The Washington Post yesterday reported that a Marine drill instructor at Parris Island stands accused of abusing a Muslim recruit.
A Muslim Marine said he was called a terrorist and ordered into an industrial clothes dryer multiple times by a drill instructor who then turned it on, burning him, according to investigative documents that provide new details about the alleged abuse of recruits at the service’s training center at Parris Island, S.C.
“You’re going to kill us all the first chance you get aren’t you, terrorist?” the drill instructor thundered at the recruit, the new Marine later alleged, according to the documents that have not been released publicly but were reviewed by The Washington Post. “What are your plans? Aren’t you a terrorist?”
The issue of hazing and abuse at Parris Island surfaced March 18, when a 20-year-old recruit with Pakistani roots — Raheel Siddiqui of Taylor, Mich. — died after leaping from a stairwell landing that was nearly 40 feet high while running away from the same drill instructor who used the dryer. The instructor had just slapped Siddiqui before he jumped. Siddiqui’s death drew public scrutiny to a culture of harsh punishments at Parris Island — one that Marine officials were already examining, the documents show.
Now, a couple of things here. I know a number of my friends and readers who are Marine Corps veterans will say, “Suck it up, Cupcake. They break you down, and they build you up stronger and better than ever. I’ve been through some shit.”
I’m not a Marine. I’m an Army vet, but I get it. Basic training is supposed to be tough. My recruiters repeatedly told me that one of the drill sergeants’ goals is to expose your weaknesses and help you overcome them. I get all this. My kid is a Marine, after all.
That said, there is a line that one crosses into unacceptable behavior, and from the report, it certainly sounds like that line was crossed.
Intentionally injuring recruits is unacceptable. Showing up drunk or drinking on the job is unacceptable. Forcing a recruit to put you in contact with his sister and pursuing her socially is unacceptable. Bribing recruits with pogey bait to keep them quiet about abuse is unacceptable. Accusing a kid who just volunteered for the toughest training of all services in order to serve his country of participating in the 9-11 attacks is unacceptable.
I will also submit that part of the drill instructors’ duty is to build esprit de corps. These recruits are supposed to learn that they can rely on their fellow servicemembers, as well as their NCOs. Accusing a recruit of being a terrorist and planning attacks on his fellow Marines isolates said recruit. Remember, this is a guy who joined the United States Armed Forces voluntarily, ostensibly to defend the country he loves. Isolating him from his brothers with accusations of terrorist plotting doesn’t exactly build that team spirit, does it? It’s a stupid strategy that does more to destroy the team, rather than build it up.
And people, this is coming from me – the least politically correct person you will meet!
Are the allegations true? I can’t tell you.
I will say I’m inclined to believe at least some of them. The sister of the recruit whom the drill sergeant approached for a date provided documentation in the form of messages. The dryer incident happened in 2015, but the accusations didn’t come to light until November 2015 – AFTER the new Marine left for the next phase of his training – and there were witnesses. I can understand a new boot sniveling about bad treatment, but this guy had already left. It was over. It was done with. Why bring it up now?
I don’t know how widespread the abuse is. My daughter survived it. Our friend David survived it. And both these Marines went through Parris Island only a couple of years ago. While both confirmed it was tough, neither one described these kinds of abuses.
I suppose it’s possible, especially if there’s actual documentation, and given the fact that a number of Marines were removed from their jobs due to allegations of hazing.
Additionally, while I am sure that the vast majority of drill instructors in every services are upstanding servicemembers and honorable men and women, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that there’s a few shitheads in every bunch. It happens! I doubt it happens often, but it happens.
I had a drill sergeant at AIT, who was only 27 years old. He was high-speed, low-drag – a Sergeant First Class at his young age. Turns out he was sticking his dick into numerous trainees on a regular basis, as well as other women who were not his wife. It was a huge scandal, and this particular drill sergeant was court-martialed, his career destroyed – all because he couldn’t keep his dick in his pants.
And while I don’t know whether the actual details of this particular investigation will all turn out to be true, I know there’s a fine line between building a Marine/Soldier/whatever and taking out your sadomasochistic tendencies on a bunch of n00bs.
It sounds like some drill sergeants need to learn where that line resides.
My only fear is that the pendulum will swing to the other extreme, and they will stop challenging recruits for fear of such complaints, and we’ll wind up with a fluffy vagina Corps, which will erode our defensive capabilities. Not liking that scenario either.