SAN DIEGO — There are many traditions and events that are held in the Marine Corps, however, not all are considered acceptable. Hazing is one such tradition and has been a top priority for the Marine Corps to ensure it is not taking place. Serious punishments are handed out to those found responsible for hazing, and with a down-sizing Marine Corps, any punishment on a Marine’s record could spell the end of their career.
The Marine Corps’ zero tolerance for hazing makes it imperative all Marines learn what hazing is. Recruits of Company D, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, received a class on hazing aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego April 16.
The Marine Corps has sent a strong message over the past couple of years that hazing will not be tolerated. However, it was not long ago when hazing in the Corps was considered just another part of the experience. Therefore, starting the education of the Corps hazing policy at recruit training is the best way to ensure it is upheld now and through the future of the Marine Corps.
“Being in the Marine Corps, a lot of hazing activities were going on, for example, the blood stripes tradition was being performed when I went through,” said Staff Sgt. Timothy R. Jackson, senior drill instructor, Platoon 1065, Co. D, 1st RTBn. “It’s important for recruits to be able to recognize it and say stop; that they’ve been taught not to do this.”
Not all recruits may have encountered hazing while growing up; therefore, some may be clueless to what would constitute hazing. The hazing class is a good opportunity to introduce the topic and educate them so that when they leave, there will be no doubt in their mind about the Corp’s zero-tolerance policy on hazing.
“Some may be unaware of what hazing actually is or since most are coming from high school sports or clubs, they think it’s just the regular tradition,” said Jackson, who has been in the Marine Corps for seven and a half years. “This class will help recruits identify hazing faster and be able to stop it; to have the courage to stand up for what is right.”
For some recruits, hazing was a large concern coming into recruit training. Fortunately, drill instructors receive top-notch training to ensure that all rules and regulations of the Marine Corps are upheld and carried out. There are many other events taking place during recruit training to keep them in a high-stress mindset, hazing is one they don’t have to worry about.
“I was really worried that when we earn our Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, that it was going to be pinned on us in a way that would puncture our flesh similar to the blood-wing tradition,” said Recruit Bryce R. Joonas, Plt. 1065, Co. D, 1st RTBn. “I had friends in the Marine Corps that said this happened, so I was relieved to see that it’s not true.”
A clear message was sent to the recruits of Co. D that the Marine Corps will not tolerate any hazing, and should any take place, those responsible will have to answer to their respective command and pay the consequences.
“It was great to see that the higher command is actively making sure that no hazing events take place,” said Joonas, who is from Linn Kansas, Kan. “I’m really against hazing and since I had a lot of friends in high school and college who were hazed, it’s really nice to see that the Marine Corps is being proactive about it.”
The purpose of the class is to ensure recruits understand that hazing is unacceptable. When recruits start to gain rank and higher billets during their time in the Marine Corps, they will be charged with looking out for their fellow Marines to make sure no hazing takes place.
“I’m glad I received this class because it’s good to know for now and my future development as a Marine,” said Joonas. “When I become in charge of Marines I’m going to make sure that no hazing traditions start. There are already enough good traditions out there so why start a bad one.”