After graduating from USMC Boot Camp, I went home on a short break of leave, and then went to the Infantry Training Battalion (ITB), School of Infantry (SOI) (WEST) on Camp Pendleton, CA. Once I reported for duty, i was attached to Delta Company, ITB. I began training as an Infantry Rifleman, conducting an initial 4 weeks of general Infantry Training, followed by another 4 and a half weeks or so of training to be an 0311 Infantry Rifleman. I broke my foot on the Final 20 kilometer hike, but I still completed it! Unfortunately, I was dropped to the “Rehab” platoon due to the injury.
After recovering from my injury, I was then sent back to Delta Company, and completed my Infantry Training February of 2004. During my time at ITB, I learned what it takes to be a Grunt. I almost gave up after breaking my foot. I thought that this injury would be the end of me. I had two stress fractures in my left foot, and the doctor told me I may not be able to continue. I had to report to my company First Sergeant after it was reported to him that I wanted out. After that disappointed and depressing meeting, I was pushed to the Rehab Platoon.
While there, I was able to recover quickly, and I got back out to the training company to start from the beginning. However, since I had already completed all of the training, I was assigned to the company HQ to assist the Company Staff. They remembered me from the previous class, and saw that I had already completed training all the way through the last week. My foot started giving me problems again, so they decided to keep me in the office to recover until the final week. I did the final training exercise and graduated Feb. of 2004.
While at ITB, I learned the following
- Infantry Tactics, Techniques, and procedures.
- Basic Rifleman Skills.
- Patrolling, Urban Combat, Defensive operations, Offensive operations.
- Team Work
- Unit Coordination
- How to work the M203 grenade Launcher, M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, the AT-4 Anti-Tank rocket system, M67 Fragmentation Grenades, Smoke grenades, and communications equipment.
- Communication Skills
- Land Navigation
I still remember a great deal of my time with that Delta Company. Best group of guys in the world to have served with. I missed the guys I graduated boot camp with, they were already deployed to combat. We found out we were to be assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines out of Kane’ohe Bay, HI. The one unit that had yet deployed to combat. All of my brothers in arms in that company enlisted to go to the fight, so this was depressing news. But we pressed onward, excited about being stationed in good ol’ Hawaii.