U.S. Marines and members of the delayed entry program, referred to as poolees, ran an initial strength test at a track across from Recruiting Station Indianapolis Sept. 17. The Marines and poolees were also accompanied by two drill instructors from Marine Corps Recruit Depots Parris Island, S.C., and San Diego to demonstrate what life will be like as Marine recruits.
“I study really hard and try to be the best that I can to prepare for bootcamp,” said Sierra Johnson, poolee, Recruiting Sub-station South East Indianapolis, Recruiting Station Indianapolis.
During their initial strength test the poolees ran a mile and a half, executed crunches in a 2 minute timeframe and executed pull-ups (males) or a flexed-arm hang (females). While the poolees conducted their exercises, the drill instructors ran up and down the rows of people and provided them with the proper motivation to try harder and go faster creating a blur of bodies and sounds of chaos.
“My job is to instill and teach discipline,” said Staff Sgt. Kristy Shaffer, drill instructor, Company P, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, MCRD Parris Island, S.C. “I am trying to teach them the basics of discipline here so that they have an idea of what to expect when they [poolees] get to recruit training.”
The drill instructors had to change their tactics when dealing with the group because they could not treat the poolees the same as they would treat recruits on the depots. To compensate for this the D.I.s used their voice and body language instead of having the poolees perform incentive training. Incentive training is a series of exercises performed one after the other as quickly as possible.
“It helps you be more effective as a drill instructor to use your voice and demeanor in order to get somebody to move, especially a civilian,” said Shaffer.
At the end of the day, the poolees were given time with the drill instructors to answer questions and to get an idea of what recruit living will be like during recruit training. The questions ranged from what a typical day would be like to if a female has to cut her hair when arriving to MCRD Parris Island.
“I think it gives them an eye-opener of what to expect [because] a lot of them only have in their head what they have seen in T.V. and in the movies,” said Shaffer. “It’s a totally different experience and it’s good because it gives that one-on-one interaction with the drill instructor.”
At the end of the day some people stayed behind to speak to the Marines and drill instructors to get as much information as they could about life as a Marine.
“I am trying to be mentally prepared and not to take the yelling personally,” said Johnson, “It was scary, but I had to think that it is their [drill instructors] job.”