On the Island

It was 32 years ago this week I went to Parris Island for 3 months to become a Marine. I was on the island on the anniversary. I still dream about it occasionally. It is clear from the moment you arrive that the rules, standards, and expectations have changed. In very short order you lose your clothes, your hair and your identity.

If you complete your training, you will become one of them. Until that day, your fate rests in the hands of the Marines that wear the Hat. They seem to set an unreachable standard, of fitness, training, appearance and attitude. How they got like that isn’t something recruits think about, they have their own set of concerns.

Marine Corps Drill Instructors undergo a training regimen that would make boot camp look like a simple summer camp. These Marines, while not at war, are still paying a high price to meet the demands and expectations of the billet they are assigned to. In a way that few other jobs are, even in the military, the job of a Marine Corps Drill Instructor is an all consuming one. They work training recruits, not just pushing the recruits, but pushing themselves to be the living example of what it is to be a Marine.

This picture was taken last Friday at Morning Colors:

These recruits are entrusted to my care.
I will train them to the best of my ability.
I will develop them into smartly disciplined, physically fit, basically trained Marines, thoroughly indoctrinated in love of Corps and country.
I will demand of them, and demonstrate by my own example, the highest standards of personal conduct, morality and professional skill.

–The Drill Instructor’s Pledge