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Digging deep to lead from the front

4 Sep 2013 | Cpl. Natalie Coffman

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. – Physical training instructors at the Officer Candidates School, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., mold and motivate the future Marine Corps officers. It is their job to train, screen and evaluate the physical aptitude of those who wish to become new leaders in the organization. PTI positions are only occupied by Marines who have proven they are able to meet high physical standards and show outstanding leadership potential.

Cpl. Jessie Espinal, a PTI in-training, said that, to be considered for the position, eligible Marines must have a first-class Physical Fitness Test and Combat Fitness Test before a screening process can occur. The Marines must then hold an exercise demonstration where they will be evaluated for physical abilities and confidence. 


“You need to be loud and motivating,” said Espinal. “People think being a PTI is just about being physically fit but it's not. If you have no command presence in front of the candidates then you're just another guy who can PT.”

Cpl. Alan Young, a PTI at OCS, agrees that having confidence is just one important characteristic, among many, a PTI must possess.

“To become a PTI, you need to be someone who is mature,” said Young. “You need to show you're someone who can handle responsibility, and especially have confidence, because the people you talk to and brief on a daily basis will be higher ranking than you.”

Young also said it's his audience that keeps him on his toes and brings him the motivation to bring his best to the table every morning.

“I know I have to perform at 100 percent every day. You're in charge of an entire company. The people you're training are smart. You need to show everybody you know what you're talking about.”

Young said training to become a PTI comes with challenges but carries great rewards with hard work, and he has been recognized for his achievements.

“In the beginning you can experience some stage fright, and it might be a little intimidating, but once you gain that confidence, it will show. You’ll get the hang of it and get respect.”