How To Get Out Of Boot Camp (And MCT/SOI)

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Here at iHateTheUSMC.com, we’ve fairly commonly had the parents, spouses, girlfriends/boyfriends, etc. of a Recruit that is currently in Boot Camp come on the site asking something to the effect of: “My [Family Member/Significant Other] went to boot camp, but something happened and now he or she really just wants out. Is there anything he or she can do to get out of boot camp and the marine corps and come home?” My answer to the Recruits who want out of the marine corps is “Yes. You most likely still qualify for an Entry-Level Separation.” That being said, getting an Entry-Level Separation isn’t quite as easy or convenient as it would’ve been if you had decided to withdraw from the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) instead.

[NOTE: The advice given in this article is geared specifically to marine corps recruits. Please note that – while marines in MCT/SOI may still be in Entry Level Status – there is no provision that guarantees an Entry Level Separation for marines in MCT/SOI. That being said, the worst type of discharge that could be received for refusal to train would be an Other Than Honorable (OTH) Discharge. An OTH will have virtually no impact on your civilian life, except that an OTH may make it more difficult for you to get a job with the federal government.]

First of all, before we get too deep into discussion, it’s important to determine whether or not you actually qualify for an Entry-Level Separation. Paragraph 6002, Section 7, of the Marine Corps Separations Manual  lays out the qualifications for “Entry-Level Status” in the Marine Corps as follows:

  • For Active Duty, “a member qualifies for entry-level status during the first 180 days of continuous active military service”. This means that, from the day a recruit arrives at boot camp, he or she is in “Entry-Level Status” for the next 180 days.
  • For Reservists, entry-level status is slightly more complicated, but in general it terminates after being called to Active Duty “for one continuous period of 180 days or more”.

If you’ve been in for longer than 180 days, unfortunately you no longer qualify for Entry-Level Separation. At this point the best advice I can give is to tell you to try to make it through your enlistment as best you can, come visit the Anonymous Discussion page at iHateTheUSMC.com whenever you need to vent, never be afraid to contact mental health if need be, and claim every benefit you deserve when you finally do get out.

Now then, if you have NOT yet been in for 180 days, then you still have hope for an Entry-Level Separation. Paragraph 6205 (Pages 187 – 188) of the Separations Manual states that “A member may be separated while in an entry level status, if the member is unqualified for further service by reason of entry level performance and/or conduct, as evidenced by incapability, lack of reasonable effort, failure to adapt to the Marine Corps environment, or minor disciplinary infractions.” The order goes on to state that “all personnel administratively separated from recruit training will be processed under this reason except in those limited cases where processing under a more serious basis is appropriate and where discharge characterization under other than honorable conditions is warranted.” This effectively means that, if you’re separated from boot camp, you will receive an Entry-Level Separation, so long as you don’t do anything that causes significant injury to another person (i.e. start a fist-fight with another Recruit in an effort to get kicked out).

Note: A fuller list of situations that warrant an “Other Than Honorable” (OTH) Discharge can be found on Page 25 of the Separations Manual. However, it’s important to note that almost NONE of the listed situations could possibly apply to a Recruit.

 

Alright, now that we’ve gotten past all of the paperwork, it’s time to get to the real question: How does this affect me? How do I use this to get out of Boot Camp?

Quite contrary to what you and every recruit since the dawn of boot camp has been told, You Can Quit. It’s not quite as easy as quitting the DEP, and it requires some commitment, but if you’re serious about getting out of boot camp and the Marine Corps, a few days of hardship should be worth getting 4 years of your life back. The following is a very basic outline of how to go about quitting. Bear in mind that individual experiences may vary, and you may need to adapt your approach to meet your current situation.

Step 1: Get in the proper mindset. Odds are you’ve spent the past few weeks referring to yourself as “This Recruit”, doing anything and everything that you’re told out of fear of being screamed at, being taken for “Incentive Training” (I.T.) or (the ultimate Drill Instructor threat) being “dropped” or “recycled” to a different recruit company to repeat some aspect of training. The first thing you need to do is get out of that mindset.

  1. Remember that these Drill Instructors (D.I.s) are just people, just like you. They’re not anything special. Look them in the eye when you speak to them, refer to yourself in the first person, and don’t call them “sir/ma’am” or acknowledge their rank in any way. These things will take away your D.I.s sense of control over you.
  2. When your D.I.s start yelling and screaming, take a moment to realize just how stupid they look. Odds are, they look like a complete idiot and – in the correct mindset – you may find it very hard not to laugh at your D.I.s.
  3. Realize that you don’t need to be worried about I.T. If you don’t want to be taken for I.T. all you have to do is not go. If your D.I. says “get on the Quarterdeck!” All you have to do is smile and say is “No, I don’t really feel like it right now, but thank you for the offer.” What are they gonna do? Scream? Threaten you with I.T.? If you’re in the correct mindset, all of their threats are completely empty.
  4. Sure you might get dropped back in training (It’s actually very unlikely, but it’s still possible) but really, if you’re in a mindset where you’ve rendered all of the D.I.s threats to be completely harmless, what can they do? About the only thing they can really do is drop you into the Recruit Separation Platoon (RSP), which is where you want to be anyway.

