My memories of Parris Island are permanently ingrained in my head. Fresh out of high school, I found myself sitting near the quarter deck inside a barracks that belonged to second battalion, Fox Company along with 60 other recruits. A short ceremony was initiated where the commanding officer would bless and affirm three drill instructors (DI) of their duty – train and graduate Platoon 2018.
Once this formality ended, all hell broke loose. The three DIs swept through the barracks tossing gear and berating us. I couldn’t decipher what was being said, much less what the hell I was supposed to be doing at that moment. Shock and awe. I was assigned a laundry number, #20 in my case, that became my identity. In boot camp, you quickly learn how to act and what not to do or say.
The intimidation factor used by my drill instructors eventually subsided. As a matter of fact, it eventually became hilarious when the DIs would attack, like a pack of starving wolves, a fellow recruit who had just screwed up. I remember near the end of recruit training, where my DI was getting in someone’s ass and I let out a laugh while standing at attention on-line. He quickly formulated who it was, Recruit Dwyer! I spent the next week doing push-ups and pull-ups in reps of hundreds.
Marine Corps drill instructors have been notorious for me since seeing the movie, Full Metal Jacket. For those who have earned the title, you know what I’m talking about. I have tremendous respect for Marine DIs. In order to qualify for drill instructor school you have to be of the highest caliber. Today I can recite everyone of my DIs names. They broke us down as indiduals and transformed us into a team of extraordinary men. For this, I am forever grateful and forever a United States Marine.
Watch as Drill instructors with India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, conduct an inspection of recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California, May 13, 2016. The drill instructors inspected recruits on the proper wear of their uniforms, the cleanliness of their rifles and their knowledge of Marine Corps history and traditions.
Feature image courtesy of guns.com