<h1 class=“font_Palatino”>New recruits waiting six to nine months to report to boot camp</h1>
<div class=“float_left text_left”>Sunday, October 24<sup>th</sup>, 2010
Issue 42, Volume 14.</div>
SAN DIEGO - Thanks to a glut of recruits, newly
enlisted Marines are waiting six to nine months to report to boot camp,
up from about three months two years ago, it was reported today.
Whether headed to Camp Pendleton or Parris Island, S.C., the Marine
Corps is scrambling to absorb all the men and women joining the ranks,
the Los Angeles Times reported.
At a recent Pentagon news conference, every branch of military
reported meeting enlistment goals. But the Marines are convinced that
other factors are also influencing the surge in numbers.
“I want to be part of the best,” Justin Zeek, 20, of Springfield,
Ore., said when asked why he joined the Marines rather than another
Experts agree that when the economy slumps, enlistment rises.
Ronald Krebs, a political science professor and military expert at the
University of Minnesota, told The Times the economy and the dwinding
down of the war in Iraq are the dominant factors in the recruitment
Krebs also said the Marines “have done a great job of branding
themselves as the most proud and distinguished service branch with the
greatest esprit de corps.”
About 20,000 young men graduate from 12 weeks of boot camp at Camp
Pendleton annual. Women are trained separately at Parris Island.
No branch of the military emphasizes its history and heroes as much as the Marine Corps.
At the boot camp processing center in San Diego, recruits are greeted with posters showing a veteran Marine and the caption, “You are part of a storied tradition. Be there for the next chapter.”
The next chapter begins with a haircut.
At boot camp, recruits will be deprived of television, the
Internet, music, movies, iPods, cellphones, home cooking and romantic
Zeek waited eight months before getting a slot a boot camp,
attending monthly “pool functions” organized by Marines to make sure
recruits stay in shape and are not overtaken by regrets or last-minute
appeals from apprehensive parents.
At the sessions, recruits do sit-ups, pull-ups, and other exercises, learn about Marine heroes and review Marine terminology.
With a surge of recruits, the Marine Corps can be choosy.
“These are quality kids,” Maj. Gen. Robert Milstead, commanding
general of Marine Corps Recruiting Command, told The Times. “We can be
very selective these days.”
It is not uncommon for recruiters to reach their monthly quota
within the first few days of the month, said Master Sgt. Alfonsa
Hightower Jr., head of the basic recruiter’s course at the San Diego
“Moral waivers,” which allow the Marines to accept recruits with
criminal records or other problems, are declining. In fiscal 2007, the
Marine Corps accepted 552 recruits with waivers for felony arrests. With
three months remaining in the fiscal 2010, just 46 recruits have
received such waivers.
“We’re not just looking for anyone to fill up spaces,” Hightower
said. “We are not entertaining a lot of things that we would have five
or six years ago.”