After months of training to become a marine, recruits have to put everything they've learned together during a final test called 'The Crucible'. The Crucible is a 60-hour test where marines are pushed mentally, physically, and emotionally to make sure they're ready for the title Marine.
Lt. Col. Joseph W. Jones is the Battalion Commander for the 2nd Recruit Training Battalion. He has more than 1,000 recruits under his leadership and says everything recruits do during training is preparing them for the final test, as well as providing a solid foundation for their military career. "They come here over a three month period and we train them to become marines we instill them with some intangible qualities and we teach them some tangible skills" says Jones.
During the Crucible, marine recruits do everything from pulling an injured marine to safety, fight with pugle sticks, cover for each other while under fire, run, move as a unit in a simulated war zone and more. "Come graduation day they walk away from here as marines thoroughly indoctrinated with the love of our corps and country and are prepared to go on to serve the corps and the nation. It's a really impactful event on me personally and professionally it is pretty profound to watch" says Jones.
Leesburg, Georgia native Payne Davis says the Crucible is an experience he'll never forget and says it was one of the hardest things he's ever done in his life. "You see why everything was done at the Crucible. Everything has a purpose and as long as you can remember that, you'll be able to survive here" says Davis.
After successful completion of The Crucible, recruits are called a marine for the first time. An experience many say brings an overwhelming sense of pride, honor, and accomplishment.