Marine Corps boot camp is known for the toughness and brutal training conditions. Some mistake this type of training as cruel. Far from it.
Marine Corps boot camp is the only service that still separates men and women from the insane idea of integrating the sexes in boot camp.
The idea of throwing men and women together in boot camp is fine for a service like the the Air Force which trains for a different type of mission.
Never fear, political correctness is creeping through the ranks of the Marine Corps starting with boot camp.
This short 60 minutes episode shows a more gentler training experience.
First I want to give my opinion based on personal experience then I want to present the opinion on someone that went through hell.
The boot camp I went through in the 1980’s was already much different then earlier training in which a drill instructor would use a hands on approach as part of discipline and used vocabulary that was prolific and creative to say the least.
The Proud: Inside the Marine Corps
I only saw a drill instructor strike a recruit once, not a hard blow. Towards the end of boot camp an officer speaks individually to each recruit asking if you ever saw abuse or were abused by a drill instructor including the offense of a drill instructor touching you. (A drill instructor was only allowed touching a recruit to correct a position or a uniform).
Of course my answer was negative. Most of us heard the “horror” stories of Marine boot camp. We wanted to challenge ourselves. What better way then Marine boot camp? A book “The Proud: Inside the Marine Corps” was wrote in an objective manner.
The writer, Bernard Cohen, just wanted to find out what makes a Marine. No other agenda. Mr. Cohen comes to the conclusion that what makes a Marine a Marine is the training.
He goes on to say the Army has better training facilities, a higher budget and gets the best weapons first. So what makes a Marine just as good and probably a better warrior then your average soldier? Marine training that begins in boot camp that emphases a no compromise style and tough training that makes a Marine special. Marines are not only told that they are special but believe that which is the difference.
Now here are the thoughts of E.B Sledge who wrote “With the Old Breed.” Which is widely considered the best book ever written on combat as experienced and seen through the eyes of a Marine infantry man during WWII.
E, B. Sledge doesn’t glorify war but instead weaves a story of incredible hardship and death. The smell. Of all the experiences of war what stood out the most to him was the smell.
The Smell of Combat
The decaying bodies, blood, feces, spoiled food, and the burnt bodies The smell of men that hadn’t showed in weeks. The smell was so thick you could cut a knife through it.
Then there was the unbearable heat and humidity. The swarms of flies everywhere that would travel from the decaying bodies to the food they ate. There was death everywhere.
Bodies of Japanese and American’s that were left unburied were everywhere. This was the hell Sledge and his fellow Marines experienced on Peleliu and Okinawa.
In the first few pages of the book Sledge say’s of boot camp “we didn’t realize or appreciate the fact that the discipline we were learning in responding to orders under stress would mean the difference later in combat. Between success or failure, even in living or dying.”
Later towards the end of the book he said all the harassment in boot camp and the way the DI’s trained him was a factor in his survival.
The Purpose Of Marine Boot Camp
See, one of the main purposes of Marine boot camp is to put pressure on the recruit, make them do tasks under harassment and pressure.
Drill instructors are not being sadistic but instead trying to see who will break. Does anyone think it would be a good idea to insert a person in combat that would fail boot camp? Of course not. Sadly, with the more “gentler” approach those that couldn’t handle the pressure in the past may now pass with flying colors.
The Marines are doing a disservice to themselves and the people they are supposed to make Marines by taking a softer approach.
Recruits are coming from a culture where most movies and tv shows routinely drop the F word with other not so g-rated language .
This type of language is ingrained in our society but recruits are thrust into an atmosphere where they are being trained by instructors that can’t use that type of language or touch a recruit to make a point.
The recruits know drill instructor’s hands are handcuffed which gives them a chance to push back. All a Marine DI has to is lose his temper just once and his military career could be over.
The mystic of Marine boot camp is fading as political correctness intrudes on the proven, time honored training of Marines. I just hope the enemies we fight follow the same train of thought to be more “understanding and gentle” in the training of their recruits that we may end up having to fight.