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Patriotic Article
Military

By USMC LCpl. Michael Ito

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Staff Sgt. Michael Riggs Jr. receives his campaign cover from Col. Robert Gates during the Drill Instructor School graduation ceremony for Class 2-11, March 23, 2011. Riggs was voted the best leader in the class by his peers, for which he was also awarded a trophy.
Staff Sgt. Michael Riggs Jr. receives his campaign cover from Col. Robert Gates during the Drill Instructor School graduation ceremony for Class 2-11, March 23, 2011. Riggs was voted the best leader in the class by his peers, for which he was also awarded a trophy.
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (5/5/2011) - “These recruits are entrusted to my care ... I will demand of them and demonstrate by my own example, the highest standards of personal conduct, morality and professional skill.”

The standards that the United States holds of its military are already some of the highest in the world. The Marine Corps, however, has taken it upon itself to raise those standards even more. To achieve the standards expected of a Marine, he must first be trained to be the ideal citizen, the ideal steward, and the ideal warrior.

The words of the Drill Instructor's Creed are spoken by every drill instructor before they are charged with training the recruits of the United States Marine Corps. Ask any Marine who wears the famous campaign cover, and you will find that they are not just words, but a way of life.

To instill the knowledge and dedication required to be a successful drill instructor, the highest level of training is necessary. Fortunately for the future of the Corps, the drill instructors of Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego are trained at the only drill instructors' school in the western half of the United States.

“Drill instructor school is where it all starts,” said Master Sgt. Frank Puebla, academics chief, drill instructor school. “What
[students] take from here is the foundation of the future of the Marine Corps. The key thing that they need to take from their schooling is dedication to duty. They have the knowledge and merit they need, they just need to acquire the persistence and motivation necessary to pass on their legacy to the next generation of Marines.”

Four times a year, drill instructor students begin the thirteen-week process to earn their campaign cover. The course of study parallels the recruit training schedule as the students learn not only how to handle recruits, but the art of leading recruits in close order drill, as well as a vigorous schedule of classes designed to give students the technical and value-based, know-how they need to be successful drill instructorss.

“The process was definitely an arduous one,” said Sgt. Salvador Sanchez, student, drill instructor school, class 2-11. “The instructors were very hard on us at first, and it really broke a lot of people down. But that's what was necessary to show us that we can pick ourselves back up. It's going to be tough when we hit the trenches, but now we know what to expect and how to make it work.”

At the end of the training cycle, the new drill instructors are congratulated during a graduation ceremony where they are presented with their campaign cover, and assigned to a training company aboard the depot. This is where they will spend the remaining three years of their drill instructor tour, molding thousands of recruits into the kind of men it takes to be a Marine.  

“I love the Marine Corps,” said Sanchez. “It's a great feeling to know that the recruits that I train will be the next non-commissioned officers, staff NCOs and officers of the finest fighting institution in the world.” 

Article and photo By USMC LCpl. Michael Ito
Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego
Copyright 2011

Provided through DVIDS

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