MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT- Around 20,000 recruits come through Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego every year. Typically there are about 500 from Arizona, about 25 are from Yuma.
Kristian Garcia is one of them, and describes his first experience at Boot Camp as terrifying.
“It’s immediately a culture shock,” he says. “[The Drill Instructors] immediately come on the bus and start yelling. At that moment you realize this is real.”
The very first night recruits get off the bus, are searched and get one final phone call home. They arrive to MCRD on Monday night they will not sleep until Tuesday.
“Your firs thought is, ‘Why did I think this was a good idea?” Sergeant Raquel Barraza says.
These future marines then have their heads shaved.
Staff Sergeant Luis Esparza is a drill instructor and says his job is more than just the screaming.
“It’s pretty obvious when a recruit gets pushed to far,” he says. “The drill instructor plays a key pivotal role because without that stress they won’t be able to perform in combat.”
During Phase One of Boot Camp these future Marines also prepare for the battled field by learning martial arts and hand to hand combat. Their training also takes them to the pool. The Marine Corps works closely with the navy so learning how to maneuver in the water is vitally important.
There’s an entire week dedicated to aquatics. However nearly all Marines pass the required Combat Water Survival Course.
Following Swim week recruits have seven more weeks of Boot Camp to go.