Boot camp for the United States Marine Corp is mentally and physically challenging, to the extreme. It is described as the toughest of the basic training programs of any military branch.
Boot camp starts for all Marine recruits at a Marine Corps Recruit Depot, or MCRD. One of the most well-known MCRDs is Parris Island, located in South Carolina . There is also one in San Diego. All recruits go through a 12-week program, broken down into three phases.
The first phase, weeks one through four, takes place at the MCRD. It is the transition from civilian to recruit, and consists of physical training, martial arts and various classes such as the history of the Marine Corp.
Weeks five through nine are the second phase. The recruits move from the MCRD to another location where they learn close-combat skills and marksmanship. They also go through gas chamber training, rifle qualifications and field training. The infamous Crucible also takes place during this phase. This is an intense session that emphasizes teamwork under extreme stress. Recruits are only allowed eight hours of sleep during the 54-hour time period and each are allotted enough food for only two and a half meals.
In the final phase, recruits move back to the MCRD for an overview of all the skills learned thus far. The final week is spent in preparation for graduation and family day.