EN 105/First Year Writing Seminar I
April 15, 2012
Brainwashed War Fighters
Marines are brainwashed, this is not an uncommon phrase to hear coming from ones mouth. In fact, aside from being called crazy that’s probably the most common thing to hear about us Marines. Once after responding to a question about recruit training and how it’s done on Parris Island a Marine was followed up with “but Marines are brainwashed.” Being the proud and disciplined Marine that he is, he responded quickly with something along the lines of, “Yes I am brainwashed, the Marine Corps has taken me and molded me into the man I am today. They took my brain out of my head and they washed it, they washed it of all those nasty civilian values.” He went on to talk about how in the process the Marines washed his mind and body clean of being a liar, cheater, and a thief. He called those three things the “Civilian values”. All of these things were then replaced with the “Core Values” of the Marine Corps Honor, Courage, and Commitment. These are the three basic things instilled into a Recruit for him/her to become a basically trained Marine. He ended his comment to the man with, “So yes your right, I’m brainwashed.” Not much was said after that.
Let me ask you this, can you brainwash a willing person? Every applicant has to make a conscious effort and decide to sign their name on that contract. At no point and time was there someone holding a gun to them saying you will join the Marines. If we are all brainwashed, what’s so bad about it? We are the ones who fight for the freedoms of the American people. We leave our families for months at a time never knowing if today is the day that I never get to see them again. When you look at it that way it’s not so bad.
There’s a process to making a Marine, and when you think about it it’s not much different than the process mothers and fathers use to raise their kids. Raising a child is nothing more than training them to become a self sustainable person. Someone who can take care of themselves, live their adult life dependant on no one. The process the Marine Corps puts a recruit through is nothing more than a continuation, we pick up from where the parent left off. Although, more often times than not with some of the young kids coming in today it’s almost like starting back at one. I think we all know parenting just isn’t what it used to be. We like to call kids that come through training now the X Box generation, meaning they were raised in front of a television with a video game controller glued to their hands. I see more and more kids that haven’t worked a day in their lives. In a way I guess you can say sometimes we as Drill Instructors are stuck training the recruit to become that self sustainable person.
The first step is to put everyone on a level playing ground, they must be stripped of everything they know, and they must become like an open book. It’s a continuous process throughout three months of training. During this time the recruit is introduced to the rest of what it takes to become a basic Marine. Core Values (honor, courage, and commitment), General Military Subjects (basic Marine Corps knowledge), Marksmanship (M16 A4 rifle), Field Skills, Martial Arts, Combat Conditioning, Water Survival, First Aid, and Close Order Drill (marching).
The transformation begins here during this first phase. This is where the recruits are introduced to basic knowledge, the physical and mental aspect of it all. The recruit is taught all about the history of the Marine Corps. They learn about the roots of the family in which they are about to become a part of. During the physical part of training they are introduced to the rigorous training needed to get and keep them in shape. This mainly consists of running, circuit courses, and endurance exercises. In the mental aspect the recruit is demanded of…