An Infantry Marine's Boot Camp Letters

I wrote a series of letters home from Marine Corps Recruit Training between April – June 2004. I trained at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego with Platoon 1075, Delta Company.

I entered the Marine Corps at a very interesting time. In April of 2004, the Marine Corps began the first battle of Fallujah. Up until October of 2003, there had been very little violence. But in October I remember the insurgency was gaining hold, and it appeared there might be some war left for us to get — if you only wanted it bad enough.

So in April, we had a lot of drill instructors who had just gotten back from Iraq — and they had real combat experience. Up until then, maybe there were some Marines still in from 1991, but for the most part, it was a peacetime military. But in 2004? The first lessons learned from this new type of warfare were beginning to be learned the hard way.

And for me, someone who had chosen combat arms to go into as my MOS — it was very intimidating. Combat seems very romantic while you’re thinking about it or watching it on TV. But when training for it — it becomes another thing entirely.

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