I can’t pull my four-part series on Marine Corps basic training out from behind the Enterprise-Journal paywall* but I’ll share this picture, my favorite of the 400 I took during the Educators Workshop at Parris Island.
My group had finished lunch and was lingering outside the chow hall when an irregular stream of recruits began to emerge. Their drill instructor peered through the door, waiting for his charges to turn in their trays and cups and head outdoors. When he saw some on their way, he tensed up and leaned in, and when the door opened he let loose.
“Get out! Right now! Right now! Now, now, now!”
A few of them turned right instead of left.
“This way! Where are you going? Are you kidding me?”
The kids skidded and turned back to their left. Everyone seemed to be screaming at once.
As a handful of recruits ran out into formation, the D.I. relaxed a little while keeping watch through the door.
He saw me looking and said, with the tiniest of smiles, “I’m really not a mean guy,” before tensing, leaning and screaming once again.
“Get out right now! Get out, out! No, this way!”
The recruits were on their third day of boot camp.
*I could but it wouldn’t go down smooth in the publisher’s office.