One of the toughest concepts for recruits to understand (and it doesn’t occur to many at all) is that the Marine Corps has every single detail of boot camp planned out. They leave nothing to chance. They have been doing this for decades and have planned for every variance and emergency there is at boot camp. They have seen it all when it comes to recruit training.
It is easy to overlook the fact that boot camp is a methodical and well-oiled machine built on generations of Marines who excel at passing on the traditions of the Marine Corps. Many recruits can only react to what is being done to them, not why it is being done. They don’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak. All they can focus on is the drill instructor who is yelling in their face or the pain of being IT’d. They may not realize that the reason drill instructors are doing all of this to them is to condition them for a time that may come in their career when the have to react and make split second decisions amidst chaos falling down around their ears. There is a method to the madness.
Keeping recruits in a heightened state of awareness is to prepare them for a couple of things. First, it teaches them to be focused at all times in order to respond to orders quickly and decidedly. Marines can get hung up on debating the “right” decision to a situation instead of making the best decision at that moment, executing it and carrying it out. This can cause “analysis paralysis” where fear of making the wrong decision can keep Marines from making any decision at all. However, having a heightened situational awareness conditions Marines to take in the situation of their surroundings, evaluate that information and make the best decision for that situation at that time.
The second reason why Marines are trained in a heightened state of awareness is to condition them to react in times of chaos. Training for chaotic situations is necessary in order to overcome the initial fear of what is happening and do what is necessary to survive it. If a Marine hasn’t been trained to understand how it feels to hear and feel bombs going off around them or shots being fired in their direction will not know how to react when and if the real thing occurs. They could give in to fear instead of keeping his or her head and making the right call to survive.
These lessons begin in boot camp and it begins with the drill instructors. The constant state of running around, following the orders of a drill instructor to a countdown and being screamed at all contribute to valuable training for those future Marines. Because of their training they will be better prepared to react to situations quickly and decisively. Overall, this makes for a stronger, more efficient Marine Corps and that is what is most important when defending our country.
Source: Personal experience