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U.S. Marine Corps enlistee Chartre Deshong, from Recruiting Substation Carlisle, stands at attention in formation after a 4-mile hike through the Appalachian Trail in Carlisle, Penn., on Saturday, June 18, 2016. Two miles into the hike, the poolees were given 20 minutes for lunch during which proper nutrition habits were discussed. The purpose of the hike was to provide training as well as mentorship to female poolees by teaching them the proper way to pack and carry heavy loads during hikes prior to leaving for boot camp. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Anne K. Henry/Released)

Photo by Sgt. Anne K. Henry

Female Poolees learn injury prevention through knowledge, preparation

1 Jul 2016 | Sgt. Anne K. Henry 1st Marine Corps District

The hike itself was 4-miles long and required the participants to carry 20 pounds of weight from start to finish.

          “Our goal today was to teach female poolees how to properly pack a pack, how to hike with that pack and how to adjust it (to fit their body types),” said Sgt. Jacob Baron, a recruiter with Recruiting Substation Carlisle and native of Mentor, Ohio. “We want to give them confidence that they can carry a small amount of weight and slowly increase it so by the time they go to boot camp, they will feel empowered and confident with the skills they have.”

          Many of the hip injuries females suffer from during recruit training are due to a lack of knowledge and understanding on how to properly use the gear according to Baron. Knowledge is the key to reducing those injuries.

          “The packs are designed for both tall and short individuals, not just men,” explained Baron. “It’s not a man or woman type thing, its height. A lot of females are getting hurt in boot camp, and we are finding it’s because of a lack of knowledge on not knowing how to properly use the gear.”

          To address this, the Marines taught them proper packing techniques as well as how to adjust the bag prior to and during the hike.

          This was especially important to Chartre Deshong, an 18 year old poolee with RSS Carlisle who said she never knew how to properly pack for a hike and that the training from that day helped her feel more prepared for recruit training and the challenges she would face. 

          The poolees were also taught about proper nutrition.

          “Women are naturally designed differently than men and require different nutrients then their male counterparts, Baron said. “It’s important that they know it and are able to enforce it. Most people throughout their lives don’t eat properly because they were never taught properly.”

          The recruiters hope to build on this hike, the first of its kind within the RSS, to ensure the participants are well prepared by the time they reach Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island where they will undergo 13 weeks of recruit training in the hopes of earning the title U.S. Marine.

          “Today really helped prepare me for the future,” Deshong said. “I am looking forward to proving to others and to myself that I can do this.”

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