Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. (April 11, 2023): In this photo by James Frank, Marine Corps Corporal Xavier Abreu, an ammunition technician with The Basic School, does front squats while participating in the first Training and Education Command Fittest Instructor Competition held here. The Basic School is where all newly commissioned officers go to become “Leaders of Marines”, a sacred oath taken by those of “exemplary character and integrity who are mentally and physically tough.”
The Basic School at Quantico trains over 1,700 officers each year in a 28-week course during which candidates receive classroom and field training on weapons, tactics, and leadership. This extremely demanding course is divided into three phases: leadership, academics, and military skills. Officer candidates must pass a 15-mile hike, an endurance course including land navigation, and qualify in rifle and pistol marksmanship.
In the classroom, future officers attend lectures on tactical decision making, practice strategies in sand table exercises, and participate in small group discussions of historic battle scenarios. In the field, the future leaders are stressed to the maximum as they negotiate obstacles, manage platoon size actions, and engage in realistic live fire training.
It truly does take a special person to dedicate one’s life to leading Marines.