By: Candice Bresnak
Chase Guimond, an 8th grader at Saco Middle School, plans to join the Marines as soon as he gets out of high school. He has nine older siblings, four of which are brothers while the other five are sisters. In his free time, Chase enjoys going dirt biking, hunting, and playing video games. He has been hunting for over 5 years now, while he has only just started riding six months ago.
Since he was 5, Chase has always dreamed of joining the military. “I decided I wanted to join when I found out my dad and grandpa were in the military because I want to be like them.” His grandfather was in the Army, his father was in the Marines and his brothers are both currently in the Navy. Just as any boy looking to join, Chase is anticipating jumping out of planes, riding on huge boats, as well as in tanks, and shooting guns. Chase has already laid out a plan for his future service. “I plan on serving 10 years, 6 years so I can pay off my college and 4 to make some extra money when I leave.” Having to endure the hardest training of all the branches, this will be the true challenge. The annual percentage of recruits that drop out is between 11-14%.
The United States School of Infantry (SOI) has two different types of training, MCT or ITB. Chase states, “The hardest thing about the Marines is the SOI because that is probably the most physically demanding part of the Marines.” MCT, also known as Marine Combat Training, is a 29-day course in which entry-level non-infantry marines are taught the common skills needed in battle. ITB, short for Infantry Training Battalion, is a 59-day course, the goal is to train, mentor, and evaluate Marines in the infantry MOS with entry-level tasks under leadership of Combat Instructors.
One thing Chase isn’t looking forward to is boot camp. Marine boot camp is 12 weeks long and consists of the Initial Strength Test (IST). This test requires men to run 1.5 miles within 13 minutes and 30 seconds, whereas women would have 15 minutes. Men would have to do 3 pull ups or 34 push ups, women having to do 1 pull up or 15 push ups, both with a 2 minute time limit. It is also required to be able to do a 40 second plank with a 1 minute and 3 second time limit and 44 crunches with a 2 minute time limit.
The Physical Fitness Test (PFT) takes place when recruits first arrive at boot camp to evaluate stamina and physical condition. PFT has three parts, pull ups or push ups, crunches or plank pose, and a 3-mile timed run. All of these are essential components to building upper body strength and a strong core. Males must complete the 3-mile run in 28 minutes or less, while females must complete the 3-miles run in 31 minutes or less.
The Marine Corps Combat Fitness Test (CFT) stimulates the demands of battle in full combat utility uniforms and measures functional fitness. CFT has three parts to it, Movement to Contact, Ammunition Can Lifts, and Maneuver Under Fire. The Movement to Contact drill requires an 880-yard sprint to mimic the stress from running under pressure in a battle. In the Ammunition Can Lift, the Marines are required to lift a 30-pound ammunition can over head until their elbows lock out. The Maneuver Under Fire is a 300-yard course that combines many battle related challenges such as, crawling, ammunition resupply, grande throwing, agility running, and dragging and carrying another Marine. When asked about how he felt about the training, Chase responded with, “I think that the Marines are pushed too hard but if that’s what they have to do to train and make good soldiers, I think they should keep it as hard as it is.”
Chase knows what SOI and boot camp are all about and what is expected of him. That’s why he said, “I work out so it will make SOI easier and the same with boot camp… but I’m mentally prepared for the event that I don’t make it.” Whether he makes it or not, he is willing to put himself through it all just like his family members before him. He feels it is because he comes from a family of military members, he has a legacy he has to carry on, in addition to serving our country.