DI School forges Marines to pass Corps legacy

DI School forges Marines to pass Corps legacy

A student (green shirt) is corrected by an instructor during a formation before running his initial Physical Fitness Test (PFT). Photo by Cpl Pedro Cardenas.

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO (Oct. 11, 2013) - The motto of Drill Instructor School reads, "The future of the Marine Corps starts at Drill Instructor School." This is where Marines become trained drill instructors, who in turn, transform civilians into Marines.

DI school is one of the Marine Corps' leadership academies where students must develop their leadership skills to earn their campaign covers. Campaign covers are a representation of Marine Corps history and tradition but also of the authority of drill instructors and their mission to make Marines.

DI School develops and evaluates the knowledge, physical condition, command presence, instructional ability and leadership of noncommissioned officers and staff noncommissioned officers to prepare them for the rigors of drill instructor duty.

"The most important aspect of DI School is character development. We represent the Marine Corps and the ones who came before us," said GySgt Carlos M. Weiss, instructor. "You always have to seek self improvement but also, how to better the organization."

Students at the school are observed in every aspect due to the nature the school.

"We hold our students accountable by being demanding, attention to detail and setting high expectations. Everything we teach here, they will apply during their drill instructor tour," said SSgt Michael D. Riggs, physical training instructor.

According to Riggs, a Long Beach Calif. native, leadership goes a long way. It is the ability to identify right from wrong, but most importantly, the ability to take charge and ensure things are done the correct way.

Leadership is taught at DI School through values-based training with an emphasis on the core values.

"When they go out there and find themselves needing to make a decision, they need to use that leadership and to always remember simple words of honor, courage and commitment." said 29-year-old Riggs.

Another emphasis is teamwork.

"You cannot be selfish by any means," said 31-year-old Weiss an Austin, native. "Unselfishness is a must-have trait because your sacrifices are always for the better of the organization."

Once the 56-day training cycle is complete, Marines will be awarded their campaign covers earning them the title drill instructor. Every drill instructor, since July 21, 1956, wears a "Smokey" as a symbol of prestige associated with being a Marine Corps drill instructor.

Graduates of DI School will go on to shape the future of the Marine Corps. They will preserve the traditions and history of the Corps as they build the next generation of Marines.

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