CAMP DODGE, Iowa --
Nearly 200 young men and women from the upper Midwest attended Recruiting Station Des Moines’ All-Hands Future Marine function, June 6-7, at Camp Dodge, Iowa, to prepare for recruit training.
The future Marines, commonly known as poolees, traveled from Nebraska, South Dakota, Illinois, Wisconsin and across Iowa to take part in team building and physical training events they will experience at either Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., or MCRD San Diego, Calif.
During the all-hands function, each of the 10 recruiting substations, or RSS, competed against one another in events such as log runs, where Marines and their poolees donned flak jackets and Kevlar helmets and raced against other teams while holding a log. Other events were more individual-based such as the initial strength test, or IST, which is a shortened version of the Marine Corps physical fitness test.
The day began, however, with a taste of recruit training where drill instructors from both MCRDs “introduced” themselves.
Henley Dean, a poolee from Lincoln, Nebraska, has proven herself by becoming the RSS’s poolee leader.
“Being a Marine means to be able to push yourself and your peers beyond your perceived limits and really be the best person you can be and in the end if not you then who?” said Dean.
Major Brian Blaine, the RS Des Moines commanding officer, said these types of events are intended get the poolees in the right mindset before they leave.
“The purpose of this thing is to help prepare them for recruit training. We’ll put them in positions where they are outside of their comfort zone,” said Maj. Brian Blaine, the RS Des Moines commanding officer. “It also builds some comradery amongst the recruiters and recruiting force because they all get to get together as a team and work together amongst their RSSs and lay it all on the line.”
Poolees took part in guided discussions and learned basic drill movements. The goal for all attending was to take home the award for best RSS by competing in the field meet.
The overall winner was RSS Quad Cities.
Staff Sergeant Dale Airoldi, a drill instructor with 1st Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, MCRD San Diego, stated their mission was to prepare these young men and women for the rigors of recruit training.
“Our role today in the event is just to motivate the poolees and to give them a taste of what they will go through upon arriving at MCRD,” said Airoldi. “This was about introducing them to the Marine Corps and to let them know exactly what they’re getting into once they arrive.
The all-hands Pool Function and competition held on Camp Dodge has been an annual event for the last 4 years. The rivalry between the stations creates an environment where intense motivation and physically demanding activities helps mold these men and women into the next United States Marines.