The Recruiting Process Part Two

Hey guys! Welcome to Part Two of The Recruiting Process. As I mentioned in Part One, this will be more about my recruitment process. Thanks again for stopping by and I hope you can learn a couple of things here that’ll make you more comfortable if you ever decide to enlist into the Marine Corps.

I first got the idea truthfully at age 16; this was all because I have always been tough on myself and wanted to make my parents proud. I went through a little phase where I believed that I wasn’t doing well enough in school or sports and therefore thought ways I could improve. This was when I started to search for information about the Marines (because come on…they are badasses!) I began to get information about the military and had my first piece of mail from the recruiters saying that they were excited that I was interested in becoming a Marine, however, due to my age I was too young to serve. I’m sure you could imagine how my family felt when they saw this. I was going to be a first-generation service member in our close family, and of all the branches, I wanted to be a Marine. The only one that served in the military was my dad in Coast Guard; however, this was before meeting my mother.

Fast forward to my senior year in high school; I had already spoken with a recruiter where I had taken my ASVAB and scored a 72 which allowed me any job I wanted as an enlisted service member. I wanted to have a job that was going to prove useful while in the service as well as a civilian. Intelligence was the field that attracted me. I had signed a contract as an 02xx MOS for the intelligence jobs, and the only thing I needed to qualify was a top-secret clearance. This is where things veered in the wrong direction. I was told that because of my biological father is a citizen of Venezuela; this would be difficult to acquire, however by signing an abandonment statement I would be able to receive the clearance so long as this document was completed.

***This small portion is out of the timeline. The reason I mentioned to make sure you look everything up and double check what you sign is because of this situation as well as other stories of recruiters trying to fill in a spot. Do I believe my recruiter wanted to screw me over? No, I give him the benefit of the doubt but do I believe he had all the correct information for my situation. No, as well. I was, later on, told during boot camp, even though I had that document, I was still not able to get a top-secret clearance and needed to sign a new contract to be reclassified. This would forever show up on my contract as me entering the Marines on an open contract. At this point, you are genuinely at the needs of the Marine Corps and can be ultimately placed in whatever job they believe you would perform best in.***

The IST exam came next, and it was a breeze, thanks to all the sports I played in high school. Cross country running made the 1.5m run simple, I believe I had finished the run in just under 10 minutes, I completed the 60 crunches in 2 minutes, and ten pull-ups which were the max required. My biggest tips to succeed on this test is to get used to running outside and doing intervals to learn to control your heart rate and breathing patterns. The only real way to get better at pull-ups is to continue doing them often, so your muscles become accustomed to your body weight. As for crunches, you will need to learn the distance your butt will be from your feet, this will allow your hip flexors to relax and forces your abs to do the work, and this will prevent your quads and hips getting irritated by the repetitive motion.

MEPS was interesting, to say the least, you are there before the sun rises and you get into large lines waiting to be admitted into the building. This is a full day event with plenty of hurrying up and waiting, you can barely talk, you can’t sleep, and you can’t have any technology on you. It honestly felt like this process could have gone much faster, especially with all the people that are standing around doing nothing. Maybe someone that has worked in MEPS could comment in the bottom and explain why I’m sure you guys have other stuff to do. Just know that everyone going through processing stares at you wondering why this is taking so long. We covered all the bases, blood, urinalysis, hearing, vision, movement screening, doctor physical, and a psychological evaluation. Everything went smoothly with the funniest part at MEPS being the mobility test and the weird duck walk; you’ll know why if you get there. The most awkward part was the doctor’s physical exam, and the most frustrating part was the hearing test. If you have served, you know what I’m referring to. Is it a beep or am I going crazy hearing things??? For everything you’re being tested, make sure you drink enough water beginning days before MEPS, get plenty of rest the night before, make sure to eat enough if you need to have more weight and go to the bathroom in the morning if you need to lose weight and are close. If you are within the height and weight standards, then try to avoid using the bathroom in the morning because you will have to urinate on command for the urinalysis at some point at MEPS. I was one of those that had to eat more; I was cutting it close! I believed I either weighed 120 or 125lbs when I enlisted, I left the service in August 2017 at 175 lbs, no rush to gain that muscle!

My favorite parts of the entire recruitment process were the day you first say the oath of enlistment and then the second day you do the oath prior to shipping out to basic training. The first day you realize that you have committed to joining an elite military force and then the second time you realize that holy crap…this is really happening! Being from Miami, the city loves their military; I received a couple of letters of appreciation from the Mayor and a couple of other members in political positions. We even had a small event hosted in honor of all the people that were going to be entering the service within that year by the Mayor.

Overall, the biggest takeaways from this segment are:

1) Do your research on what jobs you want

2) Don’t feel scared to ask other recruiters from different stations the same question to receive a truthful answer

3) Train your body for the IST and the PFT to make it easier, after you’re a Marine you can start to gain back your muscle.

4) Be honest while at MEPS, they are there to keep you in the service. Not the other way around.

Whether you are a civilian, military, active duty, reserve, national guard, or a veteran I am always willing to talk to you and listen. Life is tough, but suicide is never the answer. Reach out for help; it doesn’t make you weak. I will leave my email, and social media handles down below, please reach out. Again, thank you all for stopping by, and I look forward to hearing from you all! Until next week everyone, keep on pushing forward.

Written by José Calil


Snapchat: Jose.calil

Instagram: @nene.calil

Discord: Jose (Amarok07)#1723