Last Friday Lauren graduated from Marine boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina. We’re so proud of her. As her mom said, she’s an adult now (and yes, there were tears soon after). I asked Lauren how the final test (known as the Crucible) went, and she told me it was “fun.” According to Wikipedia:
…the Crucible is a rigorous 54-hour field training exercise demanding the application of everything a recruit has learned until that point in recruit training, and includes a total of 48 miles of marching . It simulates typical combat situations with strenuous testing, hardship, and the deprivation of food and sleep. A recruit is given three MREs and four to eight hours of sleep through the entire 54-hour event.
Yeah, that sounds like “fun.”
We got to the base around 6:00am so we could find a good seat, and the Marines were already up and practicing the ceremony for the 1,000th time. The weather was awful, but we didn’t mind too much. After all, if Lauren could deal with total hell for 12 weeks, we could deal with a little rain.
Unfortunately the weather didn’t let up, so the ceremony was moved inside. There’s not as much room inside, so the Marines didn’t march by the crowd as they would have outside. But they still looked great. From my vantage point, graduation went something like this:
- An officer yells or grunts something I don’t understand.
- All the Marines move together from attention to saluting to at ease.
I asked Lauren later if she could actually understand what they were saying or if she just knew what to do and when. She said at first, the officers speak normally to them and slowly. Then they speed it up and get louder until you’re used to it. So yeah, she knew what they were saying.
After graduation, we walked down to greet the toughest member of our family. Here she is with her parents and recruiting officer. The uniform she’s wearing is called her “Service Charlies.”
By the way, the little tag on her shirt is not a name tag. It’s a medal to let you know Lauren knows how to use a gun. She also explained to me a few combat tactics she learned, including her tan belt in mixed martial arts. I’m a little afraid (and totally proud!). Definitely getting my niece whatever she wants for Christmas!
There’s more pictures on our photo site, including some from family day where you can see more of the base.