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4th Marine Corps District

Marine Corps Recruiting Command

Marine recruiters utilize Delayed Entry Program to reduce attrition

By Sgt. Tyler Hlavac | 4th Marine Corps District | November 01, 2013

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Poolees from Recruiting Sub-Station Huntington complete the running portion of their Initial Strength Test during a pool meet in Huntington, W.Va. Oct. 13, 2013.  Pool meets are part of the overall pool program and help ensure the poolees are fully prepared prior to arriving at recruit training. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Tyler J. Hlavac/Released)

Poolees from Recruiting Sub-Station Huntington complete the running portion of their Initial Strength Test during a pool meet in Huntington, W.Va. Oct. 13, 2013. Pool meets are part of the overall pool program and help ensure the poolees are fully prepared prior to arriving at recruit training. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Tyler J. Hlavac/Released) (Photo by Sgt. Tyler Hlavac)


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A group of poolees struggle to do crunches during an initial strength test conducted during Recruiting Station Charleston’s Statewide Pool Meet in Columbus, Ohio Oct. 13, 2012.  Pool meets are part of the overall pool program and help ensure the poolees are fully prepared prior to arriving at recruit training. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Tyler J. Hlavac/Released)

A group of poolees struggle to do crunches during an initial strength test conducted during Recruiting Station Charleston’s Statewide Pool Meet in Columbus, Ohio Oct. 13, 2012. Pool meets are part of the overall pool program and help ensure the poolees are fully prepared prior to arriving at recruit training. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Tyler J. Hlavac/Released) (Photo by Sgt. Tyler Hlavac)


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A group of poolees struggle to win a tug-of-war competition during Recruiting Station Charleston’s Statewide Pool Meet in Columbus, Ohio Oct. 13, 2012.  Pool meets are part of the overall pool program and help ensure the poolees are fully prepared prior to arriving at recruit training. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Tyler J. Hlavac/Released)

A group of poolees struggle to win a tug-of-war competition during Recruiting Station Charleston’s Statewide Pool Meet in Columbus, Ohio Oct. 13, 2012. Pool meets are part of the overall pool program and help ensure the poolees are fully prepared prior to arriving at recruit training. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Tyler J. Hlavac/Released) (Photo by Sgt. Tyler Hlavac)


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Ona, W.Va. --

Some may think of enlisting in the Marine Corps as an easy process involving a quick trip to the local recruiting station, signing a few papers and then a short time later taking a trip to Marine Corps Recruit Depots San Diego or Parris Island.

However, the paperwork at the recruiting station is only a formality in the process toward becoming a Marine.

After an individual enlists in the Marine Corps they enter what is known as the Delayed Entry Program or ‘pool program.’ They are then called poolees, or individuals who are waiting to attend basic training. A poolee can remain in the pool up to eight months, depending on what job field for which they have signed. 

“The pool program is a seat at the table,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Rogers, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Recruiting Sub-Station Huntington and a Trafford, Pa. native. “It’s a program designed to take an individual who has enlisted in the Marine Corps and put them in a structured environment that gives them weekly and monthly contact with their recruiters to prepare them for basic training.”

The pool program involves weekly and monthly activities designed to ensure success at basic training. The activities range from weekly physical training and individual mentorship sessions with their recruiters to close-order drill practice. All of these activities are used to reduce the attrition, or basic training failure rate, of poolees who reach recruit training. 

As the Marine Corps downsizes, the number of poolees that can be sent to basic training each month has shrunk, leading to a stronger focus on quality over quantity when it comes to recruiting. This has led to a larger focus on attrition as money, time and effort are wasted when an individual does not complete basic training. A successful pool program is often seen as the best method to combat attrition rates.

“You have more time to get (poolees) ready. Our attrition rate has dropped roughly 18 percent over the last couple years,” said Rogers. “From fiscal year 12 to FY13 our attrition rate dropped eight percent.”

One individual who benefitted from the program is Recruit Elbert Pope, a native of Taylorville, W.Va., who left for recruit training in October after spending five months in the pool program. Upon first entering the pool program, Pope found himself struggling to complete the Initial Strength Test, which is used to gauge if a poolee is physically fit enough to attend basic training. After spending months working with his recruiter, Pope found himself ready.

"I feel like I am a lot more prepared for boot camp. I improved by working every day, no days off,” said Pope. “I can now do a lot of things I didn’t know I could do and I can push myself a lot further than I ever could.”

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1 Comments


  • Zodiac 301 days ago
    I don't think I can do the new minimum standard workout either.

    I have to train hard for it.

    Today, my run was cut short due to physical and mental failure.

    Please, as soon as you get things right, allow me to go for the new minimum standard workout.

    It really makes me feel better and all geared up for my 10 mile run afterwards.

    I always start my day with my workout. And I NEVER have any problems running the full 10 mile nonstop, though it is always very slow compared to Kelly Calway who ran the marathon 26 miles uphill in 2:42:16 > Jeezzz! Got a lot of miles to run...many many more till I can even approximate to that!

    And there's so much I cannot do yet: obstacle courses, the Crucible, grueling Drills and utterly exhausting circuit training, running with 50kg backpack, training in full combat outfit, workout and run in military boots, swimming in rough water, swimming for hours long in military uniform, parachute drops,...should I continue?

    And I cannot stand physical hardship: extreme cold, extreme heat, extreme wetness, extreme drought and I never have endured a survival course.

    So: don't feel bad if you can't do the new minimum standard workout which I doubt I can accomplish myself.

    You guys can do SO MUCH MORE which I HONESTLY CAN'T (...yet)!!!

    I should be the one who's ashamed. I admit that my training sessions are easy compared to what you guys have to accomplish on a daily base.

    MAN!!!

    That's why I'm training: to level up with you guys. That's why I set the minimum standard workout as it is... And hoping and aiming gradually for the maximum...

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