After 12 weeks of running, lunging, swimming, jabbing, shooting, learning Marine Corps history and more during boot camp; successful recruits become marines. The commanding officer of the U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, South Carolina Brigadier General Lori Reynolds says the transformation process is tough, fair, and every step has a purpose.
The day before graduation new marines participate in their last physical event during boot camp: a two mile jog with Brig. Gen. Reynolds. Reynolds says she's sure that all of her new marines are ready for the next step. "I think one of the reasons it takes us 12 weeks is because we want to be sure. We're the longest boot camp for a reason so I think as much as we can know we do know" says Reynolds.
The day after family and friends cheer on marines during their final run, the former recruits graduate as member of the Marine Corps. Lt. Col. Joseph W. Jones says after graduation the real work begins as new marines embark on their military career. "They're prepared to move on to the next stage in training, that being going on to the school of infantry, then out to their military occupational specialties, and then to their first tours in the operating forces" says Jones.
The last lap is a chance for new marines to reflect on the hard work it has taken to get to graduation, and an opportunity to get excited about their military futures.