San Diego – Day 1

To travel from Yosemite to San Diego is quite a faff.  First there is a local bus to the Merced station (45 min, $7).  Then I took Amtrak connections ($52) – first a train to Bakersfield (3.5 hrs), then a bus to Los Angeles (2.5 hrs), then another train to San Diego (1.5 hrs).

California

I arrived at 11.30pm and checked in to the HI Hostel.

The next day I had an appointment at the USMC Recruit Depot!  This was actually a few weeks in the making and nearly didn’t come off.  But there have to be some perks for being in the army.  I will do an article for the Army News so this will be quite brief, and I haven’t included some of the better photos.  Intellectual property, you know.

First stop – a squad bay.

A whole platoon (60-70 men) is billeted in one room

Next stop – the rapelling tower

This is more a confidence-building activity. The recruits are not allowed to encourage one another because "it's not high school"

A war cry is compulsory

Next stop – a PFT.

The arm is to ensure they don't do cheat pull-ups

Next stop – a graduation parade.  It was very moto.

440 Marines on parade

Drill instructors

Next stop – chow hall.

Looks cosy, but the recruits aren't allowed to talk

Next stop – a drill lesson.

No 21 paces here

Next stop – outside a squad bay, because I was supposed to listen to a ‘guided discussion’, but they had already done it that morning when they had extra time – thus giving time for MORE DRILL.

You can never have too much drill.

Last stop – the obstacle course.

Luxury tropical one without icy Waiouru river at the bottom.

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