By Ms. Veran Hill (Jackson)March 9, 2017
Fort Jackson and Parris Island are well known for transforming civilians into Soldiers and Marines who stand ready to defend the American way of life.
Five officers, one senior non-commissioned officer and 15 drill instructors from Parris Island, South Carolina visited Fort Jackson March 1-3 to share best practices for training new recruits.
"We're visiting to compare and contrast the way Army basic training produces a Soldier with basic training to produce a Marine," said Marine Capt. Richard Gehricke, company commander,
1st Recruit Training Battalion.
"It's really interesting to see what the Army drill sergeant does on a daily basis," added Gehricke.
The group observed drill sergeants interacting with Soldiers-in-Training during Physical Readiness Training, as they conducted buddy-team movement, U.S. weapons training, weapons qualification
and field training exercises. They also witnessed the coaching of Soldiers as they reacted to direct fire at the night infiltration course.
An addition to the visit was meeting Fort Jackson's senior enlisted advisor and former commandant of the U.S. Army Drill Sergeants Academy, Command Sgt. Maj. Lamont Christian who answered questions about administrative procedures that can be incorporated into Marine Corps basic training.
Gehricke had a special interest in finding out how drill sergeants reach Soldiers during down-time.
Christian mentioned a key practice of drill sergeants, "We incorporate the understanding of concurrent training and that's looped into what we're going to do next."
Christian also provided a scenario about training that emphasized, "the way we teach pretty much stays the same, but the process in the way we deliver (instructions) may change. Christian said, interaction is key and in order to learn cognitively, you have to touch and have repetition. Those
things have not changed.
"This is the only way to create a better trained Soldier at the end."
During their visit, the group toured the 120th Adjutant General (Reception) Battalion where they learned about the initial entry process.
Although the Army and Marine Corps have three phases of training, Marine Staff Sgt. Eduardo Bonilla, 1st Recruit Training Battalion drill instructor, feels the Marine Corps' basic fundamentals for a new recruit are a lot different from the Army.
"Confidence training is conducted later on and we focus longer on transitioning from a civilian to a recruit," Bonilla said.
This is done with a lot of drill and ceremony to give the recruits a basis for instant obedience to orders, Bonilla said.