The Crucible: Inside the punishing, final boot camp challenge for US Marines

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The Crucible is the final challenge in the U.S. Marines boot camp that recruits must complete in order to become a Marine. It is the culmination of 12 weeks of marksmanship, firing range, combat water survival and physical training.

The Crucible consists of drills and training with 60 lbs. of gear over 48 miles within 54 hours, given only two meals and six hours or less to sleep. It’s a brutal mental and physical challenge that marks a young man’s transformation into a Marine.

Teams of recruits work together day and night to overcome obstacles and team challenges. Although the length of the Crucible spans 48 miles, that doesn’t include the drills and other physical demands that make it even more brutal. Combat assault courses, the leadership reaction course, and the team-building warrior stations are met along the way, on top of the total mileage.

As part of the Midwest Marines Educator Workshop in February, WGN Radio was given rare, unbridled access to the emotional Eagle, Globe and Anchor pinning ceremony atop the Reaper at Camp Pendleton, the steep, 700-foot-tall mountain that signifies the accomplishment of the Crucible.

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