Marine Recruit Drowning Perspective: 16% of Russian Army Recruits Die in Training
To date I have not commented on nor am I now trying to minimize the recent tragedy on Parris Island where a Marine Recruit drowned during water survival training. My deepest sympathies and condolences go out to his family and friends. Their loss is our loss.
At the same time...just for some military perspective...
The Word Unheard from Moscow is that a Parents Group (unnamed in the article translated from Russian) claims that 3,000 Russian recruits die of army hazing every year, either from suicide or the direct result of hazing. While the group cites the government's own statistics of 1,000 deaths in 2004, a spokesman for the "Office of the Military Prosecutor" rejected even that number and said it was only 44. Typical Pravda.
It really doesn't matter insofar as this post is concerned. It is Russia. Russia can't even count their nukes and there's surely fewer of them than young Privates. The truth is probably in between the numbers cited somewhere, which is a far, far, far cry from our one incident.
No, we are not Russian. No we do not live or train by Russian standards.
But always remember:
Those Drill Instructors are preparing our sons to face a deadly enemy who wants nothing more than to hand deliver an RPG without return address.
Now, we don't know what happened at that pool when this young man drowned. Neither does the media know, for that matter.
But what I do know is that all I saw was a continuous 5 second loop over and over and over for seemingly minutes at a time showing this recruit getting grabbed by the lapel by the drill instructor time and again. I sensed by the endless nature of that loop that the media (all networks did it, every one) was trying to make us see what mean bullies these Drill Instructors were.
Let me ask you something, Mr. Anchorman: How would you prepare young men to potentially face mortal danger in battle? They are not learning to swim in speedos at the YMCA. They are learning to tread water with full gear, to learn under supervised conditions what they may face unexpectedly without the convenience of speedos. If you were in boot camp today, Mr. Anchorman, you may well be the one asking mommy to write your congressman and tell him how mean and inhumane the Drill Instructors are.
Allow me to clue you in on a dirty little secret that you do NOT know because you have NOT been to Marine Recruit Training at Parris Island (or even Fantasy Island), and furthermore because you are NOT subject matter experts:
Recruits can, at any time, say that they "refuse to train" and want to leave. AT ANY TIME. If you really don't want the title, by all means, swallow your pride and have a nice life. It's that simple. There is no dishonor if you find another way to serve your country. Not everyone is cut of the cloth to become a Marine. If they were, the Marine Recruiter's office wouldn't be the loneliest of the four branches of the military.
The press has been successful at characterizing this young man as some sort of victim and that he didn't really want to be there. It would be nice if you would consult someone and bother to ask if there were any way that he could have left. There was, and there was for this very reason.
This young man sadly chose not to speak up and quit for reasons only he now knows.
Did the Drill Instructors push the young man too hard? We do not know (which is my point, jackasses). But you are publicly attempting to try these Drill Instructors in the Media Supreme Court through your looped images of a shove.
Being a Marine is a dangerous job, even in training. Be thankful that those United States Marine Corps Drill Instructors are the dedicated, professional, well-trained and hard-nosed bastards that they are.
They make our sons good Marines by teaching them pride, self-discipline and respect. They strip recruits down emotionally until every last recruit is equal, regardless of race, color, religion or creed. And they push them to their very limits and teach them that the only way to succeed is as a team, which by the way includes the Drill Instructors.
An investigation will show the facts. If these Drill Instructors were negligent, then they will be tried by a court. They should NOT be tried by journalists and anchormen eager for a sensational story to fill a segment with. It's as if you want them to be guilty. Why else run the endless 5 second loop?
How many Russian recruits die in training? Sure, it's a guess. But it's still a far cry more than our recent 'one'.
Bloggers have been recently accused of a Lynch-Blog mentality. Even if that were true, how would it be any different than what you are doing right now?
(Read the Marine Drill Instructor's Creed at The Word Unheard: Marine Recruit Drowning Perspective: Part II.)
These men deserve the benefit of the doubt at least until the facts are known.