Semper Fi in 21st Century: Modern Warfare Training

By: Zac Schultz
By: Zac Schultz

Marine Corps recruit training relies heavily on history and tradition to create warriors. But the Marines must adapt to modern warfare.

Recruits have always learned basic punches and kicks, but in the last few years they've started teaching a modified form of martial arts.

"They're just moves to keep it simple when you have combat gear on," explains one Drill Instructor.

It's designed to help Marines fight in close quarters in urban warfare with their gear on.

Another change in training occurred in the classroom. The recruits say their Drill Instructors have been emphasizing first aid, because in Iraq the best way to save your fellow Marine might not be with a gun–it might be simply to stop the bleeding.

"They've been telling us the first aid is pretty much brand new. They're pushing it so hard because of what's going on," says Kenosha recruit Corey Eliasson.

"They tell us because of the war in Iraq they've been instilling a lot of first aid in the past couple years because of injuries and they want to make sure we know how to treat another human body," says Milwaukee recruit David Bermudez.

"Nobody is going to be there to your left or your right to say, 'This is what you should do.' You're going to need to make that call," explains the Drill Instructor to the recruits.

Brigadier General John Paxton says they've always taught first aid, but returning veterans said they needed more. "As we bring people back from Afghanistan and Iraq who learn lessons–they said, 'Hey look, you're giving it to them but we need a couple hours more–we need to focus on this particular thing because there is an immediate and positive payback at the other end.'"

So these recruits are getting a heavy dose of old traditions, all the while they're learning new things on the way to becoming 21st century Marines.

General Paxton says while recruit training hasn't changed a whole lot, infantry training has been changed dramatically by new technology and new weapons.

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