PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – Following the June 4, 2021 death of Private First Class Dalton Beals while completing The Crucible at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island (MCRDPI), focus is shifting to what exactly the 54-hour final exercise entails.
First implemented in 1996 by the 31st Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Charles C. Krulak, The Crucible was meant to be “a culminating event that would develop the mental, physical, and moral capability” of Marines.
The MCRDPI History Book notes that The Crucible consists of “eight major training events: a day movement resupply, a combat assault course, a casualty evacuation, a reaction course, an unknown distance firing course, a night infiltration course, and a night march.”
In addition, groups complete ‘Warrior Stations,’ “which are team-building obstacles aimed at teaching teamwork, small unit leadership, problem-solving, and adaptability.”
While “the environment is filled with adversity… [and] arduous and stressful conditions,” safeguards are in place to protect the physical wellbeing of the recruits.
Weather is a main concern, with flag conditions based on temperatures dictating permittable activities. Once temperatures reach 80 degrees, activities are limited to prevent heat-related illness based on the Wet Bulb, Globe Temperature Index:
To give recruits from cooler climates time to adapt, physical activity is limited during the early days of training.
Hydration is also a priority. A former MCRDPI recruit and instructor said that recruits are required to carry two full canteens at all times, and refilling stations are ample. Likewise, instructors are adamant about reminding recruits to stay hydrated.
While food is limited, recruits are given Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s), which are on average around 1,250 calories each. Sleep is also limited during the exercise, forcing the recruits to get comfortable making important decisions under extreme circumstances.
The final leg of the course is a nine-mile hike to the Iwo-Jima flag raising statue. At the symbolic location, recruits are given their eagle, globe, and anchors to represent “the completion of their arduous journey to become U.S. Marines.”