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Receiving Company: Transforming civilians into recruits Sgt. Whitney N. Frasier

A recruit receives his first military haircut after arriving to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. Shaving off all the recruits' hair is a way to establish uniformity among the crowd.

SAN DIEGO - Leaving for recruit training can be an exciting time for many, but arriving at the depot may not be what they expected.

It’s dark outside and their heads are looking down at their legs. Chances are, all they are thinking about on the drive from the airport to the base is what is going to happen next. Although the trip is only a few minutes long, the anxiety may have created those few minutes into an eternity. That eternity will turn into 90 days of a rigorous training cycle. It all starts at Receiving Company. The bus came to a complete stop and a drill instructor wasted no time boarding.

Screaming at the top of his lungs, he gave them their first taste of what they will experience for their stay at the depot.

Staff Sgt. Justin L. Hansen, chief drill instructor, Receiving Company, Support Battalion, explained that the receiving process can be a complete shock to the civilians who put their feet on the yellow footprints every week.

“Their recruiters did their jobs to get the recruits here,” said Hansen. “They are accustomed to doing what they want as opposed to doing what they are told, but 99 percent of them had no idea what they were getting in to. Receiving is one of the scariest parts of recruit training.”

The question remains as to what actually happens at receiving, the few days before training begins. According to Hansen the answer is simple really, turning civilians into recruits.

“We process the civilians here straight from the airport,” said Hansen. “Once they arrive, they are immediately given a basic position of attention class [on the yellow footprints], then they are given a quick brief on articles that fall under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”

The process on the yellow footprints only lasts mere minutes before they are rushed into the contraband room.

“In the contraband room they are instructed to empty their pockets and go through their belongings to get rid of the items they won’t need while in recruit training,” said Sgt. Cory Marcus, senior drill instructor, Receiving Company, Support Bn. “From there they are moved to the phones to make a phone call home to let someone know they arrived safely.”

Marcus explained that they are instructed to read from a script and then they are sent to get haircuts. Once they go through clothing issue and change, all of their civilian items are stored. This is done to practice uniformity and put everyone on the same level.

“The recruits won’t actually sleep for 24 hours after their arrival here, approximately 8 p.m. the next day,” said Hansen. “We do that to get them on the same level of stress and fatigued that most have never experienced in their entire life.”

As the night goes on it turns into day. Some recruits may not even notice the sun has come up as they are pushed through the rest of the receiving process.

“During the day the recruits will go through medical and dental,” said Hansen, 28, Montague, Mich. “They also get their clothing issue and then they have a moment of truth.”

Hansen explained that the moment of truth gives the recruits a chance to fess up about anything they failed to tell their recruiter. Depending on the issue, they could be processed out of the Marine Corps before ever making it to training.

The rest of the week is spent preparing for pick-up, or commonly known as “Black Friday,” when they will finally meet the drill instructors who will guide them on their journey to becoming United States Marines.


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Public Domain Mark
This work, Receiving Company: Transforming civilians into recruits, by Sgt Whitney N. Frasier, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:01.20.2012

Date Posted:01.20.2012 14:37

Location:SAN DIEGO, CA, USGlobe

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