Consider this your short list of what to do and not do while in Marine Corps boot camp. Do yourself a favor and pay attention. These tips could save you a lot of extra “incentive training” and pain.
1. Keep your mouth shut. No really, I mean it. Just keep it closed. Don’t say a word except for “yes sir,” “no sir,” and “aye sir.” Failure to do so can really mess up your day.
2. Do what you’re told to do when you are told to do it. This sounds like the simplest task to complete and yet you would be amazed at how many cannot master this simple task. Do not anticipate the drill instructor. Do not do what you “think” he or she is telling you to do. Do EXACTLY what you are told to do and at the time you are told to do it.
3. Do not refer to yourself in first person. When you enter boot camp you are stripped of your identity. No longer do you qualify to call yourself “I,” but now you are “this recruit” and you had better embrace it quickly before you are punished for being “selfish.”
4. Do everything as fast as possible. Whatever you are told to do, do it as fast as you possibly can. Boot camp conditions you how to respond to anything with urgency and how to operate under constant stress. Executing orders fast and efficiently will not only help you to avoid punishment but it will make you a better Marine.
5. Ask permission for everything. You do not have a mind in boot camp. You do not own your body, the government does. As such, you must request permission to do just about anything, including using the restroom. Yes, I am serious. This teaches recruits to respect authority and automatically go through the chain of command for everything.
6. Use free time to study, PT and square away your uniform and equipment. Do not concentrate all your efforts on writing letters home. You will see them in 13 weeks. What you should be concentrating on are all the knowledge and tasks required to make it through boot camp. Any spare time should be devoted to that.
7. Go to church on Sundays. Each Sunday you will have a few hours of spare time that you will spend in the barracks or at church. My advice is to utilize the time squaring away your equipment and going to church. This can be some much needed time to de-stress. Many find it replenishes them to face the new week ahead.
8. Pay attention to everything. Use your senses to constantly take in everything around you. Sights, smells, what the drill instructors are doing, things like that. This will condition you to do this naturally as well as anticipate what is about to happen to you.
9. Do not apologize to your drill instructors. Do not make the mistake of telling a drill instructor that you are sorry about something you did wrong. They are not interested in hearing it. The senior drill instructor would be the only person you would address with matters like this. The other drill instructors will eat you alive if you show such weakness.
10. Always do your best. Boot camp is the perfect venue for testing your character and integrity. Try to do the best you can in every task put before you. This shows great leadership qualities in you and the drill instructors will notice this.
11. Help other recruits when you can. This shows teamwork and leadership and can get you in a billet position such as a squad leader or as the guide. These are positions of responsibility but also leadership. If you graduate as the honor graduate you will be meritoriously promoted one rank. This is something to strive for as the benefits that come with it are more pay and faster promotion.
Remember, follow these tips and you can keep yourself out of trouble and maybe even in somewhat good stead with the drill instructors.