Well approximately 5 hours ago Zach started "The Crucible". This is a 54 hour final exam so to speak for boot camp. It is an event that has 35 stations that could be a physical fitness station, an obstacle course, a team building course (get this bomb to that side of the river using floating turtles where 4 people must be touching the bomb at all times but never touch anything red or you're dead....that kind of a thing), combat stations (crawl the next 200 yards in the mud under the barbed wire, then go and bayonet the dummy's or small animals if you find one, when you're done with that go bash your friends with a pugil stick or a martial arts choke hold) and other exciting stations. When they complete the stations they will have hiked/jogged/run 30 miles already. They get 4 hours of sleep and 2 rations of food. Then they finish the Crucible with a 10 mile hike up "the Reaper" a largish hill/mountain where when they reach the top they are officially considered Marines. They then go straight to the Warriors breakfast of steak and Eggs. It is definitely one of the most difficult things someone can ever do physically.
I think Zach will do well. His platoon was honor platoon with its strength in the physical conditioning categories. Zach particularly has been relegated to plenty of extra IT ("Incentive Training" its the extra physical conditioning you get to do for whatever infraction a DI can think up)
I was thinking about how being a parent is running the crucible, except it goes on for years. We run obstacle courses through our house every day and particularly around our children. We hike here and there. We engage in combat skills as they grow up. We work on teamwork skills yet if they touch certain things they are dead. We are tired. Get little sleep. Teenagers make your rations scarce. Eventually we all hike up the reaper. We accomplished our goal....We will get our Warrior's breakfast in heaven. I bet you the steak is awesome in heaven.