18 photos that capture the most intense moments of US Coast Guard boot camp

Coast Guard boot campA Drill Instructor waits for recruits to fall in to position for a &quotsmoke session," a disciplinary tool triggered by a messy barracks.Graham Flanagan/Business Insider

  • Before one can say they serve in the US Coast Guard, they must overcome myriad challenges of boot camp, located in Cape May, New Jersey.
  • There, recruits face physical and psychological tests meant to harden their resolve and prepare them for a future of service.
  • They must meet physical fitness requirements, pass a three-part swim test, and withstand eight weeks of yelling ... lots and lots of yelling.
  • Business Insider's Graham Flanagan spent four days embedded at Training Center Cape May to produce this video, an inside look at their arduous training.
  • Here are some of the more challenging moments of Coast Guard boot camp.
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1. Drill instructors wait to greet recruits the moment they step off the bus at boot camp in Cape May, New Jersey.

1. Drill instructors wait to greet recruits the moment they step off the bus at boot camp in Cape May, New Jersey.

2. Their drill instructors get up close and personal with the new arrivals.

2. Their drill instructors get up close and personal with the new arrivals.

3. For their initial physical fitness test, recruits must perform push-ups and sit-ups for 1 minute each, and pass a 1.5-mile run.

3. For their initial physical fitness test, recruits must perform push-ups and sit-ups for 1 minute each, and pass a 1.5-mile run.

4. Recruits are required to pass a three-part swim test that includes treading water for five minutes and swimming 100 meters.

4. Recruits are required to pass a three-part swim test that includes treading water for five minutes and swimming 100 meters.

5. They must also jump off of a six-foot-high platform.

5. They must also jump off of a six-foot-high platform.

6. The recruits are taught firefighting techniques as part of their professional curriculum.

6. The recruits are taught firefighting techniques as part of their professional curriculum.

7. The training is meant to simulate the conditions they may face in a shipboard fire.

7. The training is meant to simulate the conditions they may face in a shipboard fire.

8. Recruits also learn how to handle firearms.

8. Recruits also learn how to handle firearms.

9. Recruits get no rest — even during chow, drill instructors are standing by to keep them on their toes.

9. Recruits get no rest — even during chow, drill instructors are standing by to keep them on their toes.

10. Even when they're not yelling, drill instructors know how to pressure recruits.

10. Even when they're not yelling, drill instructors know how to pressure recruits.

This drill instructor calmly asks recruits Coast Guard trivia questions that they have to answer correctly before sitting down to eat.

If they answer incorrectly, they have to write down their deficiency in a notebook that their company commander will later review.

Watch this video to see the full exchange.

11. When recruits aren't meeting their standards, drill instructors take them outside for a "smoke" session.

11. When recruits aren't meeting their standards, drill instructors take them outside for a "smoke" session.

The smoke sessions are essentially physical training with a rifle that is unloaded.

12. In another disciplinary session, recruits had to hoist their water bottles over their heads for nearly 20 minutes.

12. In another disciplinary session, recruits had to hoist their water bottles over their heads for nearly 20 minutes.

13. This time, the discipline was triggered when one recruit motioned to Business Insider's camera.

13. This time, the discipline was triggered when one recruit motioned to Business Insider's camera.

The recruit gave two thumbs up, and the whole company suffered the consequences.

14. The drill instructor continues looking around the room, checking for any recruits who may not be holding their arms high enough.

14. The drill instructor continues looking around the room, checking for any recruits who may not be holding their arms high enough.

Any recruit caught slacking meant extra time for everybody.

15. Recruits requiring extra guidance because of mistakes or insufficient discipline are given red devices to indicate their status.

15. Recruits requiring extra guidance because of mistakes or insufficient discipline are given red devices to indicate their status.

16. A red vest is even worse — these recruits are separated from their company and sometimes left unsupervised.

16. A red vest is even worse — these recruits are separated from their company and sometimes left unsupervised.

These recruits are placed in a program called Recruit Attitude Motivational Program, or RAMP.

The program is meant to readjust those who have a hard time "aligning themselves with the Coast Guard core values," Chief Petty Officer Brandon Wheeley, a company commander at Cape May, told Business Insider.

17. Seen on the far left, recruits with poor performance are forced to march separately from their company.

17. Seen on the far left, recruits with poor performance are forced to march separately from their company.

18. Those who face the challenge see their determination pay off on graduation day.

18. Those who face the challenge see their determination pay off on graduation day.

For many, this is an emotional and intense moment in itself — and the first time they have seen their families in eight weeks.

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