Step 2: When you have made up your mind, and you’ve reached the mindset where the D.I.s have nothing to threaten you with, take a seat on your footlocker, put your feet up, and relax. Of course your D.I.s won’t take kindly to this, they’ll likely start out by screaming, just look them in the eye, and smile. If their screaming becomes annoying, you may choose to taunt them, saying something like “Come on! Is that all the louder you can scream? My Grandmother yells louder than that!” Taunts of this nature should be used in moderation, but when used skillfully, they will not only show the D.I.s that their screams are ineffective, but will also put you in a position of control as the D.I.s have to decide to either stop screaming or to give in to your taunts and scream louder on your command. Either way, you win.

From here, your D.I.s will likely try to figure out why you’re doing what you’re doing. They’ll still be shouting, but they’ll ask “What are you doing?” or some similar question. Simply tell them “I quit. I don’t want to be a marine anymore, so I quit”. They’ll tell you “You can’t quit! You signed the contract… etc. etc.” respond “Too bad, I already quit.” Stand your ground, don’t let them intimidate you with their empty threats, and you will eventually win.

Note: It is possible that your D.I.s may try to punish other Recruits in an attempt to break you. They may start to I.T. a group of Recruits and tell them that the I.T. session will not end until you join in. This approach is particularly useful to D.I.s because it allows them to make you feel responsible for the suffering of other Recruits who didn’t do anything to deserve punishment. Your D.I.s will almost definitely allow the other Recruits to yell at you, pleading with you to join in the I.T. session so that it will stop. Continue to resist. Remind the Recruits that you’re not forcing them to do anything, and that if they want the session to stop, all they have to do is get up and leave. If you can successfully resist this tactic, it will work to your advantage in a couple of ways:

  1. It will reinforce to your D.I.s that you are determined to not continue with boot camp, and they cannot break you.
  2. The MCRD San Diego I.T. Card specifically states that “IT will never be assigned to a unit as a result of one recruit’s actions”, and the MCRD Parris Island I.T. Card states that “S.D.I.s may IT the whole platoon only as a response to the deficiencies of the platoon as a whole.” Thus,  by assigning I.T. to a group as a result of your actions, your D.I.s are in violation of a direct order and you will be able to use this as ammunition against them when your D.I.s send you to talk to your Company or Series Commander.

Step 3: After a day or two of continuous resistance, your D.I.s will most likely send you to speak to either your Company or Series Commander. It’s important that you keep up your mindset, don’t stand at attention, don’t salute, don’t address the Commander as sir or ma’am. That being said, if your Commander speaks to you in a courteous, respectful manner, then speak to your Commander with similar courtesy. Your Commander will probably ask you why you’re behaving as you are, why you don’t want to be a marine anymore, and may even offer to make some changes if you will resume training. Decline his or her offers, and continue to resist. Within a few days after this meeting you will most likely be dropped to Recruit Separations Platoon (RSP).

Once you’ve made it to RSP you can afford to relax a little bit. At this point you know you’re being processed for discharge, so you can afford to act like a “good recruit” and say your “yes sirs” etc. just to make your life a little bit easier. You can expect to spend at least 2 weeks in RSP, and possibly quite a bit longer, but once you get out you will be out of the marine corps for good, so the few weeks of RSP should be well worth it.

 

If you wish to verify this answer for yourself, the relevant information regarding Entry-Level Separation can be found on pages 172, 187, and 188 of Marine Corps Order (MCO) P1900.16F.

Additional information on Entry-Level Separation from the marine corps can be found at the “GI Rights Hotline” Website.

