Straight Out Of 4th Battalion

This story was submitted by Rebekah Kind, who was extremely motivated to earn the title of Marine as a means of both serving her country, and personally self-actualizing. At the end of this entry is a link to a news article written about her, and a specific Parris Island practice that I can personally attest to having been practiced in 2003.

Following the events of September 11, 2001, I knew I wanted to serve my country. I was not looking for an easy path. The Marine Corps called my name even when I was a young teenager.

When I was finally old enough to join, I told my parents, and they talked me out of it...for a time. In 2016 I realized it was my last chance to join. I was 28 and would only just make the age cutoff. So, against my family's wishes, I joined the DEP.

I was about as motivated as a poolee could be. I went to PT sessions as often as possible, scored a 93 on the ASVAB, and looked forward to becoming an aviation mechanic for the Marines.

To give you an idea of my state of mind, before I shipped off to boot camp a MEPS employee asked me where I wanted to be stationed. I answered, "Wherever the Marine Corps will have me, sir!" Not only was I as patriotic and motivated as could be, but I was honored to be given this incredible opportunity. That is, until I got to Parris Island.

At boot camp I was taught that "Marines never lie, cheat, or steal," even as I witnessed said activity. I got there as a mentally and physically strong person, but soon after my arrival, began a descent into a shell of who I formerly was. I grew thin and sick, which was made even worse when I contracted pneumonia. Upon requesting to go to sick call for the first time - with pneumonia - I was mocked and berated.

This was the worst part, I think - being torn down, then never built back up. In fact, when my dad saw me the day I left Parris Island, he immediately noticed the change. I had gone from being a tough tomboy to someone who was afraid to look people in the eye. Because, on Parris Island, the moment you look someone in the eye you're told not to "eyeball" them. Having adapted to the environment, it only took a couple months of being treated with no dignity for me to lose confidence in myself, or my ability to do anything right, including walk down the sidewalk and cross paths with someone, particularly if they had that funny hat/belt combo.

I only wanted to serve my country as an aviation mechanic. I did not expect to be treated with disgrace and disgust at every turn. If I'd had leaders I could trust, I would have willingly run toward bullets. Instead, I was methodically shredded until there was nothing left to destroy.

Frankly, this is all fairly humiliating, so you might wonder why I would risk telling this story.

Why Am I Doing This?

I have made my experience public in the hopes that other young patriotic recruits will not have to continue to undergo the sort of degradation that I did. I may not have earned the right to say "Semper Fi," but neither does anyone else, because that phrase does not describe the USMC accurately. Always faithful? The Marine Corps has a lot of work to do in order to live up to that ideal.

I will write more about my experiences in boot camp as time permits.

I have nothing but the greatest respect for Marines who live up to the Corps' motto.
Beaufort Gazette article about me
  • usmcisdumb1234

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us, and would like to let you know that you’re in the right place to vent out all of the feelings you’ve had and any/all experiences you’d like to share!

  • In the Beaufort Gazette article Lt. Col. Kate Germano calls the Korean War call a teachable moment [where people learn to distrust the message they are given regarding actual war happening, I guess]. This is the same person who “made comments during a sexual assault prevention brief that……would make them feel less comfortable reporting a sexual assault.”

    (An Aside): Kate Germano giving a sexual assault brief is a failure on the part of the Corps. She’s not a psychiatrist, rape victim advocate, or social worker; she has a degree in history, and a Master’s in Military Science. She’s a professional soldier, but put it in the hands of the military to fuck up important shit by saying, “she’s a leader; it’s okay for her to talk about rape.”

    (Back to This Article): Just as the scenario for the Korean War announcement has been going on for decades, piss-poor leadership on the drill field has also been deemed acceptable, so Rebekah’s story of being torn down and not built back up is believable. I remember being on 4 hours liberty after the crucible and seeing a young woman I left from MEPS with t the PX. We started talking, and some lame-ass female DI wanted to impress her doofus male counterpart, so rather than allow us to behave like humans with personalities, self-respect, and – I don’t know – 4 hours liberty, she got up in my grill whisper-grunt-asking if that young lady (now double timing out of there) was my buddy in 5 different ways while the loser with the awful haircut in my peripheral was emitting a chuckle that sounded more like a string of farts.

  • anonymous

    they “build you up” towards the end of bootcamp. That is the only shortcoming i see in this story.
    but it doesn’t change much after you go to mct or the fleet. you’ll be at the bottom of the totem pole again, being promoted through the ranks, being a damn E-6 or up still acting like a little disgruntled lance corporal. It’s an honor to serve, but damn i wish i never joined.

    • Missed this when posted.

      I wasn’t built up at the end of basic. I felt like complete dogshit – physically in the worst shape of my life and mentally warped. I was underweight, which I’d never been in my entire life, at 5′ 9″ and 135 lbs.

      But in MCT the instructors engaged in a significant deprogramming from Day 1. They ripped on DI’s, which helped some recruits see them as fuck-wits who are not the end-all-be-all of the Corps; just guys with bad haircuts who like to sing when they walk, who live on a secluded island where they can run amok. Some marines didn’t like the anti-DI talk. Their faith was being tested – they were experiencing cognitive dissonance. Also, the MCT instructors didn’t rip on us for making mistakes they told told us not to make (like accidentally stumbling into an answer by almost saying “this recruit”). They let you catch yourself, and you were forgiven for not being able to undo 3 months in a mere 3 weeks.

      The fleet – I’m mixed on the fleet, and choose to remember the good SNCOs I was lucky to have over the bad.