To be honest, most of the things that happen in the Corps have little purpose other than to mess with you and keep you miserable. In reality, infantry Marines probably don’t really need to go to SOI at all. Well, the weapons MOS’s probably should learn some baseline stuff specific to their jobs like mortars and the soon-to-be-defunct Assaultmen; but the rest can and probably should just be taught on the fly. ITB and SOI teach you one set of skills that are rarely translated into the fleet, at least not specifically. I suppose there’s merit to doing the multitude of hikes across the alpha shelf of Camp Pendleton, but very little else is going to make it to your final destination.
When I arrived at 3/3 in Hawaii, I was told nearly this same thing.
Forget everything you’ve learned so far.
Well. Shit. I mean. That’s all I’ve got. The MCRD recruit depot doesn’t teach you how to do convoy operations in Iraq, nor does ITB–but that’s what I ended up doing when it mattered most. The idea of boot camp itself has shifted from being an actual training event to being more of a symbolic rite of passage. “Breaking you down” is more important for boot camp than any knowledge you’re taught. It’s worth noting, however, that there were actually Marines in the Korean War that never even went to boot camp, yet earned the title of Marine on the battlefield.
At the very least, I learned in boot camp that you can have pink eye in both eyes coupled with pneumonia all at once, and it fucking sucks.
On a sidenote, shout out to Bridgeport, where I’ll be freezing my balls off next week with the Marines in the field. As well, shout out to Publisher’s Weekly for giving the upcoming Terminal Lance Ultimate Omnibus some kind words, including comparing me to the legendary Bill Mauldin. I’m incredibly honored to be held in such high regard, and the Ultimate Omnibus is available April 24th in stores everywhere, preorder now!