News: DI School graduates Corps’ newest drill instructors
Story by Lance Cpl. Francisco Abundes
PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. -- “These recruits are entrusted in my care. I will train them to the best of my ability and develop them into physically fit, smartly disciplined, basically trained Marines … ” recited 34 new drill instructors who graduated Drill Instructor School Wednesday at the Lyceum.
This verse is part of the Drill Instructor Creed and becomes a goal in which each newly graduated drill instructor now possesses the skills to accomplish after three months of rigorous training at the school.
“This is the best school in the Marine Corps – and I’ve been to every resident [professional military education] school there is,” said Gunnery Sgt. Pedro Garcia, class commander and the highest ranking student. “It’s the most demanding – it’s the most difficult – it’s the one that takes the most mental strength.”
Although the trek was mentally and physically challenging, Garcia said he is prepared to take on his new job with everything he has learned.
“The hardest thing was adjusting – from being the go-to person, knowing your job, to coming out here and not having a clue what you have to do,” said Staff Sgt. Erika Bonilla Rubi, honor graduate for the class.
Garcia said once all the Marines learned to follow, they were able to come together as a team.
The students took part in recruit training exercises like the Crucible and Basic Warrior Training, Bonilla Rubi said. They also took classes to become more effective leaders and mentors to the recruits, and honed their close-order drill abilities and physical fitness.
“They took the same classes they received in boot camp, but with a different approach,” said Gunnery Sgt. Charles Maddox, second squad instructor at the school. “This time, they [learned] how to instruct and apply it.”
The students also observed recruit training and had the opportunity to interact with recruits while they received advice and guidance from drill instructors.
Garcia said the physical and mental demands of Drill Instructor School successfully prepare Marines to become effective drill instructors by further developing the leadership traits in each student.
But the course could only give students a slight taste of the drill instructor lifestyle.
“They all evolved how they should have,” Maddox said. “Every student grew. Every student overcame some things they never thought they could do, but they still got a long way to go. One way to give them that is time, experience.”
A drill instructor’s life is challenging, but it is worth it, Maddox continued. Marines learn a lot from the job.
“The biggest challenge for students is teaching them what passion is, and you can’t teach passion,” Maddox said. “Having a clear understanding of their mission and having the tools or what it takes to do it – that’s where passion comes in, them understanding what’s ahead of them and caring about succeeding.”
The students prepared to begin a new Marine Corps path.
“I’m looking forward to being an effective drill instructor and making good Marines,” Bonilla Rubi said.