Question to Quora: Do drill instructors really yell at you like in Full Metal Jacket?

Answered by Scott Timmons, Former Marine Corps Corporal (1997–2001) May 17, 2019 (bold/italicized comments by Don Chapin, ret’d USAF)

The Drill Instructor in Full Metal Jacket was R. Lee Ermey! He was originally hired as a consultant to show the actors how a real Drill Instructor would act. He was so convincing that they took the actor originally hired to be the Senior Drill Instructor and made him one of the Junior DI’s and gave Ermey the role. So, yes they really do yell at you like that in boot camp. But do not mistake the intent. The role of a DI is to mold untrained and incompetent boys into refined components of a finely tuned war machine! To do that you have to strip the individuality out of a person and break down their mental capacity of self preservation! (I disagree on purpose, but the process is anathema to one that is already self-actuating, which is why I had a migraine when entering officer training.) Once that is done you will mold 60–70 young men into a terrifying unit of war machine that will move and act as one under the expert direction of the DI’s (HUH? Expert DIs?). You at first hate your DI’s but through the process you come to understand what they are doing and that hatred turns to respect. (HUH? Maybe in some units, but not all!) The DI’s in turn seem like they hate each one of you (a very lasting impression) but when you start working and becoming Marines they get very protective over their recruits. Competition between platoons is fierce! There are certain Marine-specific events that can earn your platoon the Series Guidon. Rifle Range, PFT – Physical Fitness Test, initial and final Drill to name a few. The platoon with the highest overall scores will win the Series Guidon and march at the front of the Series in front of all the other Platoons when you march anywhere as a series. The Rifle Range is a big one because “Every Marine is a Basic Rifleman!”. (unless, of course you follow the range – master’s advice – NOT your own personal experience and intuition – to adjust your sights on the falling-apart WWII carbine and can’t even hit the paper the target is printed on after following his advice!!) This should have answered your question and then some! Hope it was enlightening! (Only as to the different experiences.)




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