SAN DIEGO, CA - They call it The Crucible. It is the last task Marine recruits must face. It is a 54-hour-long endurance event and roughly 31 miles on foot with a series of obstacles designed to test the core values of "Honor, Courage and Commitment."
In an emotional ceremony 321 new Marines received their Eagle, Globe and Anchor signifying their place in the world's finest fighting force. Senior Drill Instructor Rodriguez said once the recruits reach the bottom of "the reaper," that is the purest form of a marine anyone will ever see. This ceremony is a very personal moment.
"I find a key factor that stood out to me during recruit training and make sure and tell them so they know it doesn't go unnoticed," Rodriguez said.
This was a moment that new Marine Jason Villarreal said will stay with him for the rest of his life, and he can proudly say that he defeated The Crucible with his brothers by his side.
"They've been with you through 13 weeks of pretty much hell and standing at the top of the hill there's a real sense of accomplishment," Villarreal said. "It brought tears to my eyes knowing that many other marines have accomplished this same task."
The new Marines will walk across the parade deck at graduation on June 9th, and be able to hug their loved ones for the first time in three months. They receive 10 days leave and return to the school of infantry for more training.
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