A True Story of DI Abuse & General Fuckery, by J.L. Williams


The following story was submitted by a former Marine and edited by Chris Pascale.

I don't really hate the Corps as much as I sincerely dislike it - for a number of personal reasons:

(1) Lying and manipulative military recruiters who prey on naïve young people who lack personal goals and direction in their lives
(2) Abusive and sadistic drill instructors
(3) No guidance or help on a personal level offered by officers [when I was in]

I enlisted back in 1976 during a very optimistic and PATRIOTIC time in America. Things looked very bright indeed and hopeful.

The anniversary of our country's founding in 1776 - I had very high hopes for a good life as a glorious Marine! I was so young and naïve, and very ignorant of the reality of life in the Corps.

During basic training at MCRD San Diego, Platoon 2093, Sept-Nov, 1976, I was physically abused repeatedly by a drill instructor named Sgt SchizerVideo while serving as a "house mouse," which is the clean-up maid for the DIs in their duty hut, which is against regs but they do anyway.

He bit my ear hard during marching at the parade ground one time because I held my M-16 too high on my shoulder. He sprayed starch in my ear during qualification day on the rifle range. After initally UNQ-ing I then made sharpshooter because he wasn't there to torment me. But Sgt SchizerVideo never let up, and he let me know he hated me at least on a daily basis - that is, when he wasn't reading "Soldier of Fortune," spitting Copenhagen into the water fountain, and granting us the pleasure of his favorite phrase, "fuck me to tears."

He was a bastard, but so were all the other DIs, too, like SSgt MurderRapist, an extremely ugly short little ogre of a man with a thick neck and gapped teeth, who laughingly recounted his tour in Vietnam, particularly the part where he saw a marine stick a flare tube up a pregnant woman's vagina and it exploded! I'LL NEVER forget his deranged personality and twisted smile, as well as the heavy stack of medals and ribbons on his chest.

And Sgt Jewel, another very strange, sadistic and nerdy looking guy with black-rimmed glasses whose favorite pastime was screaming at us from the top of his lungs for an hour straight!

And Cpl GullNuts. He got REALLY mad one time and hit a recruit with a large rock in the mountains at infantry training. There was an investigation and that recruit left the platoon, and I never saw him again. They changed our DI's several times.

I was very tempted to report Sgt SchizerVideo to headquarters, but then he would have REALLY gotten it out for me. I should have - after basic training was over - but just wanted to forget it and go home on leave.

I also witnessed SchizerVideo assault a private after the recruit was caught smoking in the head late at night. He grabbed him by the collar very aggressively, pushed him up hard against the barracks wall, and threatened to "beat the shit out of him." It was in front of the entire platoon.

It's Better After Boot Camp, but It Ain't Great

Apart from all that, there was always the feeling of disappointment and dissatisfaction that plagued me like a curse from hell. Knowing that I gave myself over to this awful and screwed up outfit for an enlistment of 3 very long years, and finding out that life in it was just plain tedious, unfulfilling, and a nit-picking bullshit affair was somehow worse in some ways. Getting knocked around in boot camp seemed like a potential necessary evil to win wars, because the enemy would be much worse, right? 

While stationed on Okinawa I'd gotten in trouble for excessive drinking one night in Henoko village - a small fishing town outside Camp Schwab loaded with bars and pretty, but silly, Japanese bar-girls who would giggle and say "OH, I LOVE YOU! BUY ME DLINK-EE?" Then things got worse. My platoon commander, Lt Spanky, transferred me to Camp Hansen on the other side of the island.

Finally, after a year I was sent back to California only to be treated - yet again - like a recruit at Camp Horno. There was no library, no movie theater, a crummy little snack bar, and everything was either far away or off base in San Clemente or Oceanside, and, as many people have said on this site before, without a car, you're pretty much stuck. 

Examples of how awful it would be was that if I went to a vending machine for a can of soda there'd always be some Sgt asking me "where are you SUPPOSED TO BE?" as though his place of duty was at the vending area bothering people! Also, there were a lot of the guys in my platoon that used street drugs, especially marijuana, and even the very dangerous and psychosis-inducing PCP. In 1978 there was an epidemic of PCP use in southern California; some of them were on our bases.

Well, I finally received my honorable discharge after my enlistment and was pleased to get out of there and return home.

I'm not perfect in all this, but the drinking incident on Japan wasn't my biggest mistake. My biggest mistake was trusting the Marines' empty promises. I learned that you should never trust anyone who's trying hard to induce you to do something, and manipulating you into buying or joining something you're not sure entirely sure about. 

I'm telling you straight - don't make a mistake. It's a very long time when you sign up for years in the U.S. military. And it's permanent with NO WAY OUT once you're in. You had best talk to a veteran and really think TWICE first. 

And if anybody reads this and doesn't like it, as we say in Texas - I don't give a blind hoot if you DON'T like it.

It's 100% true, every word I typed.


Former Lance Corporal Jefferson Lee Williams, Anti-Tank Assaultman, Weapons Platoon, Infantry. U.S.M.C. 1976- 1979


Author: Chris Pascale

Christopher Pascale is the author of War Poems: A Marine's Tour 2003-2008. He served in the Marine Corps as a combat engineer.