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She's photographed every major war of the last 20 years. Marine Corps boot camp was something else entirely
Conflict photographer Lynsey Addario has seen a hell of a lot of combat over the past twenty years. She patrolled Afghanistan's Helmand Province with the Marines, accompanied the Army on night raids in Baghdad, took artillery fire with rebel fighters in Libya, and has taken photos in countless other wars and humanitarian disasters around the world.
Along the way, Addario captured images of plenty of women serving with pride in uniform, not only in the U.S. armed forces, but also on the battlefields of Syria, Colombia, South Sudan and Israel. Her photographs are the subject of a new article in the November 2019 special issue of National Geographic, "Women: A Century of Change," the magazine's first-ever edition written and photographed exclusively by women.
The photos showcase the wide range of goals and ideals for which these women took up arms. Addario's work includes captivating vignettes of a seasoned guerrilla fighter in the jungles of Colombia; a team of Israeli military police patrolling the streets of Jerusalem; and a unit of Kurdish women guarding ISIS refugees in Syria. Some fight to prove themselves, others seek to ignite social change in their home country, and others do it to liberate other women from the grip of ISIS.
Addario visited several active war zones for the piece, but she found herself shaken by something much closer to home: the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina.
Addario discussed her visit to boot camp and her other travels in an interview with Task & Purpose, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
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.
Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.
Some men and women attending Marine Corps boot camp are training more closely together than ever, but the training is unlikely to be fully integrated, the service's top general said this week.
Marine Corps leaders are currently reviewing the performance of the first-ever coed company that lived, trained and graduated together in March. In some areas, they performed better than other companies and in other areas worse, Commandant Gen. Robert Neller told Military.com at the Sea-Air-Space conference outside Washington, D.C.
Male and female Marine recruits could once again train together at Parris Island next year, said Lt. Gen. David Berger, who has been nominated to be the Corps' next commandant.
On March 29, the male and female Marines in India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion graduated from Parris Island. The company had one female platoon and five male platoons, marking the first time the Marine Corps had integrated men and women into the same training unit.
Overall, India Company did "very well" in terms of how recruits performed physically and how many were injured, Berger said at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday.
Pfc. Michael Dowling is one of the first Marines to go through “Phase 4” of boot camp, during which drill instructors spend the last two weeks of boot camp mentoring new Marines.
The Marine Corps is asking tough questions of itself after the death of a Muslim recruit sparked an investigation that could lead to administrative or legal action against up to 20 enlisted and officer personnel. But any dialogue about how recruits are made into Marines must also include a frank discussion about the segregated training of men and women in boot camp. Boot camp is meant to be a place of extremes, but it is also a place where negative attitudes about gender are imprinted on new recruits. The segregation of men and women at this most foundational level of indoctrination reinforces negative stereotypes about the abilities of women, breeds distrust, creates a negative impact on mental health for military women in and beyond the service.