SAN DIEGO - On an overcast morning, recruits in Company H, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, surpassed expectations on their max set of pull-ups, sit ups and three mile run time during their final physical fitness test June 14.
Recruits, wearing olive green shorts and shirts, lined up behind pull-up bars eagerly waiting to do the best they could.
Each individual pushed their chin past the pull-up bar until their arms could physically do no more. Drill instructors repeatedly shouted motivational remarks to help push their recruits to their maximum possible performance.
“Get up there!” yelled Sgt. Josh R. Francisco, drill instructor, Platoon 2174, Co. H, 2nd RTBn, with a boom and deepness to his voice signature to Marine drill instructors.
Recruits replied with squinted eyes, grunts and clenched teeth as they pulled with all their might, trying to squeeze out one last pull-up.
At 5’2, 120 pounds, Pvt. Joseph C. Bermudez, guide, Platoon 2169, is one of the smallest in the company, however, he is also one of the strongest. For his final PFT, Bermudez did 24 pull-ups, 162 sit ups and completed an 18 minute, 30 second three mile run time. A perfect score for the physical fitness test is 20 pull-ups, an 18 minute three-mile and 100 crunches.
“Knowing that I was the smallest recruit was motivation to be the best I could be and made me want to out do my peers,” said 17-year-old, Bermudez. “Size is never an issue, it’s just how much you’re willing to put out to be the best.”
For the three-mile-run a massive green blob of recruits lined up on the starting line. When the signal was given the scene looked similar to the running of bulls in Spain. Approximately 18 minutes later recruits began trickling in caked in sweat and breathing like fishes out of water. Drill instructors could be seen repeatedly running to the finish line with recruits and then back tracking to encourage the other recruits.
Francisco explained he and the other drill instructors made recruits do pyramid style exercise repetitions as well as exercises similar to cross fit to prepare them for their final PFT.
“Their improvement is really impressive. It’s a pretty good feeling knowing you contributed to that,” said Francisco. “It’s important for them to get the highest score they can, to set a high standard when they hit the fleet. It’s also important for them to take advantage of the fact that for some this is the best shape they will be in their life.”
Pfc. Paul A. Patino, guide, Plt. 2174, Company H., is an example of that improvement. Patino scored 16 pull ups, a 24 minute three mile and 100 crunches on his initial PFT compared to 21 pull ups, a 19 minute 55 second three-mile and 120 crunches for his final PFT.
Patino thanked his drill instructor for instilling the drive to improve.
“He’s an outstanding gentleman and very knowledgeable,” said Patino, the San Antonio native. “He instilled in me the motivation to never give up, even when you’re tired.