New Marine: ‘I’d do it again’

Newly minted US Marine PFC Teia Chutaro at her May 6 graduation from basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego. Photo: Suzanne Chutaro.

KAREN EARNSHAW

When US Marines Corps Private First Class Teia Chutaro took part in the grueling, three-day training exercise that marks the culmination of boot camp her ankles were already swollen from being sprained and one of her Achilles tendons was strained.

Known as The Crucible, the famous event included a 45-mile hike over hills while carrying a rifle and a 55-pound bag of equipment. Over the three days, participants were only allowed three hours of sleep each night.

When Teia’s mother Suzanne saw her at the graduation ceremony at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, on May 6, she saw her daughter’s bruised knuckles and elbows that were calloused and black and all she wanted to do was to take her home and heal her wounds.

“But you could see she was really feeling her accomplishments,” said Suzanne. “She had an aura. I saw her as being a strong, confident woman.”

Teia told Suzanne: “At the end of the day, would I do it again? Yes, I would. It was hard, but it really builds you up.”
During the 13-week boot camp, the 50-plus female recruits were tested alongside 390 males. “The male members were cheering the girls along. And the girls actually won some of the fitness tests,” Suzanne said.

“One time on The Crucible she fell behind her platoon and a guy in the platoon behind pushed her forward and back into her platoon. There was a lot of camaraderie on the hike and a lot of teamwork to make sure nobody falls behind.”

New Marine Teia is now at Camp Pendleton for a month-long infantry course.

“You’d think that boot camp was the worst, but they describe this month as ‘The Crucible on steroids,’” Suzanne said. Fortunately, however, the constant yelling by drill sergeants that the recruits had to endure for three months has ended.

Private First Class Teia Chutaro, who earned her Sharpshooter Medal at boot camp, is on her way in the military world. Oorah!

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