Behind the Cover: The Basic School just got a lot harder


The new program of instruction at The Basic School will show the Marine Corps’ newest officers what it means to walk to work every day.

As they go through the six-month course, the lieutenants will no longer be driven to and from the ranges for their individual field exercises. Instead, they will set out on foot from Camp Barrett aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., and — wearing all the gear they think they need — will stay in the woods for their field exercises before walking home again. Some ranges are five miles away… some are a hearty 15 miles.

TBS commander Col. Julian Dale Alford says he doesn’t “give a sh** how far they walk.” He just wants them to get out of the FOB mentality and start growing some callouses on their minds and bodies.  It’s all about getting back to the old-school austerity the Corps is known for. The staff — and the first lieutenants to go through the course — seem to like it.

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  1. I like the “wearing all the gear they think they need” idea. Maybe this will stick with those First Lieutenants as the move up the ranks. Carry what you need not what’s on some stupid list.

  2. I had the privilege to serve under Col. Alford in the fleet. If he says he’s going to implement something, it’s going to happen. He’s right, the FOB mentality needs to go away.

  3. Lt.’s are useless I’ve worked with 1 Lt and he was a sorry excuse for a leader, he didn’t have the respect from his platoon and I even called him a boot to his face in front of the whole platoon. Most officers are fobits

  4. Then, E40, you are no better than that inadequate officer. Way to set the example for the junior enlisted out there.

  5. Too bad many American civilians
    don’t have the same attitude about work ethnic! The marines give us all a great example! We could all use a little more “ohrah” like this!!

  6. That was nice of them to volunteer that the lieutenants “liked” all the hiking regardless if it was necessary training or not.

  7. Amazing the Marine Corps still has the backwards mentality of “lets be tough like the good old days” The good old days also involved outdated weapons. Training like this, also outdated. Please tell me where platoon or company elements hike to go to war? The funny thing is we rid ourselves of unnecessary foolishness to make ourselves efficient. Why not take more time for weapons familiarity, lessons learned, and situational training that will make them effective leaders. The weakest part of our Marine Corps is our officers. Everyone hunts for awards and they dont lead men.

  8. @ “Enlisted_W_degree”…

    If you were familiar with The Basic School syllabus, you’d know that there is extensive “weapons familiarity, lessons learned, and situational training.” In fact, the hours spent doing the aforementioned things far outweigh time spent hiking. As for your comment that hiking is outdated, I would disagree. I’d be interested in your Afghanistan experiences if you’d care to share them. Most would tend to agree that there is a need for officers who can strap on all of the gear, and hike/patrol all day w/o vehicles, as is often the case.

  9. I like the idea of making them walk everywhere. It builds their physical fitness and it helps them mentally for what they might experience in combat.

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