Marine Corps Pvt. Mitchel A. Mertz, son of Pamela Heritage of Forest City, Pa. and Jodey Mertz of Coaldale, recently completed 12 weeks of basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S. C. designed to challenge new Marine recruits both physically and mentally.

Mertz and fellow recruits began their training at 5 a. m., by running three miles and performing calisthenics. In addition to the physical conditioning program, Mertz spent numerous hours in classroom and field assignments which included learning first aid, uniform regulations, combat water survival, marksmanship, hand-to-hand combat and assorted weapons training. They performed close order drill and operated as a small infantry unit during field training.

Mertz and other recruits also received instruction on the Marine Corps' core valueshonor, courage and commitment, and what the core values mean in guiding personal and professional conduct.

Mertz and fellow recruits ended the training phase with The Crucible, a 54-hour, team evolution culminating in an emotional ceremony in which recruits are presented the Marine Corps Emblem, and addressed as "Marines" for the first time in their careers.