By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item
PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. — Of 5,000 recruits stationed at Parris Island, at least 93 percent will graduate from boot camp, Commanding Gen. Lori Reynolds says.
Reynolds, who is charge of the base and oversees East Coast recruiting centers, spoke Wednesday to educators and journalists during a weeklong workshop sponsored by the Marine Corps.
The Marines welcome more than 38,000 recruits each year — 2,800 of them women.
The graduation success rate for women is about 88 percent, Reynolds said.
The only other training facility is in San Diego, but that base does not train females, Reynolds said.
Those recruits who don’t succeed weren’t honest in the application process, Reynolds said, adding that some of the applicants fail to mention medical, drug and mental problems.
Applying to the Marines is not as easy as it once was — Marines today will accept no less than a high school graduate.
“With the way technology is today, we need and want our recruits to be smart,” Reynolds said. “We stress the importance of having a high school diploma before recruiting.”
Many of the graduates of a 12-week intense training program will also go on to earn a college degree while serving in the Marines, Reynolds said.
Most recruits, Reynolds said, enter Parris Island with the intention of graduating and betting themselves.
Educators grilled Reynolds with questions on what they should be telling students when asked about the Marines.
“Stay in school, get good grades and graduate,” she said. “This is your chance to get an inside look at what we do here and by the end of this workshop, if you all go home and say you don’t have an answer to a question, then shame on you. We hide nothing here and you can ask as many questions as you like.”
Parris Island employs nearly 3,500 personnel, 1,600 of which are Marines.
Among the requirements that deter people from being recruited may be the physical challenges that people believe is so strenuous.
That’s a misconception, Reynolds said.
Males are required to do two pullups, 44 crunches in two minutes and run 1½ miles in 13½ minutes.
Women need to complete a flexed arm hang for 12 seconds, 44 crunches in two minutes and run 1½ miles in 15 minutes.
Those requirements can and will be met, even if it takes extra training, Reynolds said.
“One of the main reasons for these workshops is that you, the educators and media, can clear up the misconceptions out there,” Reynolds said.
“You will be able to experience in a short time what it is we do and you will be able to relay our message to future recruits.”