News: Recruits gain confidence
Story by Lance Cpl. Crystal Druery
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. - When recruits come to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, they don’t realize how many challenges they will face. Recruit training consists of more than just a physical challenge, it also forces recruits to face personal fears such as the fear of heights or water. But after a few weeks of training they have to overcome them.
On Nov. 21 the recruits of Company D faced some of their fears through multiple obstacles and pushed their bodies to a new physical limit on the Confidence Course during training week three.
The confidence course is an integrated event designed to help recruits overcome their fear of heights through high obstacles, said Sgt. Anthony Butler, Martial Arts Training Instructor, Recruit Training Regiment.
By accomplishing the course recruits are pushed out of their comfort zone they have grown accustom to over the past 18 to 20 years of their lives, said Butler.
During training recruits experience the confidence course twice. During the first experience they aren’t at the confidence level to perform all of the obstacles, said Butler.
“During the fourth week recruits get a second go at the confidence course. By this time the recruits have built up some confidence making it a little easier for them to take on the bigger obstacles,” said Butler.
The obstacles during training week three aren’t as high and recruits don’t have to cross a water obstacle until they qualify in Marine Combat Water Survival Training.
“This is just a part of the process of building their confidence for all the challenges that are to come,” said Gunnery Sgt. Joby Clark, senior drill instructor, Platoon 2067, Company D.
Clark said the recruits will be faced with similar challenges, not only during recruit training, but once they become Marines.
One obstacle Company D faced was the rope swing which consists of running, grabbing a hanging rope and jumping it across a small gap. For Recruit Sidney Schroeder, Platoon 1065, Company D, this particular obstacle was the most challenging for him.
“I had a hard time getting a hold of the rope and keeping enough momentum to make it across,” said Schroeder, who completed the obstacle after several attempts.
While Schroeder was able to make it over the obstacle on his own, many recruits require extra motivation while facing heights.
“The greatest experience is watching a recruit get over [his fear of] heights,” said Butler. “On the third or fourth bar on the Stairway to Heaven, recruits who fear heights will start crying, wanting to go home, but a drill instructor motivates them to keep climbing and eventually they finish with a new sense of confidence.”
The Stairway to Heaven is a 40-foot, 12-rung, ladder that shoots straight up in the air. This is one challenge recruits have to overcome at the confidence course. Many of the obstacles require recruits to think outside of the box to successfully complete them, said Butler. The obstacles require thinking instead of just physically making it over a wall. Other than the obstacles, recruits also have added challenges between obstacles such as running, carrying fellow recruits, and Marine Corps Martial Arts Program Training.
“The confidence course is part of their physical challenges. It allows them to actually see the obstacles and get over them, building confidence,” said Clark.
He said that many of the other obstacles in recruit training are more mental, making this course a good experience for the recruits to be able to visualize their challenge at hand.
“The course made me feel good,” said Schroeder. “I pushed my body to do more than I thought I could.”