Marine Corps senior leaders have begun to express cautious openness to the idea of making the service's boot camps fully co-ed. But if Congress has its way, the service may be pushed toward full integration sooner than expected.
The final conference version of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act includes a provision that would require the service to integrate both its East Coast and West Coast entry-level training facilities within the next eight years.
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.
Marine Corps boot camp is considered one of the most difficult basic training programs of the U.S. military. From the moment new recruits arrive to the day they graduate as Marines, they face grueling physical and mental challenges that are designed to drive them to their limits and beyond.
Vincent Grano suffered from nausea and cramps for three days before alerting his drill instructor. The 19-year-old Marine recruit waited as long as he could, but his symptoms became so severe that he had to be admitted to the emergency room. Days after his release, he woke to find himself again in a hospital bed, having lost consciousness the day before. For the next month, he remained at Balboa Naval Medical Center, where he suffered from kidney failure and seizures.