Over 20 Marines at the Marine Corps recruit training center in San Diego have faced disciplinary action for misconduct, including physical abuse and the use of racist and homophobic slurs, since 2017, The Washington Post reports.
According to Marine Corps officials and documents the Post obtained, verified incidents include allegations Marines kicked, punched, and shoved recruits, which is expressly prohibited by Marine regulations. One drill instructor allegedly injured a recruit by using a staple gun to staple the recruit's torso twice.
"It left a wound right around where my heart is," the recruit, who is unidentified, told an investigator. "I did not say anything because I did not want to anger him more."
Another recruit said the same drill instructor forced him to eat part of a pine cone during a hike the day before this incident, and others said the instructor had said things like, "I hope you hang yourself," in the days leading up to these incidents.
The corps has attempted to improve its recruit training practices since the death of a 20-year-old private, Raheel Siddiqui, who died after falling more than 40 feet while running away from a drill instructor who had been targeting Muslim recruits. That instructor was later sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Marine officials in San Diego told the Post in a statement the training for Marine Corps recruits is "challenging for recruits and staff alike," and said drill instructors must receive thousands of hours of training and assessment.
"There is a very small percentage that fall short and must be held accountable for their individual actions," they said in a statement. "The overwhelming majority of drill instructors serve with distinction, and without any allegation of inappropriate conduct."
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