One recruit was called a terrorist. Another had his vest stapled to his skin. A third recruit was kicked by a Marine and a drill instructor ordered a fourth trainee to eat a pine cone.
Those are just some of the incidents that led to more than 20 Marines being disciplined at the Corps' West Coast recruit depot since 2017, officials there confirmed. At least two of those Marines are no longer in uniform as the service works to stamp out hazing and abuse at its entry-level training camps. The issue has been a renewed focus since the 2016 death of recruit Raheel Siddiqui at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina.
U.S. Marine Corps recruits of Papa Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, wait for the next command during a final drill evaluation Aug. 2, 2017, on Parris Island, S.C. (U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Joseph Jacob)
The U.S. Marine Corps continues to grapple with hazing at its storied recruit training center at Parris Island in South Carolina, where the service punished at least eight drill instructors and a number of officers for abusive behavior last year, the Washington Post reported Wednesday, citing multiple internal investigations.
The incidents uncovered by the Post involved female drill instructors in the 4th Recruit Training Battalion mistreating female recruits. Battalion drill instructors reportedly humiliated, physically assaulted, and even endangered recruits.
These incidents come despite the Corps' best efforts to curb these unacceptable and dangerous practices.
In one situation, a drill instructor allegedly made a recruit put "feces soiled underwear" on her head.
The word Marine is synonymous with action. Initiative, or taking action in the absence of clear instructions, can mean the difference between mission success or failure. However, when drill instructors stray from doctrine and regulations and employ illegal methods in a misguided attempt to make their recruits tougher, they aren't exercising initiative — they are demonstrating cruelty, poor judgment, and questionable ethics.
In a minute-long video posted to the Department of Defense’s Facebook page on May 20, Marine Corps drill instructors mercilessly taunt, scream at, and correct recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California. The video appears to show a platoon of recruits during initial drill, which is meant to test the bearing and knowledge of would-be Marines. Initial drill, like much of the first four weeks at boot camp, is a ragefest where drill instructors get to fly off the handle and have fun dousing recruits with spittle and insults. Good times.