Reportedly “crude” remarks by US Marine Drill Instructors were deemed serious enough to warrant high-profile visits to USMC Boot Camps across the nation, according to a report.
Lt. Gen. Kevin Iiams, commander of Marine Corps Training and Education Command, took investigatory trips to MCRD Parris Island in South Carolina, as well as MCRD San Diego earlier this year.
Iiams had been prompted to take action after reading a draft on the USMC-commissioned boot camp gender integration report, which was carried out by the University of Pittsburgh.
The report, which was 700+ pages, indicated that not only were there challenges with staffing and recruit injuries but that Marine DIs used “sexually demeaning” language to such a degree that it warranted a significant chunk of the report.
“My assessment at that point was, this is not something that could actually wait,” Iiams told Marine Corps Times in an end-of-September interview. “There was no way that we could have let this go on, if this was actually still festering.”
According to the Marine Corps Times, the University of Pittsburgh’s Neuromuscular Research Laboratory and Warrior Human Performance Research Center was paid $2 million to “analyze combinations of gender-integrated training and make recommendations for models that integrate genders to the greatest extent possible while continuing to train Marines to established standards.”
While the language used was nothing that hasn’t been shown ad nauseum in movies about Marine Corps Boot Camp over the decades, such language was unacceptable for Iiams, who felt it had no place in today’s postmodern and gender-integrated Marine Corps.
Some of the language included teaching Marines to face forward with eyes locked straight ahead, as if an attractive woman with large breasts was hypothetically passing within view of a recruit in the presence of his girlfriend.
“You don’t want to get caught,” the senior drill instructor was quoted as saying in the report. “You’re not going to turn your head, right? You use your fricking (we call it) titty vision. ‘Ahh, yes, sir!’ They get all excited.”
“The way I loosen them up, I sometimes say like sexual stuff ‘cause we’re all males, just to break the ice,” the senior DI added.
While the DI noted that such language is now frowned upon, he added that it helps the DI and recruits bond in such a way that trust is developed.
“They got to giggle and get excited when you walk about stuff like that,” he said. “And it’s just the way for you to buy into them.”
Furthermore, practices as old as firearms-based warfare are now under scrutiny.
“They say that the M16 is your bitch, and to slap it as hard as you like,” one newly-graduated Marine told interviewers. “I was in a working party … and they asked us what we named our rifles, and one recruit named it after a porn star. Everyone thought that was awesome.”
This was unacceptable for Iiams, who is seemingly facing a changing tide and embracing it.
“Demeaning and degrading language is not a leadership tool right now,” he said. “And that’s what we have to continue to reiterate- that that is not part of how we train our Marines. The salty language, while that might have been something they smiled at or grinned at in some other realm, that’s not what we do as part of the Marine Corps.”
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