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Training


Before the Vietnam War, male Marines spent 80 days in recruit training, and then received four weeks of Individual Combat Training before their first assignment. Marines who did not go to a formal school, a group that included most Marines assigned to the ground combat arms, required a further 90 days of on-the-job training (OJT) before the Marine Coq->s considered them to be fully trained in their specialty. A new recruit was not supposed to be sent overseas until he had completed his OJT, more than six months after his first day of boor camp.


The Vietnam buildup quickly forced the Marine Corps to shorten its training pipeline. In September 1965, the Marine Corps reduced the time a new recruit spent in training before going overseas to four months, the minimum time recjuired by law. Boot camp was reduced from HO to 60 days; tor all Marines save infantrymen. Individual Combat Training was reduced from four to two weeks; and OJT was replaced by a short period of formal instruction, usually lasting four weeks, called Basic Specialist Training. Infantrymen continued to receive four weeks of Individual Combat Training, but almost all of them spent only two weeks at their Basic Specialist Training. Finally, all lance corporals and below received 15 days Southeast Asia Orientation Training over a three-week period at Camp Pendleton's Staging Battalion before leaving for Vietnam. In January 1968 recruit training was again reduced, ro 56 days. This reduced total training time

Department of Defense (USMC) Photo A602339

A Marine recruit platoon at Parris Island starts the day with a morning run in formation complete with platoon guidon. Despite the shortening of the training cycle, Marine recruit training still emphasized physical fitness.








Page 561 (1968: The Defining Year)