A new school of infantrymen are on their way to the operating forces after completing an evolved ITB training course aimed to make more proficient Infantry Marines.
Marines are made aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depots San Diego and Paris Island. Those Marines however, are only basically trained. After their tenure at recruit training, all Marines move forward to the Infantry Training Battalion where they are separated into Marine Combat Training for non-infantry Marines, and the School of Infantry for Marines with an Infantry based military occupational specialty. Until recently, the School of Infantry was almost a follow on school to recruit training, where basically trained Marines learned the beginning foundational building blocks of war-fighting. That is all about to change.
Under the guidance of the new Commandant of the Marine Corps, the School of Infantry is set to change drastically. Previously, the program was built in a very structured way, similar to the indoctrinal school of recruit training. Students at the School of Infantry would spend a majority of their days in classroom environments while being marched from place to place by Combat Instructors. Periods of instruction were followed by periods of practical application where the newly trained Marines would simply check a box for showcasing their basic understanding of a skill. Now, that has changed. The role of the Combat Instructor has changed from that of a babysitter and a box checker, to that of a mentor who moves with and teaches each individual Marine. The combat instructor is no longer tasked with just checking a box when the Marine proves basic proficiency, they are tasked with ensuring the Marine truly understands the concept.
The aim of this new program is to create a better prepared infantryman. In the Fleet Marine Force, work-ups to deployments always have to start at the lowest common denominator, and that lowest common denominator is always the freshly minted junior Marines straight out of SOI. The hope here is that better trained Privates and Privates First Class will allow the Fleet Marine Force units to begin training at a higher level, regardless of when the fresh Marines enter the ranks of the Battalion.
Personally, I believe this evolution in the training paradigm at the School of Infantry is one that was long overdue. I'm looking forward to see how this impacts unit readiness as more Marines leave the new school and enter the operating forces.