MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. -- Drill
instructor – every Marine remembers theirs – these words resurrect
memories of a Marine's recruit training experience no matter how
long ago they served in the Marine Corps. Drill instructors leave
eternal memories in each Marine's mind.
Regimental drillmasters, experts on the Marine Corps drill and ceremonies manual, critique recruits of Golf Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, during an initial drill evaluation Sept. 29, 2014, at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. The recruits practiced daily for four weeks in anticipation of the evaluation. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Caitlin Brink)
“There are a lot of life lessons and mentorship I learned
from my senior drill instructor as a recruit that I still
carry on to this day,” said Drill Instructor Staff Sgt. Juan
Padin, Charlie Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion.
“Doing the right thing when no one is looking and always
putting forth 100 percent effort are things I still do that
I learned from my senior drill instructor.”
instructors train recruits to become basic Marines on Parris
Island and Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. Marines who
seek to become drill instructors desire to influence and
make a difference in the lives of young men and women.
“I hope to impact Marines and spread the impact out to
many,” said Padin.
Drill instructors are often viewed
as the model of a Marine.
A Marine student attending drill instructor school listens to correction from his instructor while practicing drill at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., Oct. 15, 2015. Marines who attend drill instructor school are specially selected and the school is three months long. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by
Sgt. Melissa Karnath)
“Growing up, my father and mother had a great influence
on me for my character,” said 1st Sgt. Christopher Griffith,
the first sergeant at Parris Island's Drill Instructor
School. “In my three months of recruit training, those four
drill instructors developed me and made me into a better man
and, ultimately, the Marine I am today.”
Before earning the coveted “smokey bear” campaign cover, would-be
drill instructors are specially selected and must complete the three
month Drill Instructor School. The school develops leadership,
command presence, instructional ability, knowledge and the physical
condition of selected Marines to successfully perform the duties of
a drill instructor.”
“It was a humbling experience to train
at DI school,” said Griffith. “In the fleet, Marines were telling me
‘you're great!' Then you come to DI school, and you're not great
anymore. Your peer group is all great, and you have to compete with
The United States Marine Corps Drill Instructor Creed
reads, “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 the 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 students at
DI school train to master these skills.
“Marines have a
transformation into the land of drill instructor, just like a
civilian transformation from recruit to Marine,” said Sgt. Maj.
Donna Dunbar, sergeant major of 4th Recruit Training Battalion. “To
see Marines develop through DI school and see them do amazing things
to influence the Corps is a special process.”
Marines spend three years as a drill instructor and then return
to their previous job in the fleet or continue their passion for
teaching Marines by instructing new students at DI school.
Sgt. Yonique R. Cousins, Platoon 4026, Oscar Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, encourages a recruit to move faster during martial arts training June 16, 2015, at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program is designed to increase the warfighting capabilities of individual Marines and units, enhance Marines' self-confidence and esprit de corps and foster the warrior ethos in all Marines. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jennifer Schubert)
“Part of the special process [of making Marines] is
the taking, molding, making, shaping and transforming a
particular life, the individual [drill instructor] in charge
of that process will never be forgotten,” said Dunbar, who
served as a drill instructor and an instructor at DI school.
“Your drill instructors are emblazed upon your heart. I knew
I wanted to be part of that process.”
serve as drill instructors can be easily observed at recruit
depots wearing their campaign cover. Upon seeing that cover
and a stern face looking back at you, memories from your own
recruit training experience recoil from your past.
“We have to be strong in our
passion to maintain our legacy, so the future of the Marine
Corps will survive,” said Griffith.
By U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Melissa Karnath
Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island
Marine Corps News
The U.S. Marines
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