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Future Marines from Recruiting Station San Antonio competed against their peers during the annual regional pool functions. Poolees represented their recruiting sub-stations and challenged themselves during physical fitness events with motivational help from two drill instructors from Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.

Photo by Sgt. Guadalupe Campos

Future Marines Challenge Themselves during FY18 Regional Pool Functions

12 Apr 2018 | Sgt. Guadalupe campos 8th Marine Corps District

Future Marines from all across southern Texas had a chance to show their families, their recruiters and a couple of drill instructors how strong they are during Recruiting Station San Antonio’s annual regional pool functions. These functions were hosted in Austin, San Antonio and Harlingen, Texas during two weekends in March.

 The annual regional pool functions consist of an Initial Strength Test, or IST, a tug-of-war challenge and a chance for poolees to meet drill instructors before they arrive and either recruit depots. Families were invited to see their sons and daughters complete the IST, which consists of a mile-and-a-half run, two minute timed crunch set, and an opportunity to do as many pull-ups as possible.
“These pool functions are key to see how the poolees’ physical fitness and mental fitness is”, says Staff Sgt. Jennifer Martinez, a Philadelphia, Pa. native. SSgt. Martinez is the Program Specialist for RS San Antonio. “We have them complete the IST to see how fit they are right now, the tug of war challenge to build camaraderie between recruiting sub-stations and we bring drill instructors to monitor the event so that poolees and their families know what to expect when poolees arrive at the depot.”

Poolees have to pass their IST before they are allowed to ship out to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego or Parris Island. Males have to run their mile and a half under 13 minutes, execute at least 4 dead-hang pull-ups and at least 55 crunches in under two minutes. Females must run their mile and a half under 14 minutes and 15 seconds, execute at least 1 dead-hang pull-up and at least 55 crunches in less than two minutes.
Two drill instructors from Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego attended the regional pool functions to give poolees that extra push of motivation. Sergeant Michael Franco, a drill instructor in 2nd Battalion, Fox Company, says letting poolees be around drill instructors prior to getting to recruit depot gives them a better understanding of what to expect.

 "A lot of times, recruits go into shock once they step off the yellow footprints and the receiving drill instructors start screaming at them,” says Franco, a Los Angeles, Calif. Native, “so having poolees get mentally ready for it before they become recruits is smart. Gives them a leg up, so to speak and they can get to recruit training more prepared for what the next three months of their lives will be like.”

After the physical tests and challenges were over, the poolees were gathered around RS San Antonio’s commanding officer, Maj. Christopher Richardella, and had the opportunity to ask him questions about the Marine Corps. The regional pool functions ended with medals being awarded to the male and female poolees who out-performed their peers during the event.