Drill instructors literally scream so hard at recruits that they can pass out, give themselves hernias, or do serious and permanent damage to their vocal chords. That’s why they spend a lot of time at DI school learning to project from their diaphragms.
Even so, most DIs develop that raspy “frog voice.” Losing their voice is inevitable, especially during the first phase of boot camp when orders are constantly barked. But at school, they try to teach new DIs how to prevent voice problems turning into something permanent, Craven said.
Staff Sgt. Antonio Curry, a drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, barks out orders to his platoon of fresh recruits.
Photo Credit: Sgt. Kuande Hall/Marine Corps
Still, they need to speak loudly enough for about 100 recruits to hear them, and that requires practice. Schoolhouse instructors will stand a set number of paces away from the Marines as they learn to project their voices, he said.
While they do lose their voices on occasion, they have become masters at getting it back fast. Craven said the treatment is similar to soothing a sore throat, including hot water with honey and lemon. But Sgt. Melissa Sandoval, a DI with 4th Recruit Training Battalion here, said some DIs get a little more creative.
She drinks hot tea followed by a cold drink, she said. But she has also tried pickle juice or lime juice mixed with salt.
“It’s something about the vinegar or the acid in the lime juice,” she said. “It helps the lining of the throat.”