New Marine training: Missions with moralsDecember 15, 1996
Web posted at: 7:00 p.m. EST
From Correspondent Jamie McIntyre
PARRIS ISLAND, South Carolina (CNN) -- The Marines call it "The Crucible" -- trial by fire, under fire.
The Marine Corps has added something extra to its already rigorous boot camp for recruits: a grueling two-day ordeal designed to instill values -- especially teamwork -- along with the skills to win battles.
"The emphasis is on the values behind the events," said Lt. Col. Michael Becker, Operations and Training chief. "The events and stations are merely vehicles that we use to reinforce the values."
It can look easy as falling off a log, but drill instructors are teaching ethics along with tactics.
"We're going back into core values: honor, courage and commitment," said Staff Sgt. David Higgins, a drill instructor.
While the Marines haven't suffered the kind of rape and sexual harassment scandal that has rocked the Army, the image of the Corps was soiled last year when two Marines raped a 12-year-old girl on Okinawa, Japan.
The Marines' top general thinks the problem begins with American culture.
"The youth of America are being bombarded by drugs, by gangs, by alcohol, by sex, by violence -- you name it," said Gen. Charles Krulak, Marine Corps commandant.
Krulak's solution is to drill values into his new recruits night and day, giving them only four hours of sleep and one meal a day in a 54-hour regimen. The program pushes their minds and bodies to the limit. The idea is not to break them down, but to build them up.
"It's not difficult as long as you have teamwork," said Marine recruit Calethia Smith.
It remains to be seen whether the newly minted Marines will emerge as "the few, the proud and the moral." But at least some of the recruits are confident in the system.
"It's going to make us better Marines, and better people," said Marine recruit Eric Holland.
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