Senior Drill Instructor Staff Sgt. Amber Staroscik trained the first platoon of female Marine recruits ever trained on Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. Platoon 3241, Lima Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, completed recruit training in May 2021. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
As the service works to meet a congressional mandate to train female recruits at both of its training depots, the Marine Corps needs more female drill instructors as soon as possible, and the service is offering lump-sum bonuses up to $14,700 as an incentive.
A Marine administrative message released Wednesday seeks both first and second tour drill instructors to fill positions at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, and MCRD San Diego, California. Second tour drill instructors are also wanted at Marine Corps Officer Candidate School, Quantico, Virginia; at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland; and at both Officer Training Command and Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island, for fiscal year 2022.
The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act prohibited gender-segregated boot camp, and Congress has given the Marine Corps until 2025 to fully integrate training at Parris Island, and until 2028 to do the same at San Diego.
It’s not clear exactly how many female drill instructors will be needed. The Corps wants to fill the anticipated future vacancies in order to “best position the institution for necessary growth” in the coming years, a Marine Corps spokesperson told Coffee or Die Magazine.
The most urgent need is at MCRD San Diego, where the first three women graduated from the West Coast Drill Instructor School in December and then trained the history-making recruits of Platoon 3241, Lima Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, in the first gender-integrated company ever trained at MCRD San Diego.
“The expectations were higher, and there were a lot of eyes on us, which obviously can be really nerve-wracking,” Sgt. Stephanie Fahl said earlier this year. “Understanding that you’re setting the bar, and you’re the one paving the way for others to come, you don’t want to be the one to mess that up.”
A drill instructor is the first Marine a recruit meets and must set an example through maturity, leadership, good judgment, and professionalism, according to the Marine Corps.
Maj. Lynn Stow, director of the San Diego drill instructor school, said the new female drill instructors “came in ready to work, ready to put in the effort, and integrated right in.”
“We’ve had no issues,” Stow told Coffee or Die.
Four more women graduated from the West Coast Drill Instructor School in late June.
Col. Matthew J. Palma, commanding officer of Recruit Training Regiment, MCRD San Diego, told Coffee or Die in February that training women on the West Coast provides greater flexibility for the service and more opportunities for Marines who might want to be drill instructors on the West Coast.
“Say Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton or Miramar and their spouse wants to be a drill instructor, they can be co-located,” Palma said. “So it just opens up more opportunities for the Marine Corps.”
First tour drill instructors who sign up for a 36-month tour can choose to receive their incentive pay as an extra $578 a month, $300 a month plus a lump sum of $10,000, or $150 a month with a $14,700 lump-sum bonus.
Second tour drill instructors volunteering for a 24-month tour at either of the Marine Corps Recruit Depots can earn an extra $578 a month, $300 a month plus a $6,700 lump sum, or $150 a month plus a $9,800 lump sum.
Finally, the MARADMIN offers second tour drill instructors at officer candidate school or officer training command an extra $578 a month, $300 a month plus a lump sum of $10,000, or $150 a month with a $14,700 lump-sum bonus for a 36-month tour.
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Hannah Ray Lambert is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die who previously covered everything from murder trials to high school trap shooting teams. She spent several months getting tear gassed during the 2020-2021 civil unrest in Portland, Oregon. When she’s not working, Hannah enjoys hiking, reading, and talking about authors and books on her podcast Between Lewis and Lovecraft.
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