Safety and Peace

NINJA_PUNCH

Children’s Boot Camp: More Than Machinery, We Need Humanity

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When I started watching this video, and I saw the warning that “images may be disturbing to some viewers”, I initially thought “Whatever. I have thick skin, I’ll be fine.” Needless to say I was not prepared for this video at all. Initially, I was ok, wondering why the kid’s face was blurred out, and why he looked like he was crying.  As the screen zoomed out, I noticed the tire around his shoulders, and the female instructor shouting at him. At this point I was still ok. I figured it was some kind of mini boot camp, and he just looked like he was crying because he’d been training hard and was nearing exhaustion. But then the camera zoomed out further and I saw the three other instructors shouting various commands at him and screaming at him from only inches away from his face. Just as I was beginning to think, “Ok, this is getting excessive,” the kid let out a scream that ought to make any decent human being’s blood run cold; but the instructors didn’t let up, and actually got a bit louder to shout over the kid’s screams. The kid fell to the ground and still the instructors didn’t let up. Eventually he gets back up, and takes a couple of steps, and lets out a series of screams that are just a blood curdling as the first, and that continue until the end of the clip.

I opened up this window, and then sat there for a solid twenty minutes as I vainly tried to wrap my mind around what I had just watched. Surely I saw similar things on a fairly regular basis during boot camp, but seeing this happen to a child of only 13 or 14 years of age, and in this context, was different. In an actual boot camp, there is the excuse that inducing stress in this manner is essential to training because it simulates the stress of combat. Whether or not this excuse is actually a justification for this sort of behavior in boot camp is a topic for another paper; however, it is clearly not a justification in this context. Consider for a moment where they are: this is a physical fitness camp for children and teens. How does ordering this kid to say “I love my sergeant” or “aye aye sir” or any of that help him become more fit? In fact, how does trying to induce this kind of stress in any manner help this kid become more physically fit?

Sure if you watch the TV show “The Biggest Loser” Jillian Michaels can be a bit over the top, but if you notice, she tends to be constructive in her criticisms. She tries to inspire the contestants to keep going in order to improve themselves. Swarming this kid and ordering him to say, “I love my sergeant” etc. etc. and continuing to apply psychological pressure long after the kid has obviously broken, has less in common with “The Biggest Loser” than it has with the abuses at Abu Ghraib in 2003 and 2004.

Despite all this, what really struck me about this video was not so much the obvious psychological distress that this kid was being placed under, as it was the realization that none of the instructors had any sort of compassion or showed any remorse when the kid finally broke down. This is the very essence of dehumanization in the military; the dehumanization doesn’t stop with turning the “enemy” into a subhuman caricature, but continues on and spills over to render military subordinates, recruits, and apparently even children, as being less than human and undeserving of even basic human regard.

To sum up I will quote Charlie Chaplin in the movie “The Great Dictator”:

  • “More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost… Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes! Men who despise you, enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder! Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate – the unloved and the unnatural!”

This is the message that all troops need to hear. All of the hardness and toughness in the world is worth nothing if you have no love of humanity. All of the fighting for some abstract concept of a “country” is meaningless if you’re willing to torment the people who make up the country that you’re trying to defend.

Safety and Peace

NINJA_PUNCH

I’m curious to see what you all would do to fix this organization (other than disband it)?

As an NCO, my job is to enhance the effectiveness of the Marine Corps. However, I don’t see that happening when the following aren’t fixed:
1. Boot Camp (DIs and SDIs) needs to be able to weed people out more. I’m not talking about letting DIs abuse recruits. There are recruits who get through boot camp who has no business being a Marine. Some even want to drop out. Instead of discharging them and USMC decides to ‘punish’ them by recycling them, over and over, and over again even though it’s clear that they don’t want to be there. Guess what? You have to waste money and manpower going to a recruit or Marine that doesn’t want to be there and is gonna be liabilities later on. What are they? Well you see them mentioned here: buddy fuckers, they become bad leaders, incompetent Marines, mass punishments, etc. It doesn’t take much to see this compounds. Forcing them to go through by recycling isn’t doing anything. If you can’t handle 3 months of boot, what makes you think you can hack SOI, the operating forces or deployment? This is coming from my experiences and my conversation with a former Marine DI and recruiter. What kind of elite unit keeps undesirables who don’t even want to be in around? I do give some credit to some recruiters and Marines on RA who help poolees prepare for boot which contributed somewhat to lowering failure rates in boot camp.
2. Let Marines (active duty) choose their MOS- not just the field. I don’t get how the Marines generally wait until after boot camp to tell new Marines what their ‘exact’ MOS is and the reason for it is ‘the demands of the Marine Corps.’ This is an example of piss poor personnel management. While working Recruiters Assistance, I have seen several people turned away because they are not guaranteed to choose the exact MOS who had the potential to benefit the Marines.
3. Less advertisement. I swear I’m in an organization with attention whores. And you don’t even have to see the commercials (ie Katy Perry music video). If we are elite and cut down on the stupid BS by 25%, people will flock to join.

I’m curious to see what you all would do to fix this organization (other than disband it)?

Submitted by: dee dee dee