(KLST) From May 2nd to May 6th, 57 teachers, coaches, and administrators from Texas and New Mexico were given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience what life is like for Marines at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.
On the first day of their journey, educators got to experience what Marine Recruits face when arriving at MCRD on the busses, also known as receiving. Receiving Company Drill Instructors welcomed these participants with yelling and lots of it.
Weatherford, Texas Mayor Paul Paschal shared his thoughts through the process.
“The voices are commanding, they’re loud, they’re strong and everything moves at an extremely fast pace,” Paschal explained. ” Just the whole time I am thinking the people that go through this, they’re in this environment and stress for weeks.”
“And they are very young,” Paschal continued. “It’s their first time away from home for most of them.”
After making it through the Yellow Footprints, participants were shown what it is like for recruits to meet their Drill Instructors for the first time in a mock pick-up. When recruits meet their Drill Instructors for the first time, they are reminded that their Drill Instructors have one mission – to turn them into a United States Marine.
“You know my first thought was fight or flight, when anybody yells at you,” Christy Adair, a Texas teacher explained after completing the Yellow Footprints and mock pick-up. “But I have a luxury to kind of realize that I can laugh and get out of this at any time I want.”
Participants also got a taste of what it physically takes to be a Marine on the first day at MCRD San Diego. This included completing the USMC Combat Fitness Test, also known as a CFT.
Marines complete this test every six months to ensure they are ready for any rigorous combat situations.
Some of the tasks that are in the CFT include a half-mile run, a two-minute 30-pound ammo canister lift and a maneuver-under-fire simulated event. This maneuver is 300 yards of sprints, agility course, high crawl, low crawl, body drag, fireman carry, ammo can carry, push-ups and grenade throw.
Alejandro Ramos, a physical education teacher for Rosewell ran in a time of a minute and thirty-eight seconds during his CFT.
“It was definitely a lot more difficult than I expected,” Ramos shared. “I am a P.E. teacher so I’m constantly moving and running all the time.”
“I felt like I was completely out of shape doing that and we didn’t even have to carry or drag anyone,” he continued.
Besides getting the chance to complete the CFT, educators were also taken to the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program pit where they received a crash course in Marine fighting.
To wrap up the first day, participants were given the chance to face their fears and rappel down the 60-foot tall Marine Corps rappel tower at MCRD.
For the first half of the second day, teachers were bussed out to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
This event gave the educators the opportunity to walk the flight line, get on aircraft, and talk with aviation Marines.
Following the flight line, participants were taken back to MCRD San Diego for a show by an ensemble of the Marine Corps Band and lunch.
Educators wrapped up the second day by attending the museum at MCRD San Diego.
Docents from MCRD took willing participants on tours through the history of the Marine Corps and their presence in wars.
On the fourth day, only eight teachers were selected to attend an Eagle Globe and Anchor ceremony on the Reaper at Camp Pendelton.
This ceremony began at sunrise as Marine Recruits end the Crucible, which is 54 hours of the hardest training these recruits face through boot camp.
Educators watched as Company Kilo, which included San Angelo’s Trevor Mullins who graduated with honors, received their Eagle Globe and Anchor and earn the title Marine.
The selected group then met with the remainder of the teachers to learn how to be riflemen, like recruits do when training.
After learning how to properly handle the weapon, participants were taken to a range simulation in order to better understand how to operate the weapon before firing them on the range.
At the end of the fourth day, educators participated in the 12-Stables at Camp Pendelton.
This course helps teach recruits how to work together as a team to complete the task at hand.
“It was almost like the floor is lava on steroids,” a teacher from New Mexico shared.
For the fifth and final day of the MCRD Educators Workshop, these teachers were given the opportunity to watch Morning Colors.
Before graduation, which occurs every Friday, the Colors are presented in front of the Commanding Generals building with remarks from the Commanding General and music from the MCRD San Diego Band.
Following Mornings Colors, the Commanding General answered any questions the Educators had.
Teachers were then awarded certificates for completing the Marine Marksmenshio course and attending the MCRD Educator Workshop.
To end the week, participants watched as Company Alpha marched the parade deck for Marine graduation.
Through out everyday of the MCRD Educators Workshop, participants were given several briefings. In these briefings teachers were given the chance to talk with Marines in varying points of their careers.
These teachers also learned about the benefits the military can provide such as paying for college, VA Benefits, housing loans and more.
Mrs. Adair shared with Concho Valley Homepage staff that going into the week was very difficult for her.
“This was a very hard week to get away both personally and professionally,” Mrs. Adair explained. “I was excited to come but I also had some trepidation.”
She said she had shared her thoughts of the week before with her husband.
“He reminded me that my Grandpa was a Marine,” Mrs. Adair said. “My Grandpa had passed away from cancer this year.”
Her husband told her to attend the week in honor of her Grandpa.
“It gave me so much motivation to come here and experience everything with an open heart and be all in.”