Marine Corps Boot Camp: Jargon You Need To Know

Written by Kevin Webb

Once you get into the Delayed Entry Program (DEP), you’ll start learning that the way you talk on the street… is about to change. Marine Corps Boot Camp will introduce you to a new way of communicating, and most of it will be through yelling until your throat explodes, and screaming until veins pop and blood starts pouring from your tear ducts.

One way to get ahead of the game, is to know how to speak at Boot Camp – “Boot Camp jargon.” You need to learn what to say, what not to say, and how to ask questions. You’ll also need to know a variety of basic terms that the Marine Corps uses. For instance, there is no bathroom at Marine Corps Boot Camp. Instead, it’s called a “head.” Some of these terms will need to be utilized in the fleet after boot camp, and some people (even in the Corps) will laugh at you for still using them (like the phrase “moon beam”). Go ahead and start talking about moon beams at Marine Combat Training, and you’re Combat Instructors will make you laughing stock of the platoon… even though that’s what you were taught to say. They’ll ask you questions like “Oh, so I guess that five dollar flash light can reach the moon?!”

There are literally thousands of terms that I could go over, but in order to spare you from overload, I’m going to go over a few of the basics that you’ll need upon arrival to Marine Boot Camp.
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How to Speak “Marine” at Boot Camp

Marine Corps LanguageHead Call
Deck
Hatch
Bulkhead
Portholes
Go Fasters
Cover
Rack
Ink Stick
Moon Beam
MeaningBathroom
Ground
Door
Wall
Eye Glasses
Running Shoes
Hat
Bed
Writing Pen
Flashlight
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How to Speak to Drill Instructors at Marine Boot Camp

The Marine Corps is the only branch of the military that literally every word you speak for 3 months, must be yelled at the top of your lungs. If your Drill Instructors suspect that you aren’t giving it 110%, then you will most likely be dropped, quarter-decked or taken to the sand pit… or you might just be made to yell at the top of your lungs for 5 hours while tapping your foot, blinking your eyes, snapping your fingers, and nodding your head… all while doing lunges with a full pack on. Yeah… most likely you’ll never “talk soft” to your DI’s again.

To be fair, most of your requests will be denied, or you’ll end up paying the price for getting an answer. For instance, a head call request might be granted, but not without paying the price for asking. Let’s just say that the recruits who request the most head calls and ask the most questions usually leave Marine Boot Camp in the best physical shape 😉

For instructional purposes, the greeting of the day will always be “afternoon” in my examples. ALL CAPS is used because you WILL be yelling these phrases with every watt of energy in your body.

Make sure you’re standing at attention, and never look them in the eyes.

Recruit: “GOOD MORNING SIR! RECRUIT your last name REQUEST PERMISSION TO SPEAK TO SENIOR DRILL INSTRUCTOR their last name, SIR!”

SDI: WHAT DO YOU WANT RECRUIT!!!!!! (in the most violent response you will have ever experienced)

Recruit: THIS RECRUIT REQUESTS PERMISSION TO MAKE A HEAD CALL, SIR!

SDI: IS IT AN EMERGENCY?

Recruit: YES, SIR!

SDI: THEM SPIN IN CIRCLES AND MAKE AMBULANCE SIRENS RECRUIT!

Recruit: [Do what they say.]

SDI: Edited… you’ll just have to experience this part on your own 😉

About the author

Kevin Webb

1 Comment

  • my boyfriend got sent to boot camp at paris island.. may 6th… what is going on right now there??

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