COVID-19 is causing drastic changes in how recruits experience boot camp.
As if being yelled at by drill instructors every day wasn’t stressful enough, Marine recruits arriving in San Diego, California, for boot camp will now have to undergo a 14-day quarantine before training even commences.
That’s an extra two weeks of living on the recruit depot before a recruit ever stands on the iconic footprints — which begins the transformational process of becoming a Marine.
Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego posted images to Facebook of incoming Echo Company recruits as they were medically screened to kick off a 14-day quarantine before training commences.
“As recruits arrive to the depot in the future, they will enter a staging period of 14 days during which they will be medically screened, monitored and provided classes to prepare and orient them to begin recruit training,” the San Diego depot posted to Facebook.
Photos of the newly arriving Echo Company show recruits donning face masks and having their temperatures recorded — part of an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
While new recruits at boot camp will undergo the same training to earn the title — culminating in a grueling 54-hour exercise dubbed the Crucible — their lives and initial experiences of recruit training will be different than that of their predecessors.
Recruits and drill instructors aboard the depots are already donning face masks during training, there’s extra space in between racks in squad bays, more spacing at the chow halls and classroom training has been adapted to meet guidelines pushed by the Defense Department and health experts.
Recruits at Parris Island, South Carolina, are authorized to have a cellphone following the Crucible to help mitigate communications disruptions as a result of COVID-19. Those phones are only authorized to be used during fourth phase liberty hours.
“Current planning and execution remain fluid as the situation continues to evolve,” the San Diego depot posted to Facebook
“The health and well-being of our recruits, recruiting and training personnel, and their families remain our primary concerns,” the San Diego depot said.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.