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4th Marine Corps District

Marine Corps Recruiting Command

Marine Recruits Overcome Fears on Parris Island Confidence Course

By | Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island | June 12, 2018

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Approximately 200 recruits from India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, experienced their first ‘gut check’ of recruit training when they sprinted, jumped and climbed their way through the Confidence Course Monday.

The Confidence Course occurs during the 12th day of recruit training and consists of fifteen obstacles that the recruits must maneuver. These obstacles include clambering up and over a two-story log ladder, sprinting to and jumping over a 6-foot wooden structure, climbing a tower using only a rope, and tackling various water obstacles.

The main event of the course is the Slide for Life, which features a 25 foot tower the recruits climb and then descend by sliding down a 90-foot cable over a pool of water.

Capt. Harrison Willeford, Series Commander for Platoons 3056-3059, said the obstacles in the course are designed to challenge the recruits on both a physical and mental level.

“We bring them out here and it gets their heart rate up a little bit; not necessarily because they’re over-exerting themselves, but more so because they’re afraid of heights or the water,” he said. “It’s motivating and it also can be terrifying for them.”

As the sun broke over the trees, recruits made their way in clusters to each obstacle. The course began with a series of pull-associated movements, including a rope climb, a team-oriented tower exercise, a series of rope swings, jumps and monkey bars, and a slack line that stretched over a pool of water on which the recruits had to cross. By the time they reached the final obstacle, fatigue was setting in and frustration was apparent on each recruit’s face.

“It’s not a walk in the park,” said Recruit Elijah Miller, a Columbus, Ohio, native. “I can’t swim so I’m nervous about falling in the water, but if you don’t have confidence you won’t overcome any obstacle you face in life so I think this is preparing us for what we will face on the battlefield.”

Chief Drill Instructor Gunnery Sgt. Aswad Prim said many recruits go into the course already feeling defeated; the course is where their confidence and perseverance can shine through.

“Some of the recruits are going to walk away from here wishing, ‘I would have made it,’” said Prim. “They’re moving towards the point where they don’t want to fail their drill instructors or the recruits in their platoon. It’s still the beginning of training and some of the recruits never did any sort of regular physical activity before coming here so a lot of them are working to convert that strength and confidence in themselves.”

Recruit Garret Winston-Hamm, a Cleveland, Ohio native, said the course taught him about the power of confidence.

“A recruit has to have confidence to be a Marine, and a Marine has to have confidence to be a leader; this event will get the confidence out of you one way or another,” Winston-Hamm said. “The Confidence Course has a lot of real-life situations that could translate on to the battlefield. You have to give one-hundred and ten percent, because if you don’t give it your all, you’re not going to make it through.”
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