News: Company I recruits compete for honor platoon through initial drill
SAN DIEGO - Silence falls over the parade deck as the recruits of Company I, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion stand at parade rest in a formation, patiently awaiting an order. The only voice they listen for is that of the unit leader, their drill instructor who stands at attention paces away.
With a deep breath, he calls, “Fall in!” and the recruits immediately pop to attention and confidently march over to the designated area where their performance begins.
Recruits of Co. I, 3rd RTBn, compete against other platoons through Initial Drill in their third week of recruit training aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego April 14.
Marines must know how to follow lawful orders instantly because in combat situations, following orders can mean the difference between life and death.
“Close order drill is a basic tool used to instill discipline in recruits,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Jackson, drill master, 2nd RTBn. “It teaches them instant obedience to all orders, whether it’s in the form of a drill movement or an order from their drill instructor.”
From the moment a recruit steps foot on the depot, one of the main traits that is instilled into his body and mind is discipline.
“Through drill, recruits are taught discipline,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Borski, drill instructor, Platoon 3215, Company I, 3rd RTBn. “It teaches them military bearing, how to work together and move as a platoon and allows individual weapon handling.”
In the earlier weeks of recruit training, recruits learn the fundamentals of close order drill. They are taught basic drill movements that allow the unit leader to move the platoon from one place to another in a standard and orderly manner, while maintaining military bearing and appearance.
“Drill takes practice, constant corrections and a lot of discipline,” said Borski. “You can definitely see the progression over the weeks.”
At the end of Phase One, recruits must show how much knowledge they’ve retained and perform during Initial Drill. A drill master, a Marine has been deemed an expert in drill and ceremonies, judges the overall presentation of the platoon, as well as the unit leader.
“Initial drill is an evaluation of basic drill movements that the platoon has learned in their first few weeks here,” said Jackson, a 29-year-old Hoopa, Calif., native.
Before the evaluation begins, the unit leader draws a drill card at random. Each card has different drill movements which test the unit leader and platoon on how confidently they can perform.
The platoon as a whole is judged on the flow of the performance. They are graded on how they execute drill techniques, whether they have excessive movements, their display or lack of confidence and how well they follow orders without hesitation, said Jackson.
In addition to overall performance, the platoon is graded on personal-hygiene, their inspection-ready combat utility uniforms and the cleanliness of their M16 A4 service rifles.
The unit leader is also graded with the same requirements, but mostly on how confident he can control his platoon.
“Leading the platoon with confidence is important,” said Borski, a 29-year-old Portland, Ore., native. “If you don’t show the platoon you’re a confident leader, they won’t listen to you.”
With practice and correction, drill instructors of Company I showed the recruits the importance of initial drill. Showing the recruits that the drill instructors want to perform flawlessly makes them want to perform too, said Borski.
Although it seemed like endless practice, the recruits stayed motivated to prove to their drill instructors that they wanted to perform and win. Initial Drill is the first of many events throughout recruit training that platoons compete against each other to determine which will graduate honor platoon.
“We would practice during fire watch,” said Recruit Ernesto Camacho, Plt. 3215, Company I, 3rd RTBn. “It took a lot of hard work, dedication and motivation to get to where we are today.”
Through this dedication, recruits also learned the importance of bearing and instant-willing obedience.
“The hardest part for me was wanting to fix myself after I realized that I screwed up,” said Camacho, a 19-year-old Los Angeles native. “We needed to wait to be corrected by our unit leader.”
The recruits also learned the importance of teamwork. Drill builds camaraderie by teaching the recruits how to work together. Recruits take initiative and start to motivate others by helping them practice.
“It was the first time that we all went from individual recruits to a platoon,” said Camacho.
Drill is a constant in recruit training. It is used to march the recruits to chow, class and to other events. In their tenth week of training, the recruits will compete in final drill, a culminating event to perform the more advanced drill movements they have learned. Initial drill is just the first of many challenges that Company I will face in the next weeks of recruit training.
Date Posted:04.19.2012 17:00
Location:SAN DIEGO, CA, US
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