Military Life

6 tips to help you survive the notorious 'Crucible'

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Yamil Casarreal)

Since 1996, "the Crucible" has been the subject of Marine recruits' nightmares. It serves as the final test you must complete in order to officially and finally earn the title of United States Marine. During this 54-hour event, your platoon is split into squads, each led by one of your drill instructors, and each recruit must take a crack at being squad leader.

Throughout boot camp, you become accustomed to getting 8 hours of sleep and enjoying 3 meals per day, but during the Crucible, you'll get just 6 hours of rest and three MREs to last you the whole 54-hour period. You'll have to face down physical challenges throughout the day to test your mettle and see if you really have what it takes to be a Marine.

Here are some tips for surviving.


1. Work as a team

Most of the challenges you're going to face are team-based. You and the other recruits have developing individual strengths throughout boot camp, but you may not yet have developed great teamwork skills. The Crucible will, essentially, force you to figure it out.

Remember — you'll need this skill for the rest of your career.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Yamil Casarreal)

2. Take charge

When you're selected to be the squad leader, be loud, be firm, and don't be afraid to use the powerful voice you've spent the last three months perfecting.

Don't be a weak leader.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Joseph Jacob)

3. Plan your meals

For the love of Chesty Puller, don't scarf down your only meal for the day. Divide up your snacks and save the main meal. It sucks, but it's better than going hungry in the second half because you ate everything during the first.

Even if you plan ahead, be prepared to be hungry the whole time.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Carlin Warren)

4. Don't be afraid to do anything

Hopefully, during boot camp, you've learned the importance courage since it's one of the core values of the Corps. If you're not brave yet, the Crucible is filled with challenges that will make sure you are before you become a Marine.

Just say, "f*ck it."

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Chief Warrant Officer 2 Pete Thibodeau)

5. Be resilient

You may fail some challenges, but that doesn't mean you won't get to try again. So, don't get discouraged when you're getting smoked by a drill instructor.

Just get back up and keep moving.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Joseph Jacob)

6. Have a positive attitude

A positive outlook will get you through any situation. Even if you're sitting on the cold dirt at 3 am when it's less than 30 degrees outside, if you can find a way to be positive, you'll get through it. If you learn this during boot camp, the rest of your military career will be a piece of cake.

Embrace the suck and you'll make it through.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Yamil Casarreal)