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Why Am I Here? A Drill Instructor’s Story

Every Marine remembers that ominous feeling of uncertainty as they made their entrance into the squad bays. The thoughts of “why am I here,” or “what have I gotten myself into” grow more distinct in the back of our minds. Perhaps their names might escape you from time to time but their presence never leaves. They are the Marine Corps drill instructors. They come into our lives for 3 months and forever change our thought process, if only for a little while. Perhaps your thoughts might have differed, but we wondered what goes through the mind of the Marine Drill Instructor, and this was his response.

By Gunnery Sgt Terence A. D’Alesandro

It’s 0327 — Why am I here?
Why am I not in bed like everyone else, dead to the world?
Why do I do this?

I live with the constant pain, headaches and suffering… the sacrifice… why?

BECAUSE I CAN… I CAN and I WILL…

Because pain tells me I’m awake… It reminds me that I’m alive.

Who am I?

I’m the wrecker of bodies, the crusher of mediocrity.
I am the face of destiny.
I am a Marine Corps Drill Instructor.

I raised my right hand and gave our Pledge:

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…
FULLY INDOCTRINATED IN LOVE OF CORPS AND COUNTRY.
I WILL DEMAND OF THEM AND DEMONSTRATE BY MY OWN EXAMPLE,
THE HIGHEST STANDARD OF PERSONAL CONDUCT,
MORALITY AND PROFESSIONAL SKILL.

It starts here but this is just one journey amongst many. It just started…

We begin today…
13 weeks in this dark hole…
91 days of pain…
2184 hours of hunger and desire.

I’m already counting the minutes and the seconds.

When it’s over, I’ll send these hogs into the light as Marines…
Into the Fleet Marine Force…
They WILL shine.

It’s NEVER ABOUT ME… NEVER.
It’s about making Marines, plain and simple.

I will not do it alone.
I’ll do it with my brothers in belts and covers
Who lay it on the line every day just like me.
We will bring the heat – together – for a common purpose…
Making Marines.

If I stay anonymous to you, I DON’T GIVE A DAMN…that’s fine.
But I won’t be anonymous to them…
To THEM — the Marines we made.
That’s ALL THAT MATTERS…
DRIVING THE EAGLE, GLOBE AND ANCHOR
INTO THEIR HEARTS AND SOULS
So that they can carry the Corps into the future.

Until then we’ll live in the shadows, the darkness…
In a place few will ever see,
Where ugliness becomes beautiful.
This place, this darkness…
THERE IS NO BETTER PLACE TO BE.
This is where the real work gets done.

If you’re with me, get that belt, get that cover and punch the clock;
It’s gonna be a long, wild, havoc filled ride.
Be prepared to get your hands dirty…

Listen… Hear that silence?
In a few minutes, we’re gonna destroy it.
Let’s get this show on the damn road…
Let’s throw some recruits into the fire…
If you’re not with us, get the hell out of the way…

LIGHTS, LIGHTS, LIGHTS!!!

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  • Josh

    OoohRah! I don’t know if you are mentioning the same DI SSgt Mosley, but I graduated MCRD March 26, 1993 Echo Company platoon 2107, if it was the same DI SSGT Mosley, he was the devil himself! I’ll never forget his wrath! Semper Fi

  • Ezgoingkev

    I went through Parris Island with Senior Drill Instructor GySgt D’Alesandro. He was the platoon scribe and good shit. Norals – “Ooh minute lie off”. LOL

  • rachel

    Hi Mike…is this you? Don’t know if you remember me. Rachel Gonzalez from San Diego. I hope you get this and you can respond. Email me @ . It will be nice to hear from you. I hope it’s you! :)

  • Criss Morgan

    S/Sgt Knight SDI, SGT Thompson ADI, S/SGT Osborne JDI, Platoon 1076 1st Battalion. On the back side of the main grinder in the old wooden barracks. Parris Island!!!

  • Crissmorgan

    The Marine Corps Drill Instructor has what is arguably the most important job in the Marines. God bless every one of them for the sacrifices they make. For all the hours they have to be away from their loved ones. Think you’re a badass? I’m willing to bet my next paycheck that not one tenth of one percent of the men and women in the Marine Corps has what it takes to become a Drill Instructor. I have known many active DI’s and many after they left the parade field and they all told me it’s the hardest and best job they ever had. They are the Marine Corps personified. They must be perfect. They cannot afford to make a single mistake. Try living with a job like that. Like most of you, I still remember the names of all three of my Drill Instructors. Just like my service number and rifle number, I will never forget them. It has been well over 40 years since I got out of the Marines, and the STILL shape my life! Semper Fi to all Marines but I will never forget my DI’s.I wish I knew how to get in touch with them so I could tell them face to face how important they still are to me.
    Criss Morgan 2409092 Parris Island 1st Battalion November 1967

  • Gary Porter

    Parris Island, October 1966,Plt 300
    SDI Gy Sgt Tom Spence (1st three weeks)
    ADI SSgt R.A. Cunningham (1st three weeks)
    ADI Sgt S.A. Jones
    ADI Cpl J.B. Wertz

    At approximately the third week GySgt Spence and SSgt Cunningham were transferred out of our plt.

    GySgt H.N. Parnell took over as SDI
    and Sgt W.J. Samuels replaced SSgt Cunningham.

    I recall bootcamp like it was yesterday. I remember each Drill Instructor for some strength that
    each gave me that has helped me to survive throughout my lifetime.

