Story by Cpl. J. R. Heins
TROY, Mich. – Twenty female Marine poolees and their guests tasted the Marine Corps’ lifestyle after going through a gauntlet of events during Marine Corps Recruiting Station Detroit’s bi-annual female pool function at the Boys and Girls Club of Troy, Michigan, June 20.
Throughout the day, the poolees participated in the Marines Corps’ Initial Strength Test and Combat Fitness Test. They were also introduced to a Marine Corps drill instructor to help them prepare for the transition from civilian to United States Marine.
The day started off with a question and answer period between the poolees and Sgt. Emily R. Welch, the operations clerk for RS Detroit.
“I like to make it as comfortable as possible for the girls,” said Welch, a native of St. Clair, Michigan.
According to Welch, she offers mentorship to the girls and answers any questions that they may have while in the Marine Corps delayed entry program.
“Remembering back to when I was in their shoes, I knew I had questions that male recruiters couldn’t confidently answer, like ‘should I bring my hair gel to Parris Island’ or ‘what family day is like?’ This is a chance for me to give them something I wish I would have had prior to shipping to Parris Island,” said Welch, who is now approaching her sixth year as a Marine.
After the poolees finished asking their questions, the training began.
The physical portion of the day started with the Initial Strength Test, which includes three events: pull-ups or a flexed-arm hang, crunches, and a 1.5 mile run for time.
According to Jena Smith, a poolee from Recruiting Sub-Station Livonia, this was the second time she has run the IST.
“I improved a lot,” said Smith. “I just didn’t give up and kept pushing myself the entire time.”
The entire day was a great learning experience, she said.
For many of the ladies, the culture shock of the Marine Corps’ hit them after being introduced to drill instructor Staff Sgt. Jason Varnadoe.
“I am looking for three things: speed, volume and intensity,” said Varnadoe, a native of Lubricity, Georgia. “These are the same three traits your drill instructor will demand from you if you make it down to Parris Island.”
Varnadoe taught the pool some basic Marine Corps drill movements.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” said Ziporah Krolikowski, a guest from Recruiting Sub¬-Station Madison Heights. “That was the first time I had seen a drill instructor, and I was trying to take in everything he said.”
According to Krolikowski, the entire day was a challenge.
The poolees finished the day with a modified Combat Fitness Test, where they heaved 30-pound ammunition cans up and down for two minutes and navigated the maneuver under fire obstacle course. The course itself included various crawls, buddy drags and carries, and sprints with ammo cans.
“My favorite event was the CFT,” said Bryce Knisley, a poolee out of Recruiting Sub-Station Bowling Green. “It felt like something I might have to do in a real life situation.”
“I’m glad we have days like this,” said Knisley, a native of Leibsie, Ohio. “You can learn a lot.”