The hikes, or “humps” as Marines know them, will be tougher here. At the end of the week is an 8km hike, and the packs get even heavier.
With body armor, rifle, kevlar helmet, and pack, recruits are wearing close to 45lbs of gear. Drill Instructors will keep your feet moving and have you reach out and touch the recruit in front of you.
Morning physical training continues, and recruits take to the rifle range for live fire of the M16 rifle. There are three days of live fire, and two days of qualification.
There are big changes coming to the rifle range in 2020. Recruit training will probably still continue standard rifle training in 2020, but the rest of the Marine Corps is moving to a more tactical rifle qualification that will emulate battle conditions.
The new rifle qualification will begin from the 500 yard line and move closer (like you would encounter the enemy). Instead of pulling targets down and scoring each shot, recruits will take all their 500 yard shots (10 of them) at once, then be scored.
From there, you’ll move to the 300 yard line, then the 200. The seated shooting position is now removed in favor of a barricaded position, and you’ll be wearing flak and kevlar the entire time.
At the barricade, you’ll be able to use whatever firing position you feel is the most stable.
Marines qualify at the longest distance of any U.S. service members and truly live up to the term “every Marine a rifleman.”
On Saturday, recruits will see their longest hike at 13 km.
Recruits who fail to complete the hike or don’t stay with the unit may be rolled back to another training platoon, where they will have to take the last two weeks of training over again! The hikes are a defining feature of Weapons and Field Training Battalion and a regular event in the Fleet Marine Force.
At the end of each week of firing on the rifle range, you will conduct forced marches of 3, 5 and 8 miles respectively.
Don’t be fooled by the short distances. With the added weight of your pack, flak jacket, helmet, and weapon, this will be tough.
Field week is where the transformation into a Marine truly begins. Recruits are hardened from the physical training, and they have developed unit cohesion which will now be tested on combat simulations and field operations.