Define Maltreatment

Define Maltreatment

The mission of a Marine Drill Instructor is to create a Marine without damaging the goods in the process. After the drowning incident at Parris Island in the 1950’s do-gooders, and those “leaders” who believed the Corps should be meshed into the other branches (both MacArthur and Eisenhower disliked the Corps), did their best to smear boot camp training methods. In 1958, at MCRDSD, I never saw a D.I. actually punch a recruit. They weren’t, however, above telling the platoon that if “Pvt. Jones” didn’t get his sh*t together, we would all suffer for it. “Jones” would then be subject to the wrath of his squad mates. Mass punishment was a very effective tool. As far as language used, the only words I didn’t hear used to a recruit were those with personal stigma (S.O.B., Mother F–, etc.)

It was suggested that some of us had mothers who didn’t have any kids that lived. Other than that, our D.I.s were extremely creative in the use of foul language. I learned that the “F” word, which describes the most wonderful human experience between a man and woman, could be used as a verb, noun, adjective – just about any function of language. That being said, I never witnessed, or heard of, maltreatment that injured, either physically or mentally. The punishments were meant to be overcome, not to defeat the spirit. When my brothers, all Marines, and I look back at the experience, it is with pride and humor. It inspired my book, “SH*TBIRD! How I Learned to Love The Corps” and, of the dozens of funny stories that I solicited from Marines across the country, I received not one that expressed any reservations that Marine Corps boot camp was at the heart of what makes it the finest military branch in the world.

Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!


  • Robert

    I was punched with a fist and called name ,mother-fer and others. It was done to toughfen me up it worked Marine for four years two in Nam.. Ooorah Semper Fi to the Did and all.

  • Bulldogman

    PI summer ’62, 3rd. Hit over the head with every part of my M14 by senior DI, including barrel and stock. Looked up (I was sitting), saw spittle running from the corner of his mouth and knew it wasn’t over yet. An uppercut broke the tops of my bottom front teeth and knocked me out. Taught me to pay VERY close attention to instructions. Love the Corps (just had EGA tattooed on upper arm) and was never the axxhole of the neighborhood, so I don’t think that it messed me up.

  • GySgt B. G. Yarbrough Boot camp May 69 to Aug 69

    May 1969 MCRDSD. Did the Drill Instructors hit recruits? Many a time we got our Gibbs. But I only seen one actually hit a recruit and that was after the recruit hit the Drill Instructor from behind. One punch and the kid was down and taken away for assault on a Drill Instructor. There were no blanket parties, just our guide and platoon leaders threatening one if we did shape up. We had an X army SPC5 from Kentucky, Dumber than mud. He got all the pranks pulled on him including when he fell asleep in the Quanset hut. One of the platoon leader got some shaving cream and put a little on this guys mouth and then pulled out his penis and put a little on the tip and then some one woke the goof. funniest moment in boot camp we had. Needless to say he didn’t make it thru boot camp. We had heard rumors that a Drill Instructor in another Plt was having their recruits watch tv with an open bayonet under them, but that was only rumor and as young impressionable recruits we believed it. Later on towards graduation we were still getting the foul mouth treatment and the Gibbs. (Gibbs… slap to the back of the head. from the character on NCIS) We didn’t call it that back then, and we sure as hell didn’t want to get one either.

  • Stan Bussanich

    MCRDSD Plt 1120 Aug-Dec 1972. Most of the time if a DI hit us it was with an opened hand slap to the head or the heal of the hand to the stomach. That’s what I got about the last week of training, 4 times. Most of the time If a recruit was going to get hit we were told to make a circle around the DI and his target and do an about face so we couldn’t see. We also had a Pvt that was called the cannibal. Doing the manual of arms and your thumb was in the wrong position, the DI would call for the cannibal and he would be instructed to bite the offending thumb until it bled. I knew even then that when we were hit it wasn’t out of pure meanness on the DI’s part. It was still a time of war and they were trying to get us as tough as possible to survive in combat.

  • Sgt Robert L Sisson

    In reply to USMC0846.
    Believe me I saw a lot get punched with a fist. I worked in a steel mill before coming in the corp so the language was no big deal and I had had my share of fights. You had to stand your ground in the mill. There were a lot of meetings after work. That is how I got in the Marines. To get to my point we had a Sgt. punch the teeth out of a guy that couldn’t make the 3 mile run. I saw a FEW guys that NEVER should have been allowed to join, We had one gut I swear broke his neck on the obstacle course. We had to jump up grab the bars pull our self up maybe 5 or 6 bars get to the top swing over and come down. The kid WOULD NOT swing over the DI stood there screaming at the kid. The kid went over head first. He was laying on the ground blood coming out of his mouth faces away from the DI the DI started kicking him yelling get up. The corpman ran over pushed the DI out of the way. They took the kid away.. I was NEVER punched in the solar plexus in my life till Boot camp. But from what my DAD said that was nothing compared to what they went through in 1942. I was in Platoon 298 July 1968 All this said The MARINE CORP was the best thing that EVER happened to me I was going down the wrong road before the corp THANK YOU JUDGE SWEET,

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