By Sgt. Walter D. Marino II, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. -- style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; line-height: 24px; margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">Some obstacles can be performed individually, but certain tests are impossible without teamwork. Recruits of Mike Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, utilized just that for their biggest test in recruit training, the Crucible, at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Aug. 20.
The Crucible is a 54-hour exercise that tests the skills recruits have learned throughout recruit training by forcing them to hike to different obstacles with very little sleep and food.
Each obstacle is different, but one common theme throughout the various challenges is the necessity for teamwork.
In particular, it proved mission essential for Company M to work together for Gonzalez’s Challenge.
The obstacle required recruits to utilize a hanging rope to swing each member of their group to four separate platforms without hitting the ground, which signified a casualty and required the recruit to perform an exercise before returning to the team. Following completion on the platform section, recruits then assisted each other over a wall approximately 15-feet tall.
The recruits of Platoon 3263 had a rough start. The first six recruits were unable to swing to the next platform without touching their feet.
Fortunately, Recruit Robert C. Belshe was able to learn from their mistakes and successfully assisted in placing one recruit on each platform.
From there the mission was smooth sailing. Having a recruit on each platform allowed them to help each other swing with ease.
“We’re taught to work smarter not harder,” said the Dallas native, Belshe. “Teamwork is very important, if you don’t have clean teamwork, it slows everything down.”
Belshe explained successful teamwork only happens when recruits treat each other with respect while working together, and he believes that it was key to their success.
“If you yell at everyone, then everyone gets flustered,” said Belshe. “You have to have respect for the people you’re leading, otherwise they won’t have respect for you.”
After recruits finished the first half of Gonzales’s Challenge, they quickly applied the same teamwork when they encountered the large wall they needed to climb.
Two of their strongest recruits quickly climbed the wall and outstretched their arms for the recruits below. At the foot of the wall, recruits helped push each other to the middle of the wall. With recruits at the top and bottom of the wall, they worked together to successfully complete the mission.
“The Crucible is pretty physically exhausting, but this exercise was a mental fatigue,” said Recruit Evan C. Marchildon. “The entire Crucible requires you to rely on everyone putting out 100 percent. It’s all teamwork.”