SoCal poolees visit depot, see boot camp beforehand
By Pfc. Mikel L. Savides
| | September 17, 2004
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. --
Prospective Marines from the recruiting substation in Van Nuys, Calif. - some joined by their parents and their recruiters - visited the depot Sept. 10 to get a beforehand look at training.
Company A drill instructor Staff Sgt. Armando Figueroa guided the group around the base and explained different recruit training stages. While leading the tour, he said coming to the depot before shipping to recruit training was a benefit to the prospective Marines.
"It allows them to get a basic grasp on what is expected of them. It also gives them an opportunity to see the basic knowledge learned in recruit training and give them time to learn it," Figueroa said.
Staff Sgt. Mahlon Driver, a Van Nuys recruiter, said this is a good experience for his poolees: "It allows them to become more familiar with what they are going to endure. Coming to MCRD for a visit kind of releases some pressure and calms down nerves of some poolees." This is the second year Driver has brought his substation poolees to the depot.
Throughout the tour, poolees' opinions on the ease of training differed. They visited the rappelling tower, the obstacle course, the martial arts training facility, the mess hall and other parts of the depot.
One of the most intimidating places they visited was the water survival testing at the Parke Hall swimming facility.
Guadalupe De Santiago, 18, said she does not know how to swim, and she does not look forward to swimming. However, Santiago said simply visiting the recruit training environment nonetheless helped her feel more prepared.
After visiting the swim tank, the group moved to the obstacle courses where poolees watched recruits in an afternoon physical-training session. At that time, Figueroa answered questions from poolees and parents. With warm San Diego temperatures baking the obstacles, one poolee's mother asked how recruits stayed hydrated during vigorous activity. Figueroa explained that during every event, medical personnel is always standing by. Additionally, he said drill instructors make drinking water a priority.
"The recruits are stressed to drink at least eights canteens of water per day," said Figueroa. "The ideal is 10 to 12 per day, and this keeps them properly hydrated."
From the obstacle course, poolees and parents mustered at the barracks where the poolees saw their future sleeping and living conditions.
After showing most of the recruit training facilities and other parts of the depot, Figueroa concluded with another forum for questions. Poolees asked about their depot experiences and whatever else could prepare them for boot camp.
When they return, drill instructors will help them figure out the rest.