Every young adult who ships off to Marine boot camp will have to stand on the famous yellow footprints and encounter one of the meanest human beings on the planet — the drill instructor.
After several intense weeks of getting yelled at and being pushed beyond their physical limits, recruits claim the title of U.S. Marine.
But, if you think becoming a Marine is insanely difficult, you should see how tough it is to earn the right to train those recruits.
Marine drill instructors from MCRD San Diego, Calif, 1987.
Now imagine a Marine so loyal to the Corps that he or she is willing to return to an environment similar to basic training and endure the struggle anew to become a drill instructor.
Since the DI candidate is already a Marine, they face much harsher criticism and critique from their instructors, who just might share the same rank. Candidates, starting in the late 1980s, have been offered a lightened version of training after Gen. Alfred M. Gray, the 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps, decided that Marine DIs were too rough on recruits.
General Alfred Grey, the 29th Marine Corps Commandant, 1987-1991.
Gen. Alfred M. Gray ordered the Corps' drill instructors to be "kinder and gentler" due to past events of hazing. Before this change, the DIs were able to get away with being extremely aggressive toward their recruits.
"[I'd] shake them a little bit," one former Marine drill instructor recalls. "[I'd] grab him by the stack and swivel."
Since the late 80s, the Marine Corps has seen several changes to their approach to training DIs. That being said, the iconic, fast-talking, wide-eyed, and high-energy drill instructor is not going anywhere.
Check out the video below to witness what it takes to become a Marine drill instructor for yourself.