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Here's How Marine Corps Drill Instructors Prevent 'Frog Voice'
That’s how Staff Sgt. Jake Bublitz described using his voice during his first cycle as a drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.
It was a case of “what-not-to-do,” Bublitz, now in his third cycle training recruits on the island, recently said.
“It took me a long time to get my voice to rebound when it was over,” he said, his voice hoarse and threatening to vanish, three weeks into the 13-week training cycle.
A recruit of Company A, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, endures the challenges of a senior drill instructor uniform inspection aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San DiegoU.S. Marine Corps photo
Drill instructors call it “frog voice” — that raspy effect they develop from yelling commands to recruits, yelling at recruits and, sometimes, just yelling. Yelling for hours and days and weeks on end. Yelling so much that, sometimes, all that comes out is a croak.
Or a whisper-scream.
While frog voice is an oft-joked-about feature of the depot’s aura, drill instructors such as Bublitz don’t take it lightly — all that yelling can have serious health consequences. At the depot’s Drill Instructor School, Marines learn techniques for safeguarding their bodies and vocal chords. And some drill instructors say the hardest part of their day is coming to work with sore throats and no voices — and knowing they’re going to have yell for 18 straight hours.
That’s what Staff Sgt. Thomas Phillips told Task & Purpose: “Honestly, the worst thing ever wasn’t waking up at three in the morning,” he said during a May 2016 interview that offered a behind-the-scenes glimpse at what it’s like to be a drill instructor. “(I)t was getting to work, parking my truck, and walking to the squad bay knowing I had to yell again.”
It’s not uncommon for drill instructors to spit up blood, Phillips said.
“Drill instructors literally scream so hard at recruits that they can pass out, give themselves hernias, or do serious and permanent damage to their vocal chords,” according to the Marine Corps Times.
To combat these ailments, drill instructors in training learn methods for projecting their voice and preventing injury.
Bublitz said veteran drill instructors taught him how to speak from his diaphragm and squeeze his lower abdominal muscles to be loud and clear, and to stave off a hernia.
Another technique: situational awareness. If you’re directing a platoon of about 100 recruits, Bublitz said, you have to realize where you’re standing in relation to platoon guide — the recruit leading the platoon — and how many recruits have their backs to you. If you’re yelling at someone’s back and from a distance, it’s harder for them to hear you.
Finally, Bublitz said some of his mentors taught him to yell commands with economy: “I try to limit the communications with recruits down to three to five words, unless you’re actively teaching something,” he said.
And if you teach trainees right the first time, he said, you can be even more efficient.
“Prime example: going to the chow hall,” he said.
“I told my recruits at the very beginning I’m going to say, ‘Stacks!’” he said, explaining the command for trainees to un-sling their rifles and prop them against each other, then remove their backpacks.
“And they say, ‘Stacks, aye, sir.’
U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Sabrina Nieves, a drill instructor with Platoon 4034, Oscar Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, yells orders to recruits Aug. 1, 2017, on Parris Island, S.C.U.S. Marine Corps photo
“It’s just a one-word command, and they know it from the very beginning.”
During training cycles, drill instructors might use lozenges, hot water with honey and lemon, hot tea followed by a cold drink or even pickle juice to treat their strained throats, according to the Marine Corps Times.
Bublitz stays away from the lozenges and processed sugar.
He drank deeply and often from a large jug of water as he talked about his voice, which he’s trying to safeguard ahead of his upcoming performances.
Bublitz is a singer-songwriter on the side.
He was a recent finalist in a national music competition for veterans sponsored by financial corporation USAA and media site We Are The Mighty.
He’s got an album coming out soon.
And he’s got a gig coming up this month.
©2017 The Island Packet (Hilton Head, S.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
On a military base, a black flag is bad news. That means it's too hot outside to do anything strenuous, so training and missions are put off until conditions improve.
As the climate changes, there could be plenty more black flag days ahead, especially in Florida, a new analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists found. America's military bases could see an average of an extra month of dangerously hot days by mid-century. In Florida, they could quadruple.
Pentagon data shows heat-related illnesses and injuries are on the rise in every branch of the military. Last year, nearly 2,800 troops suffered heatstroke or heat exhaustion, a roughly 50 percent jump from 2014.
"I think most of us, if we hear there are tens of thousands of cases of heat stress in our troops every year, our minds would go to where they were deployed," said Kristy Dahl, a senior climate scientist at UCS and the lead author of the study. "But more than 90% of the military cases of heatstroke happened right here at home."
BANGKOK (Reuters) - The United States and South Korea said on Sunday they will postpone upcoming military drills in an effort to bolster a stalled peace push with North Korea, even as Washington denied the move amounted to another concession to Pyongyang.
The drills, known as the Combined Flying Training Event, would have simulated air combat scenarios and involved an undisclosed number of warplanes from both the United States and South Korea.
An opening ceremony will be held Monday on Hawaii island for a military exercise with China that will involve about 100 People's Liberation Army soldiers training alongside U.S. Army counterparts.
This comes after Adm. Phil Davidson, head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, spoke on Veterans Day at Punchbowl cemetery about the "rules-based international order" that followed U.S. victory in the Pacific in World War II, and China's attempts to usurp it.
Those American standards "are even more important today," Davidson said, "as malicious actors like the Communist Party of China seek to redefine the international order through corruption, malign cyber activities, intellectual property theft, restriction of individual liberties, military coercion and the direct attempts to override other nations' sovereignty."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to "act quickly" to reach a deal with the United States, in a tweet weighing in on North Korea's criticism of his political rival former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump, who has met Kim three times since 2018 over ending the North's missile and nuclear programs, addressed Kim directly, referring to the one-party state's ruler as "Mr. Chairman".
In his tweet, Trump told Kim, "You should act quickly, get the deal done," and hinted at a further meeting, signing off "See you soon!"
It is impossible to tune out news about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump now that the hearings have become public. And this means that cable news networks and Congress are happier than pigs in manure: this story will dominate the news for the foreseeable future unless Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt get back together.
But the wall-to-wall coverage of impeachment mania has also created a news desert. To those of you who would rather emigrate to North Korea than watch one more lawmaker grandstand for the cameras, I humbly offer you an oasis of news that has absolutely nothing to do with Washington intrigue.