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    Company F recruits gain confidence through obstacle course

    Company F recruits gain confidence through obstacle course

    Photo By Cpl. Bridget Keane | Recruits of Company F, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion balance themselves as they...... read more read more



    Story by Lance Cpl. Bridget Keane 

    Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego

    SAN DIEGO - Among the many challenges recruits endure throughout recruit training, the obstacle courses here at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego have put many recruits to the test by pushing them both physically and mentally.

    Recruits of Company F, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, went through the obstacle course for the third time, March 24, aboard MCRD San Diego.

    Every recruit must complete the obstacle course, also known as the “O-course,” which is an event that requires recruits to climb over walls and logs, pull themselves up over bars and to use their very last ounce of strength to climb a rope at the end.

    “The course focuses mainly on upper-body strength and techniques,” said Staff Sgt. Carlos Garcia, senior drill instructor, Company F, 2nd RTBn. “There are different techniques to use to complete the obstacles and master the course.”

    The course has a series of elevated bars and logs, as well as walls that allow recruits to try different methods to climb over them.
    “Going through this course helps the recruits build endurance, technique and confidence,” said Garcia.

    Before the actual course begins, recruits sprint 880 yards around the course. This is done to exhaust them, and show them that they can complete the course even when they are physically drained. They also run in place at the beginning, watching as the other recruits attempt to overcome the first obstacle and wait their turn to challenge the course.

    “The first obstacle is always the toughest for me,” said Recruit Eric Flores, Platoon 2134, Company F, 2nd RTBn. “But once I get over it, I can get through the rest of the course without a problem.”

    Hurling themselves over logs and pulling themselves over bars, recruits learn how to keep a low profile as they climb over obstacles.

    “Keeping a low profile is crucial when climbing over walls in a combat situation,” said Recruit Cody Newell, Platoon 2133, Company F, 2nd RTBn. “This course simulates what it could be like in an urban environment.”

    The course challenges recruits mentally while navigating through the obstacles, because you need to be able to react quickly and make a choice without thinking, said Newell.

    At the end of the course, recruits must dig deep and use whatever strength they have left to pull themselves to the top of the towering ropes.

    “By this time, the recruits are so worn out from the course it makes it difficult to pull themselves up,” said Garcia. “They use all their strength trying to finish as fast as they can and they don’t think about how to use the techniques.”

    Climbing the ropes doesn’t come easy to every recruit. Knowing the proper technique and how to apply it makes it easier and faster to climb to the top, explained Garcia.

    “The first time we did the ‘O-course’, my biggest challenge was climbing the rope,” said Newell. “It was easier this time because I’ve built my strength up and learned how to master the technique.”

    As they reach the top of the rope, recruits yell out their name, platoon number and senior drill instructor’s name before they slowly slide back down to the wood chipped-covered surface so they can finish the last activity.

    The recruits then run to a drill instructor who eagerly instructs them to execute “buddy drags,” which is when a recruit simulating a casualty is dragged by another recruit. When they reach a certain point on the field, the recruits switch places and execute a “fireman’s carry” back to their platoon.

    “This prepares the recruits for real combat situations when evacuating casualties,” said Garcia. “Even though they’re tired, they can still perform.”

    This is the recruit’s third time doing the “O-course” and each time they run through it, they learn to master a technique that makes it easier for them to complete, said Garcia.

    Recruits go through the “O-course” each phase in recruit training. This allows them to see what they’ve learned from their first experience and how much stronger they’ve become.

    It also prepares them for future obstacles that they will face in recruit training, such as The Crucible, a culminating event that tests recruits on all that they have learned.

    Although they learn techniques, each recruit also gains confidence as they overcome their own personal challenges throughout the course.

    “The ‘O-course’ is physically challenging for me,” said Newell. “I feel stronger and more confident every time I get to the top of the rope.”

    However, Flores found the course more challenging in the mental aspect.

    “Deciding on which route you will go to get over the obstacles while moving fast puts you in a combat mindset,” said Flores. “You really see how far you can push yourself.”

    Whatever obstacles the recruits have faced and mastered on the “O-course”, they walked away from the experience with more confidence, a trait that’s instilled in recruits as they become Marines.



    Date Taken: 03.24.2012
    Date Posted: 03.27.2012 19:13
    Story ID: 85864
    Location: SAN DIEGO, CA, US 

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