How This Parris Island Drill Instructor Saved A Recruit’s Life (From A Sandwich)

U.S. Marine Corps photo

Callum Clougher is on his hands and knees, and he knows he’s in trouble.

Clougher, 19, a trainee at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, has visions of graduating boot camp, returning to college and eventually becoming an officer, but at this moment on July 24, he only sees black spots.

His vision fades as he tries to breathe.

Moments earlier, the Cape Cod, Mass., native — whose 6-foot-6-inch frame stretches like a camouflage shoelace when he stands at attention — crumples to Platoon 3060’s squad bay floor. In the same room, fellow recruits are busy cleaning rifles and ironing uniforms ahead of India Company’s commander’s inspection. And nearby, five of his comrades are doing “incentive training” (IT) — punishment exercises — for failing to properly follow orders.

“High knees,” Platoon 3060 drill instructor Sgt. Quaylain Brown said Wednesday, recalling the IT session he’d directed nine days earlier. He held his arms in front of him and raised one foot at a time as high as he could, demonstrating the movement. “Basically running in place,” he said, a hint of rasp in his voice.

On July 24, as Brown “IT’s” the disobedient recruits, he sees motion out of the corner of his right eye. Clougher is on “all fours” with his hand held to his throat. Brown knows what’s wrong.

Brown dismisses the IT session and turns to his right.

He stands over Clougher and wraps his arms around the recruit.

Before he joined the Corps in 2011, Brown, 29, took nursing classes for more than a year at Louisiana State University Eunice; before that, he served as a Navy corpsman — where he’d learned the Heimlich maneuver.

This will be his first time performing it.


“I’m the type of person who always wants to be of service to people,” Brown said, crediting his mother for his mindset.

As a child he’d sometimes accompany her on shifts at the nursing home where she worked in the family’s hometown of Abbeville, La.

“He would help with the elderly,” Angela Brown-Washington, 53, said of her son. “He would get them something to drink, play cards with them. He would take them for walks.”

He was the third of four boys, she said, but he “took on the role of big brother at an early age.”

He’d join the Navy straight out of high school; Brown-Washington remembers the day she arrived home to find a strange car in the driveway and three Navy recruiters talking to her son.

“I shoo-ed them away,” she said. “At first I was totally against it, I’ll be honest.”

But she prayed about it, and she wanted her son to choose his own path.

He first met Marine instructors at Camp Pendleton, Calif., where he completed field medical service school. Marines don’t have their own medics; they rely on Navy corpsman to do the job. But the Marine instructors he met were impressive, Brown said, and he knew he wanted to join the Corps.

Later, during his first deployment as a corpsman to the Horn of Africa, the Marines he worked with treated him as one of their own. “I just got so used to the brotherhood,” he said.

After he joined the Corps, when he earned the rank of sergeant, he immediately submitted paperwork to be a drill instructor at Parris Island. He’s served as a DI since October 2015.

Until recently, he’d never had to save a life.

Then-Cpl. Quaylain Brown, with Delta Battery, 2d Battalion, 14th Marines, 14th Marine Regiment, assigned to Marine Expeditionary Force, sets up satellite communication on top of Humvee to communicate with the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) during a Combined Joint Live Fire Exercise (CJLFEX), at Rodriguez Range, South Korea, March 26, 2014.U.S. Marine Corps photo


Now, as Brown wraps his arms around Clougher, he makes a fist, cupping it in his other hand and placing it below the recruit’s sternum.

He pumps his arms, his softball-sized biceps flexing as he does.

One “upward, motivated” thrust.

A second.

A third.


Clougher coughs up the silver-dollar-size bite of turkey sandwich that was lodged in his throat.

He’d been allowed to eat in the squad bay because he was classified as “sick-in-quarters,” having just had all four wisdom teeth removed.

“I had gotten a local anesthetic ... so I couldn’t feel my face,” he said Wednesday. “That’s why I started choking, sir. ... It was scary. ... I started seeing black dots.”

Brown was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his life-saving actions.

“These recruits are entrusted to my care,” Brown said, repeating the first line of the Drill Instructor Pledge, which he and his colleagues learned during Drill Instructor School, and which was administered to him by an officer when he took charge of Clougher’s platoon.

“I’ve always wanted to influence the future of the Corps,” he said. “It’s an honor.”

Right now, Clougher and his platoon are in their ninth week of boot camp. They just finished Basic Warrior Training. On the horizon is the Crucible, their final test.

Clougher should pass it.

His drill instructor ensured he has a chance to.



©2017 The Island Packet (Hilton Head, S.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

Take $75 off a Casper Mattress and $150 off a Wave Mattress with code TASKANDPURPOSE

And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Karl Munson pilots a 26-foot boat while Petty Officer 2nd Class Gabriel Diaz keeps an eye on a boarding team who is inspecting a 79-foot shrimp boat in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of New Orleans, La., on April 27, 2005

Radio transmissions to the U.S. Coast Guard are usually calls for help from boaters, but one captain got on the radio recently just to say thanks to the men and women who are currently working without pay.

Read More Show Less
REUTERS/Carlos Barria

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Saturday to receive the remains of four Americans killed in a suicide bombing in northern Syria.

Trump, locked in a battle with congressional Democrats that has led to a nearly month-long partial government shutdown, announced his trip via a pre-dawn tweet, saying he was going "to be with the families of 4 very special people who lost their lives in service to our Country!"

Read More Show Less

A low-flying C-17 gave Nashville residents a fright on Friday when the aircraft made several unannounced passes over the city's bustling downtown.

Read More Show Less
George W. Bush/Instagram

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.

In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.

Read More Show Less