News: Parris Island recruits inspected in training to prepare for life in Marine Corps
Story by Lance Cpl. David Bessey
PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. – It takes more than just being able to run fast, shoot straight and carry heavy equipment to be a Marine. The Marine Corps has very high standards, and Marine leaders know they have to inspect what they expect.
Unit commanders routinely hold inspections to ensure individual Marines uphold the level of professionalism that is expected of them.
On Parris Island, it’s no different.
During boot camp, recruits undergo three formal inspections. First, the senior drill instructors inspect platoons after three weeks of training. Company commanders then review recruits after eight weeks, while the battalion commanders inspect new Marines during their final week here.
Each begins with an inspecting official approaching an individual recruit. The recruit announces his name, expected military occupational specialty and hometown. Recruits perform the “inspection arms” drill movement with their rifle to show that the weapon is not loaded. They are graded on reporting properly, weapon cleanliness, bearing, hygiene and uniform fit.
Sgt. Romaine Mullins, a senior drill instructor with Echo Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, has prepared his recruits for many inspections.
“The first one gives the initial shock of an inspection and teaches them how to properly report for an inspection,” said Mullins, a 30-year-old native of Kingston, Jamaica.
The senior DI’s and company commander’s inspections help display the growth of recruits through training and prepare them for their final inspection as Marines two days before graduation.
The battalion commander’s inspection is the last graduation requirement for new Marines to complete in recruit training.
For Lt. Col. Joseph W. Jones, the 2nd Recruit Training Battalion’s former commander, this inspection is an opportunity to see the results of his drill instructor’s tireless efforts to transform their recruits into Marines.
“The battalion commander’s job is to ensure basically trained Marines are endowed with the values of our Corps,” said Jones, a native of Mobile, Ala. “It’s a time where I can see how the Marines have developed and the quality of work of the drill instructors.”
Far different from their first inspection, the Marines display the bearing, knowledge and discipline they have learned through the previous 12 weeks of training.
“I check for the cleanliness of the weapon, because it is a direct reflection of their discipline,” said Jones. “If I get a sense that a young man does not have the qualifications needed, then I can recycle or discharge [him], but I’ve never had to do that since I’ve been here.”
For the new Marines, the inspection can be nerve-racking, but it’s their chance to show they have what it takes to be Marines.
“I was a little nervous, but I just answered all the questions as I was taught,” said Pfc. Ryan Owensby, 20, Platoon 1054, Bravo Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion. “I just displayed the Corps’ values of honor, courage and commitment.”
Even though the battalion commander’s inspection comes in some of the final moments of training, drill instructors like Mullins use it to teach the new Marines that first impressions are important.
“At this point, they know that the way they look now is how they will look when they report to their duty stations,” said Mullins. “Your first impression is your last impression, and it may be some time before you’re given a chance to really prove yourself.”
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