Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
Marine Corps boot camp is renowned for turning young men and women from civilians into Marines. It is rightfully known as the most rigorous recruit training in the US military, but for some drill instructors, it just wasn't tough enough.
The Washington Post recently obtained documents detailing incidents wherein over 20 Marines have been disciplined for misconduct just at MCRD San Diego, one of two recruit depots, since 2017. That year is relevant, because Marine recruit training was supposed to be reset after the 2016 suicide death of Pvt. Raheel Siddiqui, who killed himself after being viciously hazed, which included racial and ethnic slurs and being put in an industrial clothes dryer.
SAN DIEGO —The Marines say changes in the way they train recruits and their notoriously hard-nosed drill instructors have led to fewer incidents of drill instructor misconduct, officials told the Union-Tribune.
Their statement about training followed an Oct. 5 Washington Post report revealing that more than 20 Marines at the San Diego boot camp have been disciplined for misconduct since 2017, including cases of physical attacks and racist and homophobic slurs. The story also was published in the Union-Tribune.
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.
Lance Cpl. Caleb Eudy first stepped on the yellow footprints in 2016, and on April 26, he'll finally depart Parris Island, South Carolina as a United States Marine. Though recruit training is typically just three months long, for Eudy it was an uphill battle that took 956 days.
Just a month after arriving at boot camp, Eudy was diagnosed with Lymphoma.