“We will give every effort to train you, even after some of you have given up on yourselves.”
If this sounds familiar, then you might be a Marine.
The line is from the senior drill instructor’s speech that is given during pick-up: The day that recruits meet the drill instructors who will transform them from “nasty” civilians into United States Marines.
At Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island in South Carolina, recruits go through pick-up on Saturday. At Recruit Depot San Diego in California, recruits are transferred over to their drill instructors on Friday, colloquially referred to as “Black Friday.”
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Like everything else in boot camp, the speech is done by the numbers. After the recruits go through receiving, a multi-day in-processing period, they are delivered to their drill instructors.
According to Capt. Gregory Carroll, a Marine spokesman, the company and series commanders will make their introductions and then the drill instructors will make their pledge before the recruits:
“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. I will demand of them and demonstrate by my own example the highest standards of personal conduct, morality, and professional skill.”
Next, the senior drill instructor delivers another speech in it’s entirety. A Marine Corps video by Sgt. Joseph Lamb shows Staff Sgt. Jason May, a senior drill instructor at Recruit Depot San Diego, as he gives the speech to his or her recruits.
At the end of the speech, May hands the platoon over to its waiting drill instructors before the video fades to black. What follows offscreen is sure to be a whirlwind of screaming, knife hands, cries of “yes, sir,” “no sir,” and “aye-aye sir,” and a few freshly shed tears.
Original U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Erick Claros Villalta