News: Company K passes ultimate test
Story by Cpl. Eric Quintanilla
SAN DIEGO - Recruits of Company K, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, pushed through the Crucible, the culminating event of Marine recruit training, at Edson Range, Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 28.
Recruits go through simulated combat stress scenarios, While undergoing food and sleep deprivation. The recruits must learn to work as a team to overcome mentally and physically-demanding obstacles.
“It’s the ultimate test on the core values of honor, courage and commitment,” said Sgt. Bryce Torrence, drill instructor, Platoon 3221, Company K, 3rd RTBn. “It messes with your mind, body and soul.”
Although recruits are tested daily throughout recruit training, the Crucible is the most anticipated event, where they apply everything they have learned over the course of recruit training.
“On the Crucible we’re really looking out on the horizon and over ridge tops and applying what we’ve learned,” said Recruit Todd E. Beverage, Platoon 3223, Company K, 3rd RTBn.
The recruits are given three meals-ready-to-eat that they must ration throughout the Crucible. By facing and overcoming food and sleep deprivation, recruits get a better understanding of some of the challenges that arise in a combat zone.
“We’ve really been forced to get into a combat mindset – we’ve been patrolling just like we would in a combat situation,” said Beverage, a San Diego native. “When we went through the obstacles, we actually had our rifles, which made it a little more difficult.”
Throughout the Crucible, platoons are split into squads of 20, each led by one drill instructor. Two squads move through the Crucible site together completing obstacles.
“In first and second phase we were just starting the transformation of becoming Marines. The dedication we’ve all displayed shows that we’re on a much higher level now than we were then,” said Beverage. “It’s awe-inspiring to see the dedication the drill instructors have put into making the future of the Marine Corps.”
At each obstacle, drill instructor assigned one recruit to be the squad leader. The squad leader devises a plan for completing their mission. He is the recruit who will separate the squads and supervise their progress. This allows each recruit to demonstrate and further develop his leadership.
While on the crucible, each recruit carries his rifle and daypack filled with whatever gear will be necessary to complete the day’s events.
“It was a lot more difficult to get over the obstacles with gear,” said Beverage. “That forced us to use teamwork and work together to make sure every recruit and their gear made it over each obstacle.”
“Teamwork is paramount in combat and in everyday life,” said Beverage. “It feels good to look to my left and right and have my fellow recruits there, going through the same thing. It encourages me to keep pushing on.”
At night the recruits focus on weapon maintenance and winding down from the simulated combat stress.
At the completion of the Crucible, recruits will receive their Eagle, Globe and Anchor from their drill instructors and will have earned the title Marine.
“After a recruit makes it through this they will never be the same person,” said Torrence, 27, a Caldwell, Idaho native. “Thursday morning they will know they earned their Eagle, Globe and Anchor.”