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USMC Boot Camp: Basic Warrior Training

Recruits will face many battles throughout the duration of the 13 weeks of USMC boot camp. During Phase three recruits will be trained in Basic...

Recruits will face many battles throughout the duration of the 13 weeks of USMC boot camp. Each day and each week will bring on new challenges that will test the recruits’ will and determination to keep on fighting.

Marine Corps boot camp is broken down into four different phases, each phase welcoming a new challenge and a new milestone for recruits.

During Phase three recruits will be trained in Basic Warrior Training (BWT) that will teach them basic combat survival skills crucial for mission success in their future as a Marine. 

The skills they will learn during BWT are those that set Marines apart from all other foreign militaries, teaching them how to work together as a team to accomplish any mission. Below are a list and brief overview of the eleven classes recruits will go through for Basic Warrior Training.  

Camouflage, cover, and concealment.  

Recruits are taught the basics of how to apply camouflage as well as what objects can provide concealment (enemy cannot see you ie. thick bushes or an opaque sheet) and cover (enemy weapons cannot touch you as effectively ie. a wall or dirt berm).

Introduction to the topographical Map. 

Recruits learn the basics of the different parts of a map ie. what the different colors mean or what the legend can tell them about the map.

Introduction to map reading.

Recruits learn how to plot on a map and effectively use this piece of gear to find locations.

Introduction to combat hunter.

Recruits learn to observe their surroundings much more closely for signs of the enemy.  They are taught different things to look for that can “paint them a picture” of what the enemy is doing, where they are going and how big they are.  Ie. Three crumpled bags of McDonalds trash may seem useless to the untrained eye, but Recruits learn that this could potentially mean that there are three people in their area, and to maybe go to McDonalds to ask further questions.

Introduction to guardian angel. 

Recruits learn the basics of what is commonly called “Overwatch”.  A group of Marines assigned to guard another unit as that unit moves about their mission.

Introduction to night land navigation.

Recruits learn how to use the skills taught in their previous classes in low/no light situations.

Individual movement techniques.

Recruits learn the skills needed to negotiate obstacles and move tactfully throughout an area.

Buddy team and fire team movement techniques.  

Recruits learn how to build upon their individual movements class, and now work in 2-Marine or 4-Marine teams effectively to complete a mission.

IED awareness.

Recruits are taught the techniques they will use on how to spot and avoid Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).  IEDs have become a very commonly used weapon of today’s enemy.

Hand and arm signals.

Recruit will learn how to communicate without saying a word.  In some situations, unnecessary noise can alert the enemy of your location.  Recruits learn how to effectively move and communicate with each other in order to maintain that stealthy mindset.

Night movement techniques

Recruits build upon their earlier movement techniques classes and learn how to be more effective in low/no light situations.

After going through these classes, recruits will be tested and use all of the lessons learned to complete four events as a team. Each one of these classes is critical to becoming a Marine, no matter the Military Occupational Specialty of the recruit.  Every Marine is a Rifleman and every Marine must know how to shoot, move, and communicate.

Recruits that successfully get through these classes and training exercises will be one step closer in earning the title of a United States Marine. Recruits will need to execute all of this training in the culminating event of boot camp, The crucible, which will be their final test and battle as a recruit.

Feature image: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Vanessa Austin

Jeremiah Runser