Prepare for the mental demands of Marine Corps Boot Camp

How does one go about preparing mentally for Boot Camp?
Answer courtesy of Yucca-Man

  • Good question, but it’s difficult to answer without experiencing it. One of the things that will happen is that you are going to be on the move all the time. When you’re done with one training session, you’ll often double-time over to the next unless the Drill Instructor is prepping you for drill, in which case you’ll march. This serves not only to build cardio, but also ensures you get used to moving on a minutes notice.

    Head games are going to be constant, and over the years they have been tailored to stressing the recruit. Some think that’s cruel, and feel that boot camp should be softer. I’m sure that as soon as our enemies decide to fight only on a 9-5 basis and give “stress reduction breaks” that our training will reflect that.

    The psychological molding starts almost immediately on arrival. I’m pretty sure the busses all pull in at super-early in the morning, since that is when your sleep cycle wants to put you to sleep and you are most likely to listen to orders without arguing. From there, haircuts and initial uniform issue are done, removing the identity of 60-70 individuals and bringing them down to the lowest common denominator. You’ll realize how much people identify others by their hair; guys you were on the bus with don’t look the same.

    I’m not so sure that ‘mental preparation’ means dealing with these head games, but may mean getting a head start on learning the General Orders, basic rank structure and chain of command, etc. Be aware that you will be treated as though you are worthless, and will want to break. If you are in a leadership position (Guide, Squad Leader) you will be held accountable for the actions or inactions of the recruits in your platoon (if guide) or your squad (there are four squads). You may think this unfair, but you need to realize that life ain’t fair…this is an incentive to learn to do things right and make sure the Marines under you know their jobs once you hit the fleet. I’m sure there are plenty more examples, and as I think of them I may post those as well.

How else can I prepare my brain?

  • Read some good books: “Boot” by Daniel DaCruz, “Into the Crucible: Making Marines for the 21st Century” by CAPT. James Woulfe. The more you know when you ship, the better prepared you will be to take the stress of a DI in your face ALL the time. Don’t be a smart@ss about your knowledge, just be confident.
  • Don’t argue with any authority figureTHANK parents who are in your face from time to time for the preparation.
  • When you think you can’t take another step, you are going to die, there is no way in hell you are going to make it, jut DO IT!!! It takes a strong will, stubbornness, and heart to earn the coveted name Marine.
  • Remember “There is someone in charge, it’s not you and it’s NOT up for debate!”
  • Don’t take anything personal.
  • Memorize your 11 General Orders, the Marine Corps B-day, the Marine Corps Hymn, the ranks, order of them etc. before you leave.

What’s an good way to memorize the General Orders, Code of Conduct, Marine Corps Hymn, etc.?

It’s different for everyone but I have been told that if you write it down while saying it out loud is a very good method. I have tried it and it works great.

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