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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.
As much as stepping on the yellow footprints is a hallowed Marine Corps tradition, there's another rite of passage that folks outside the military — like soon-to-be Marine recruits — aren't always aware of. I'm of course talking about the hair-clipper carnage that comes right after you arrive at recruit training.
Military court upholds 10-year prison term for ex-Parris Island drill instructor who abused Muslim recruits
A military court denied the appeal of a former Parris Island drill instructor sentenced to 10 years in prison for abusing three Muslim recruits, including Raheel Siddiqui of Taylor, who died during boot camp in 2016.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals reviewed the 2017 court-martial of Gunnery Sgt. Joseph A. Felix Jr. and affirmed his conviction and sentence.
In a decision issued last week, the court called Felix a "bully" whose "misconduct impacted an entire generation of Marines."
"The appellant was placed in a position of trust, charged with turning young men into Marines. He was one of their first authority figures — their first example of what a Marine was supposed to be," Senior Judge and Capt. Frank D. Hutchison wrote for the court.
"Instead of providing a positive example and conducting meaningful training, he taught his recruits, by his example, that rule-breaking was commonplace and that violence against fellow Marines was not only acceptable, but required to instill discipline. Not only did he fail to correct or report his subordinates' bad behavior, he encouraged it and participated in worse and more pervasive behavior."
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.
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.
Marines recreate 'living eagle, globe, & anchor' photo — this time with hilariously tired and pissed off recruits
A century after thousands of Marine Corps recruits, drill instructors, and officers formed up to create a "living Eagle, Globe and Anchor," at Parris Island, South Carolina, another generation has done the same.
But they didn't seem too happy about it.