Marine Corps recruiters say they're starting to experience the effects of the war in Iraq. They describe increasing difficulty in recruiters' efforts to encourage young men and women to sign up for service as Marines and agree to additional tours of duty in Iraq.
The commandant of the Marines has announced plans to place another 250 recruiters on the streets during the next two years, along with re–enlistment bonuses of up to $35,000 to keep Marines from leaving after completing their first tour.
For the first time in nearly three decades, recruits joining the armed forces know they'll probably be going to war once they are properly trained.
Marine Corps recruit training hasn't changed a whole lot over the years.
The goal is still to take a raw recruit and turn them into a Marine in 13 weeks. The first step in that training is clearly marked by a pair of yellow footprints.
For decades recruits have been getting off the bus late at night–greeted by a Drill Instructor. "They'll remember the yellow footprints until they leave–whenever they die," says Marine Drill Instructor SSgt. Ryan Schepis
Once inside the recruits get their world famous haircut. They lose all of their outside possessions and they prepare to be trained like thousand of recruits before them.
Over the next three months these recruits will face physical and mental obstacles that will challenge their heart and determination.
For the next six days we'll show you some of those challenges and how the training prepares the recruits to handle them.