Richmond, Virginia --
For 24 female Marine poolees, May 16 was a taste of what was to come, as they participated in Marine Corps Recruiting Station Richmond’s statewide pool function.
The annual event is held to provide training and information to the young women in the recruiting station’s delayed entry program, the time between when an applicant signs their enlistment contract, and before the ship to recruit training. This program enhances their understanding of the challenges they will encounter as a recruit aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.
Recruiting Station Richmond wanted to take an opportunity to prepare all of their female poolees for the specific challenges they will face at recruit training.
“I think it’s great that they’re making an individualized female function, since females only make up seven percent of the Marine Corps,” said Frances Stover, a 25 year old native of Stuart, Virginia and a poolee from Recruiting Substation Roanoke. “It better prepares us for the rigors of recruit training.”
Five female Marines in the RS came to inform and work with the poolees on what to expect aboard Parris Island, South Carolina – the place where all female Marines earn the title.
The poolees completed an initial strength test, went over vital documents, received fitness and other classes, and were given the opportunity to ask questions to a female drill instructor who had traveled from Parris Island for the event.
“There’s no specific way to prepare for boot camp... this is as close as they’ll get before they arrive at Parris Island. You just have to prepare the best you can, and go down there with the determination to make it every day,” said Staff Sgt. Jennifer Thiroux, a senior drill instructor with Oscar Company, Fourth Recruit Training Battalion, and native of Visalia, California.
The training was seen as a benefit by the nearly 30 poolees who attended, something to prepare them for the path to earning the title Marine.
“It’s a good help to start giving you a taste of what boot camp will be like, especially having a DI here,” said Stover.
Historically, women have been a crucial part of the Corps’ as an institution. In the last decade, their ability to engage with local populations in both war and peacetime has been invaluable. In some cultures, it is deemed inappropriate for women to speak to men outside of their families. The Corps overcame this challenge in both Iraq and Afghanistan by creating Female Engagement Teams, who were able to communicate with the local female populace and gather information outside the reach of their male Marine counterparts.
By building upon the experience of those who have come before them, the women of Recruiting Station Richmond’s delayed entry program left with more first-hand knowledge of boot camp and Marine Corps life, and motivated for the challenge of earning the title Marine.