You would think that the best thing for a generation of “snowflakes” would be spending a few months in Marine Corps Boot Camp.
But four Marine Drill Instructors, SSgt Burke, SSgt Bacchus, SSgt Lucena-Martinez and Sgt Gress may feel differently after their experience with a recent platoon.
The men face arraignment today on criminal charges.
As a Marine veteran myself, and not one of those grizzled, salty, “back in my day” types, reading through the list of allegations left me saddened at the general decline of “hardness” and the lack of adventure in millennials.
Before getting into the allegations against these drill instructors, let me back up a bit and explain why there was an investigation.
Last March, Pvt Raheel Sidiqqui died after falling from a third-story landing. Sidiqqui was supposedly running away from a drill instructor.
The private’s family petitioned the Obama White House for an investigation following the young man’s death, and the investigation was granted (which I believe is reasonable).
However, the investigative process, especially in the Marine Corps, is an exhaustive process that looks for ANY wrongdoing and punishes those actions beyond reason.
Essentially, because of a tragic accident in which Pvt Sidiqqui died while improperly running from a drill instructor, four men will, at least, have their careers ruined.
So let’s discuss the allegations of misconduct outside of Sidiqqui’s accident.
Allegation 1: A number recruits complained that they had been forced to do “illegal calisthenics.”
First, all calisthenics should be illegal if you ask me. They suck. I don’t know what in the hell an “illegal callisthenic” is, but I was probably the victim of them daily in boot camp and never knew it.
Allegation 2: Recruits complained of being forced to do pushups and burpees, on a “dirty dungeon” floor and breathed-in dust.
F’ing please. That’s all I want to say about that. But to assuage any millennial sympathizers who may be reading this column, let me tell you about Sgt Moran.
This lean, 6’3” man with skin as dark as a witch’s soul was my Senior Drill Instructor. Moran was so intimidating, the devil himself would run from him, stumble and fall off a balcony.
There was no pleasing Sgt Moran . . . on anything . . . ever. He was a man so possessed by perfection that my fellow 63 platoon members and me became perfect in the eyes of the Marine Corps . . . but never in the eyes of Moran.
My platoon, 2103, swept every competition and training exercise against other platoons. Every . . . single . . . one. And the competition was not close.
When we graduated boot camp and became Marines, the level of training we received served all of us well.
How did Moran turn pimply teens into smart, professional warriors?
He beat our asses into the ground every moment of the day.
In the Marine Corps, there’s drill, exercise, running and then there’s “getting bent.”
Basically when you screw up, there’s a drill instructor there, in a low and slow voice, expressing disappointment and telling one or all of us to move our butts into a sand pit or the center of a squad bay, a sidewalk, the middle of a dentist’s office, or out of a chow line, to do “illegal calisthenics” until in his judgment, we learned our lessons.
In the eyes of Sgt Moran, we screwed up a lot, and I can say today, I’m a better man for it.
So again, an allegation of abuse based upon a dirty floor? Yeah . . . f’ing please.
Allegation 3: Drill instructors were accused of putting recruits in industrial-sized dryers and turning them on.
While others may be likely appalled by this allegation, I can deduce that this recruit did something stupid to get himself wet. So the DI obliged and allowed the recruit to dry himself off – otherwise, it was just plain fun.
Despite what Hollywood portrays, Marine Corps DI’s are professionals. It is highly unlikely that they will strike or harm any recruit. Their job, and they do care about their results, is to mold young men into Marines. If a recruit needs to be dried out to make that happen and no harm is done, so be it.
Allegation 4: A Muslim recruit was regularly called a “terrorist” by drill instructors.
I don’t care who you are, that’s just freaking hilarious . . . unless you’re a terrorist.
There’s no place for political correctness in Marine Corps boot camp. I had two drill instructors, two were black and two were white and all four of them were equal opportunity offenders.
While there were no direct racial slurs, Mexicans were told they could go back to picking oranges and mowing lawns, the Korean recruit was reminded regularly that Marines likely killed his northern family, and the poor effeminate white kid was forced to wear his underwear on his head at night.
But the black kids? They got it the worst . . . by the black drill instructors.
These muscled-up inner-city black recruits should have been able to physically run circles around their pudgy brothers, but all too often, they would feign exhaustion and generally slack off . . . and by the end of the hour, Sgt Moran had them in tears, regretting their decision to ever leave the hood.
So yeah, “terrorist”, that’s funny.
Allegation 5: A drill instructor saw a picture of a recruit’s sister, said she was “hot” and forced him to log into Facebook so he could meet her – although he never did.
In the everyday pansy world most Americans currently live in, this sounds totally inappropriate. In the world of Marine Corps Boot Camp, I argue that it’s encouraged behavior.
While everyone hears of how physically challenging boot camp is, the reality is that after the first month or so, your body can take any abuse that’s thrown at it. It still hurts, but you’re given the rest and food to recover each night.
The real challenge is mental . . . because war is mental hell.
Marines must be faced with situations that make them scared, doubtful, furious and depressed. Like your body, your emotions and mental capacity must be pushed to the brink to earn the coveted “Marine” title.
Messing with your family, calling your mother ugly and your dog cute is fair game in the Marine Corps.
Sadly, those allegations will likely stick on these Marine Corps drill instructors and they’ll be forced to resign or worse.
A travesty of equal consequence is that the recruits who lodged these complaints and went on to become Marines are still serving with the entitlement that they were somehow wronged.
The true injustice is that they have not suffered the trials and challenges to earn the title, “Marine.”