Drill Instructors - Not So Scary Anymore

Slate has an interesting piece up on the current state of that Marine Corps Army indoctrinator, the fearsome drill instructor sergeant. I have it on good authority from my nephew, who is currently serving valiantly, that there's definite truth to this article about Teresa King, one of the first female D.I.'s currently making sure the recruits are "squared away."  It started with 9/11.
In the period after 9/11, the Army was losing about 10 percent of its volunteer recruits during boot camp, a number that was way too high, especially given the Army's trouble meeting recruitment quotas and the growing demand for troops first in Afghanistan, then in Iraq. To help keep people in basic training, drill sergeants reined in the verbal abuse and began providing more mentorship.

If a recruit is acting petulant, the drill sergeant may ask him what's wrong—or ask his friends. He'll give tips for how to get along with peers in close quarters, how to get by on an Army paycheck, and how to handle homesickness.

So, is this a step in the right direction for the military, or a laming down of the troops?


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Sorry if you are offended smak but I'm telling it like it is. I don't mean to refer to ALL younger people but I am specifically referring to those in the military who seem to have less of a military bearing than years before.

I have numerous friends in the military, and they tell me stories of guys fresh out of army basic that talk back, disrespect senior NCO's, wear their berets like pizza chefs, etc. From reading the various military message boards, this isn't uncommon. In fact I think this kind of goes along with the original subject, and relative 'coddling' of new recruits in the military today that only seems to accentuate SOME of their negative traits that basic/boot won't address.

But rest assured the people on the front lines from what I see haven't compromised by 'softening' basic. And the cream of the crop of the U.S. military like the Army Rangers and Special Forces, their indoc and assessment programs (i.e., weeding out) is as brutal as anything else in the world, and it has nothing to do with beating or demeaning soldiers either. Those guys have pride in their uniform and unit, true espirit de corps/
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@ Geek: I'm guessing you're either a Boomer or born shortly thereafter. Your smugness and attitude towards young people today reeks of either.
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I agree caveman, I think more people are aware of the jig and what's up, but I was referring to the younger generation today who make it through basic/boot. Just from reading and hearing anecdotes, seems like a lot of them don't have the proper bearing and respect. Wearing their uniforms sloppy, disrespect to senior NCO's, etc. etc.

But I think some are still missing the point here.

The infantry and other front line troops are not being watered down like the other jobs and training. Sure it may not be physically as hard as years ago, but I'd like to see if anyone out there would like to go to combat training to see if it's 'easy.' Fort Benning and Parris Island aren't part of the 'kindler, gentler' military.
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Well.... The idea that the "Free West" is fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to bring Freedom and All Curing Democracy against the Villains with long beards is just a tiny bit beside reality- That is just the Public Relations-postcard picture that is projected to us taxpaying citizens so that we can sleep comfortably and kill over there when asked to.

We don't bring freedom and peace- in fact since we went there, all hell has broken loose on a scale that is far worse than when we were not there.

The only reason why we went there is because we have to protect our economic interests. All the other given reasons are just beautiful lies.

The reaon any soldier out there fights like there is no tomorrow is because his or her government is his or her Boss and he or she has signed a contract to obey. And the moment the soldier goes into battle the only thing that counts is to stay alive, to keep his or her brothers alive and to shoot as many enemies as possible so they cannot harm him or her and his or her brothers as long as the Tour takes. And then there is a small bit of adrenaline and sensation to fill the rest. And that's all. Most soldiers I spoke out there totally forgot the Bigger Motives- They just fought for their lives and to keep their sanity. And any Bigger Motive only came back well after the fight.
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