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News: Secretary of Defense tours depot: Honorable Mr. Robert M. Gates observes recruit training

Story by Cpl. Sarah FioccoSmall RSS Icon

Secretary of Defense tours depot: Honorable Mr. Robert M. Gates observes recruit training Cpl. Rodion Zabolotniy

Brig. Gen. Frederick M. Padilla, commanding general of Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris island and the Eastern Recruiting Region (left), talks to Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates about the Crucible, May 13. In addition to visiting the Crucible site, Gates also observed training at Leatherneck Square and the rifle range.

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. -- Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates visited Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, May 13, to observe some of the events that take place during recruit training.

During his tour, he observed recruits at the Crucible, rifle range and Leatherneck Square to examine field training, weapons training and the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program training respectively.

At each event, Gates was greeted by a different Marine overseeing the exercise who explained how that particular aspect of training contributed to the development of Marines. The tour offered Gates a firsthand look at the hard work and dedication it takes to train recruits.

“[The training] looks very realistic,” Gates said. “It puts recruits through all the terms they might face. I like how they incorporate the combat skills with the core values.”

Gates said he could tell by observing the training that the events effectively test the recruits’ determination.

“To me all of the tasks looked difficult, but I’m an old guy,” Gates joked. “The marksmanship at the 500-yard line looked very difficult. At my age, I can barely see the target much less hit it.”

Gates also said the Crucible impressed him, adding that he believes there is a value in the way the culminating event requires teamwork in all of its exercises.

“It was good for him to come out and see how the Marine Corps trains its recruits,” said Staff Sgt. Maurice Cannon, staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Leatherneck Square.

Cannon, a martial arts instructor trainer, explained the MCMAP training process to Gates. He said the physical, mental and spiritual discipline found in martial arts plays a vital role in the growth of basically trained Marines.

“It was important for him to know how our core values tie into MCMAP,” Cannon said. “Each class has a tie-in, whether it’s a warrior study or a martial-culture study. These tie-ins help in the transformation from civilian to Marine by making them better warriors and citizens.”

Cannon said discussions with the recruits help them to make better decisions in situations they may face when they become Marines.

After Gates watched recruits train in various events, he had lunch with the men and women directly responsible for producing basically trained Marines and gave the drill instructors time to ask questions and talk about issues.

“At first it was kind of intimidating because he’s so high up in the chain of command, but he told us to relax,” said Sgt. Brandon Ireton, a drill instructor with Alpha Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion.

Even though the drill instructors were holding a conversation with the chief executive officer of the United States Department of Defense, who answers directly to the president and sits above the joint chiefs of staff, Ireton said the discussion felt as comfortable as if they were speaking with any other person.


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This work, Secretary of Defense tours depot: Honorable Mr. Robert M. Gates observes recruit training, by Sgt Sarah Fiocco, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:05.19.2011

Date Posted:05.19.2011 14:56



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