    Semper Fi Gunny D’Alesandro. Thank you for carrying on and for the opportunity to say thanks.
    Stay low Brother. Perhaps we’ll see you when you make it home.

  • Askew, 3rd

    Preach brother, Preach! Thanks for sharing, GySgt. True Blue “Mike Co”

  • Nativevets

    S/Sgt Maggert, Sgt Dermer, Sgt.Brown. These three should have been the DI’s fot all the
    platoon’s that went through MCRD, San Diego. Chief, Plt. 344, Colorado All State Platoon,
    July-Oct. 1959

  • Nativevets

    S/Sgt Maggart, Sgt. Dermer, Sgt Brown. Plt. 344, Jul-Oct 1959, MCRD, San Diego

  • USMC1975

    Just ooh-freakin’-rah!! Semper Fi, Marines! DI 83-85 PISC

  • Yankee Fan ;)

    Gunny D’Alesandro, I ran into this by chance… you never cease to amaze. May God Bless you and all our Troops. Semper Fi

  • Billy Chastain

    Our drill instructors take the smallest percentage of the best this country has to offer and make them better. They turn them into steel from raw elements. How do you make steel ladies and gentlemen? You throw it into the fire and hammer the hell out of it! Rage on Drill Instructors! And good night Chesty Puller wherever you are! Semper Fidelis!

  • Dennis OB

    13 sep 1967 GySgy Shockley, GySgt Lee,SSCox,Sgt Kester, “3040: “MARCH INTO CHOW !!!! “

  • Grider

    Don’t forget (one nation) (Under GOD) (undivideble) with liberty>>> I new you’d finnish it for me.

  • Lsday

    Keep up the good work but in my opinion you should not be there come home safe and i am lookin for a penpal!!!!My husband IS a Marine anbd always will be! GHe served in Nam

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ronald-Garrod/100000996947342 Ronald Garrod

    I remember thous thoughts as if it was yesterday. And after it all I was proud of us that graduated. We were young green Marines and ready to start and finish a fight that we were called to do. Semper Fi.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ronald-Garrod/100000996947342 Ronald Garrod

    I remember thous thoughts as if it was yesterday. And after it all I was proud of us that graduated. We were young green Marines and ready to start and finish a fight that we were called to do. Semper Fi.

  • Freakness

    Marine Corps Drill Instructors are bad ass! The great thing about DI’s is that some might come to the Depot’s as basic Marines…but when they get to the School and then to the Street…they are molded into beasts and led by some of the brightest minds in the Corps. What a tradition.

  • Freakness

    Marine Corps Drill Instructors are bad ass! The great thing about DI’s is that some might come to the Depot’s as basic Marines…but when they get to the School and then to the Street…they are molded into beasts and led by some of the brightest minds in the Corps. What a tradition.

  • Mike Hudgins

    14 July – 08 Oct 1982 Charlie Company, 1st Bn, MCRD San Diego. SSgt Montgomery, SSgt Bowermaster, SSgt Cargile, and SSgt Parker these are the Marines I will always remember. Semper Fi! Hudg

  • Mike Hudgins

    14 July – 08 Oct 1982 Charlie Company, 1st Bn, MCRD San Diego. SSgt Montgomery, SSgt Bowermaster, SSgt Cargile, and SSgt Parker these are the Marines I will always remember. Semper Fi! Hudg

  • Borrinqueno

    Sgt. Shepard, Sgt. Yacavone, Sgt. Spain and Sgt. Johnson; four names which I will never ever, ever forget. Plt 3012 I Co 3rd Bn, Parris Island, SC Made in Feb 2000

  • Top8511

    In the abscense of orders, find something and kill it!! We the Marines don’t have that problem, we react and we secure the blanket of FREEDOM! Semper FI Marines! “Disgruntled MSGT”!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SH5NKDPZMEXVHWUJMXYXKYQ5D4 Anthony

    The feeling is like no other the pain takes over your body but unless you hanen’t gone through it you won’t know that the pain you felt was just weakness and the streinth is coming. I remember all my DI’s from MCRDSC Parris Island 2062 and all they have done for me. Semper Fi

  • Antoinette

    You are 100% correct.

  • Lannenlj

    MCRD San Deigo July 1958 SSG Duran Sgt Upol great DIs even after this long I still remember them and the training they gave us. Semper Fi

  • Lwelker

    For all those that have wore that Hat, the current young and the now old, Thank You for maintaining out Corps! Maintain and Semper Fi !

  • Buzz

    SSgt Mosley, Biggest, meanest SOB DI I had the pleasure of being trained by, will never forget him but thankful for what he taught me. Will never forget him. Semper-Fi.

  • Nagrama84

    I respect and give a lot of credits to all DI’s that trained all our male and females young marines including my son. God Bless you all “Sir” and Ma’am!!

  • 0351===D~~~~~

    GySgt.D’alesandro india company 2007
    I’m pretty sure

  • Jtoy003

    WOW! Dedicated to to the core”Marine Corps”

  • Lucy W

    This is definitely motivating! If I enlist after college I want to stay in long enough to be a DI.

  • Walterk Patterson

    This is so true, it’s actually scary. I still remember the names of my Drill Instructors and am forever thankfull for what they added to my mind, body and soul. Oooohrahhh!!

  • Rfuentesjr78

    Throw me in the fire SIR!!!!! And watch fletch turn into bronze…I will not move out of the way…I want to feel pain til my body is numb,SIR!!!! I am not a Marine,but have “Devil Dog” in my blood…And I forever will be….SEMPER FIDELIS…HOORAH!!!!