, because if we don’t prepare our poolees to exceed the basic requirements then we set them up for failure.”

For imagery from the event, visit
9th Marine Corps District