Drill Instructors:  Pit Bulls of the Marine Corps

Drill Instructors: Pit Bulls of the Marine Corps examine the world of the US Marine Corps Drill Instructor. No matter how salty your Marine Corps is or was, you will never for get these crazy motivators! These Marines that worked tireless hours to fully indoctrinate us into Marine corps life.

Throughout a Marine’s career, there will be some point somewhere, that they mention their Drill Instructors in passing conversation.  Many junior Marines, knowing nothing more of the Fleet will take about their Drill Instructors and bootcamp constantly.  Yet there has been many Drill Instructors do some mind-blowing things in order to break a recruit down.  Using a vast amount of “group” punishment, in order to instill in recruits the drive to police each other, and enhance cohesion.

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To Become a Marine

Selflessness, obedience, and fraternity are all etched into the very hardwire of the recruits brain before they are allowed to make the transition.  Getting to this point isn’t just challenging for the recruits.  The Marine Drill Instructor can spend an excess of 120 hours per week with their recruits.  They must destroy the individual sense of self, in order to mold a cohesive entity.  This entity must be able to receive and obey orders without question.  One person can completely disable a units fighting capability.  So this step is the most vital and requires vast attention.

Recruits begin to be stripped of their identity the moment they enter Bootcamp and place their feet upon the “Yellow Footprints.”  They no longer refer to themselves as “I” but “this recruit.” The entire time they refer to their Drill Instructors and all other military personnel as “Sir.”  Until that day they reach out with their calloused hands and grab the coveted Eagle, Globe, and Anchor.

The Marine Corps does not have the time, drive, or resources to pamper individuality.  The moment a new Platoon arrives at their designated squad bay, the hazing begins.  This is referred to as is “Black Friday.”  The day the Recruits, after one week of receiving, finally met their Drill Instructor.

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Drill Instructor Values

The common saying is “first impressions are everything.” A Drill Instructor has this one prime oppurtunity to show the Recruit under their charge that they are the ruthless pit bulls of the Marine Corps.  One mistake in military bearing, knowledge, conduct, fitness, or close order drill must lead to immediate correction.  To do this, the Drill Instructor’s knowledge and proficiency on these subjects must be beyond average.  This is the Marine way, to lead by example from the front.

Preparing for this, the Drill Instructor undergoes 90 days of rigorous training in Drill Instructor School.  The school teaches Drill instructor candidates the daunting task of transforming civilians into United States Marines.  To do this, the Drill Instructor candidates repeat the training that they will one day give their Recruits to mastery.  At the same time having to keep up on course academics, uniforms, racks, and wall lockers.

After completing school the Marine is allowed to wear a green Duty Belt, with the campaign cover, and finally becomes a Drill Instructor.  The school was nothing, now the Marine must live up to the title “Drill Instructor.” The real test is their very first year.  Drill Instructor Sgt Ledesma says, “Your first year you are trying to adjust to the training schedule, lack of sleep, and how tired your body is.  But no matter how bad your body hurts, there is one mission America has trusted us to do and that’s to make Marines.  At the end of the day, it’s not about me, it’s about them.  It’s about giving America a better, productive member, of society.”

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A Drill Instructors Training Cycle

The first year can be very taxing on a persons body.  Cycle after cycle of Recruits can take its toll and some Drill Instructors easily loose 20-30 lbs during the first few cycles.  Yet this does not deter them.  When these Marines became Drill Instructors they took an oath, laid out in the Drill Instructor Creed which states:

“These recruits are entrusted to my care.  I will train them to the best of my ability.  I will develop them into smartly disciplined, physically fit, basically trained Marines, thoroughly indoctrinated in love of Corps and country.  I will demand of them and demonstrate by my own example, the highest standards of personal conduct, morality, and professional skill.”

Courage, Honor, and Commitment

This oath, like any a Marine takes, is sacred.  We will stand by our oath with all of our strength and might, even unto death.  Marine Corps Drill Instructors have one of the toughest jobs in the military.  An untrained recruit could cost lives on the battlefield.  Devil Dog Shirts recognizes the necessity of Drill Instructors in our Marine Corps.  By their conduct, Marines have a shining example of Courage, Honor, and Commitment.

As Marines, we live by those three sacred values!

Living by an a strict code of conduct require internal strength and discipline.  One forged by the resolve of Marine Corps Drill Instructors from day one.  The recruit can not simply read an instruction manual to endow themselves in the knowledge of Corps Values.  The Drill Instructor must constantly be self aware that their daily actions reflect the Corps Values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment.  Only by personal example and leadership can this knowledge be passed on to subordinates.

Becoming a United States Marine is not something that happens overnight.  It is a meticulous transformation cultivated by the guidance of Drill Instructors.  A recruit would never have the eyes to see past themselves and survive as a unit without the direction of their Drill Instructors.  The word “Marine” would cease to exist without our Drill Instructors!

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