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Are Drill Sergeants Allowed To Hit Me?

My last article The Most Common Myths about Basic Training stirred up quite a debate . Apparently there are many of you who fear the rumors you have heard regarding getting physically abused at basic training are true. After you watch those movies about basic training and hear those rumors about physical abuse, there is no wonder that you have this fear. This article intends to address the facts about the current military policy on physical abuse toward recruits at basic training.

Drill Sergeants complete an intensive training school before they ever meet you, the recruit. During this school they are taught how to properly train a recruit to become a part of the greatest fighting force in the world. During this training, Drill Sergeants are taught before they go anywhere during basic training, they need to have a battle buddy with them. Their battle buddy acts not only as an aid to complete any given task, but also as an eye witness to any accusation of mistreatment that may occur. “Well” you state “the two Drill Sergeants can just physically abuse someone and get together and come up with a lie about the situation”. When a situation comes to the point where it must be investigated, that prior statement would not work out. Rarely, if ever, are you alone at basic training, another recruit will be there to witness the situation. In fact, before a Drill Sergeant can even make a correction to a recruit’s uniform, they have to tell the soldier they are approaching them to do such a task.

Yes, there are stories in the media that appear every so often where Drill Sergeants have physically abused recruits. Drill Sergeants are not suppose to physically abuse recruits, much like civilians aren’t allowed to murder each other, but it happens. When a situation like this arises, it is investigated by the proper authorities. Given the number of troops being cycled through basic training, the valid number of cases of physical abuse toward recruits you actually hear about is amazingly low. The rest of the cases are just fabricated and exaggerated stories by recruits that have been proven to hold little validity.

When you arrive at basic training, you are taught from the first day of reception what to do if you are abused, or witness someone being abused, by a Drill Sergeant. Upon any situation of physical abuse, go straight to your Company 1SG, Chaplain, Company Commander or Equal Opportunity representative. After reception, you will go to your training unit, where you will get the same briefing again.

I hope this article cleared up some of the misconceptions about physical abuse at basic training.

As of July 7 th , the NEW version of The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook is now available. This book is now packed with more tips and more chapters than ever before!


Mike Volkin is the author of the Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook, available at

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