The life of a USMC Drill Instructor
By Ashley Horsley | Being a USMC Drill Instructor is no joke; it’s an honor for the ones that are chosen for the 36 month duty. Drill Instructors make Marines, and are considered to be very hard working and valuable men and women of the Corps. They must be in top physical shape, be financially stable, have an outstanding record and be committed to the Marine Corps. These men and woman of the Marine Corps need to be squared away and most importantly eat, sleep and breathe the values and honors of what a Marine stands for.
In order to become a Drill Instructor, the Marines that meet the requirements must first attend the 12-week Drill Instructor School that is located at either Marine Corps Depot Parris Island, SC or San Diego, CA. Parris Island is the only Marine Corps Depot that has female recruits. During Drill Instructor School, Marines work on physical fitness, leadership, time-management, professionalism and how to turn recruits into Marines.
Once a Marine graduates from Drill Instructor School they are assigned to different Battalions and put into a Company. An example of where a Drill Instructor at Parris Island would work would be: Bravo Company with 1st Battalion, Hotel Company with 2nd Battalion, Kilo Company with 3rd Battalion or Oscar Company with 4th Battalion. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions are designated for the male basic training and 4th Battalion is for the female basic training.
Once a Drill Instructor starts with their assigned Company, they must be able to stay focused at all times, prepare themselves for long hours, a lot of screaming, a huge lack of sleep, and weight loss from the 3 months of extreme basic training. Drill Instructors begin their days at 3:45 a.m. and can work until the recruits go to bed. Usually, every 3 nights a Drill Instructor has duty, which is when they must stay overnight with the recruits. Every night there must be a Drill Instructor there with their recruits, so they rotate shifts with the other Drill Instructors that are assigned to the current platoon that are training.
These men and woman of the Drill Field make huge sacrifices by dedicating their lives to making Marines.
Drill Instructors only see their family for a short time every night and there is a good chance their children are already in bed when they get home. It could be days before they see their children during a school week. They work on Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and on the 4th of July, and are lucky to get a few extra hours off to spend with their family on any holiday.
Once a Platoon graduates, the Drill instructors can go anywhere from 1-5 weeks in between platoons. During this time off they are required to report in every morning for Physical training but then they are able to spend time with their families the rest of the day as well as catch up on much needed sleep and rest their tired bodies.
An anonymous Drill Instructor from Parris Island said, “It is important to dedicate all of our time to the recruits while we are training them. Our goal is to make Marines, and in order to make Marines we must make sure they know everything about what it takes to be a Marine. We are training someone’s child how to fight for our country, and I want to make sure they have the survival skills they need when it is their turn to deploy. Every time I graduate a new platoon, I am proud and feel a great amount of accomplishment.”
Here in Beaufort, we feel lucky to have Marine Recruit Depot Parris Island here as well as Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and our Naval Hospital. We are proud of our military and proud that we walk amongst the Marine making machines, called Drill Instructors.
When you see a service member, remember to shake their hand and thank them for their service to our country.
We thank the Drill Instructors for their dedicated work to the Drill Field… and for making recruits into United States Marines.
Photos by Amanda Nicole Miller.