SAN DIEGO —
“Aye aye, sir!”
“Aye aye, sir!”
This sequence, intermingled with drill instructors bellowing orders and one platoon of the nearly 500 new recruits shouting back, “Yes, sir!” ricocheted off the walls of the San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Depot.
Flight after flight of recruits flew in this week, and the disorientation began immediately as recruits lined up outside the airport, awaiting their orders to get on the bus and throw their heads down.
This disorientation is intended to stress out the recruits to the point where eventually, they will be able to focus, make decisions and function under high amounts of stress, said Sgt. Wayne C. Edmiston Jr., marketing and public affairs director for the Des Moines recruiting station.
Once they arrived at the Depot, the recruits ran off the bus and into formation on the famous Yellow Footprints, where they learned to stand at attention and drill instructors informed them of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Next, they filed into a room where they were searched for contraband and a drill instructor recited the 19 items never to be found at the Depot.
They then placed one final call home and had no choice in what they were to say, as the script was taped directly next to the phone:
“Hello, this is Recruit [Last Name] … I have arrived safely at MCRD San Diego. The next time I contact you will be by postal mail so expect a letter in two to three weeks ... I love you, goodbye!”
“I didn’t get through to my parents, and I couldn’t leave a message on voicemail, either,” said Staff Sgt. David Caisse of his first night of the receiving phase, which is too bad, the drill instructors yelled at this week’s new recruits.
Next, they saw the barbers, where recruit after recruit left the room completely buzzed, further reducing his individuality and making him part of the whole.
While the next step was paperwork, it wasn’t without several decibels, as chosen recruits were positioned along the path, yelling instructions as newly shaven recruits ran through the doors.
“Go see the lady!” one yelled, lining up recruits at a woman’s desk to begin paperwork.
One recruit, confused by where to go next, accidentally ran right past “the lady,” nearly missing his paperwork.
“Where you going, zero?” yelled a Marine, forcing him to the back of the line.
“Out to the hatches!” came next, followed soon after by, “Go to the Coke machine!” as recruits ran to their next position.
This cycle continued until about 1 a.m., Edmiston said, but that doesn’t mean the night was over.
The recruits flew in Monday night and did not sleep until Tuesday night — all part of that disorientation, Edmiston said.
That was only the first couple of hours of their first night. In the next 13 weeks, they will have to prove themselves in all capacities, not just physically, in order to become a United States Marine.
New recruits learned the 19 contraband items during the receiving phase Monday night:
1. Intoxicating beverages
2. Pornographic and obscene literature
3. Subversive literature
4. Lewd and indecent pictures
5. Firearms and live ammunition
6. All knives
7. Brass knuckles, blackjacks and dangerous weapons
8. Narcotics or drugs of all types
9. Gambling devices of all kinds
10. All combustibles and explosives
12. Armed forces identification and liberty cards
13. Property of airlines, buslines, hotels and motels
14. Food in any form, candy or gum
15. Medicine of all kinds
16. Hypodermic needles and syringes
17. Reading materials other than religious
18. No tobacco of any kind allowed
19. All electrically or battery-operated items
On the web:
Follow Chelsea on Twitter at @ChelseaLeeDavis or on the Ottumwa Courier’s Facebook page.