Drill Instructors


"These recruits are entrusted to my care. I will train them to the best of my ability. I will develop them into smartly disciplined, physically fit, basically trained Marines, thoroughly indoctrinated in love of Corps and Country. I will demand of them, and demonstrate by my own example, the highest standards of personal conduct, morality and professional skill."
-- The Drill Instructor's Creed

Drill Instructors (DIs) are responsible for shaping raw recruits into Marines. Marine Corps DIs are regarded to be the toughest and proudest drill instructors of all branches of the armed forces, as well as earning the reputation of holding one of the toughest jobs in the Corps. After all, the future of the Marine Corps is literally in their hands. 

The job is a very stressful one and competitive one. It is the duty of every DI to take advantage of every opportunity for growth in the recruits and help shape them into fit, knowledgeable, skilled and disciplined Marines. New rules imposed to prevent recruits from being abused verbally or physically restrict the DI's choice of words considerably. According to Boot by Daniel Da Cruz, one DI was fined $200 for calling one recruit "a quitter and a weird one." In fact, DIs are not allowed to swear even in the presence of recruits, let alone at them.

Even more stressful are the 100-hour weeks that are average while training a platoon. Between platoons, only a few days of rest and recovery are given.

DIs are required to possess a diploma from DI School at Parris Island before they are allowed to instruct recruits. Designed to be a sort of boot camp for prospective DIs, it is one of the most demanding courses in the Corps.


Uniforms of DIs

Like drill instructors in other branches of the military, Marine Corps DIs wear the broad-brimmed "Campaign Hat" or "Smokey Hat" as a symbol of their status. Senior Drill Instructors in the Marine Corps wear black leather belts, while assistant DIs wear wide green webbed 'pistol' belts. Until 1996, female DIs did not wear the coveted "Campaign Hat". Instead, they wore a scarlet shoulder cord on their left shoulder.