Drill Instructor School is tasked with training the Marines that make Marines.
The mission of Drill Instructor School is to further develop the leadership, command presence, instructional ability, knowledge and physical condition of selected staff noncommissioned and noncommissioned officers to successfully perform the duties of a drill instructor.
The school not only prepares Marines for an arduous tour as a Marine Corps drill instructor, but it additionally hones their skills as professional warriors. The school takes great pride in the fact that our graduates will not only shape the future of the Marine Corps as they train future Marines, but when they return to the operating forces, they will be the Marines who will lead future efforts for our Corps.
Drill Instructor School was formally established in October 1952 and over the years has increased its length from four weeks to the current 11 weeks. Although the course length has changed, the mission of the school has remained constant.
The focus of the instruction and training established in the course syllabus of the 1950s and 1960s is very similar to the program of instruction the school uses today. Emphasis is placed on standard operating procedures for recruit training, drill, physical fitness, general military subjects and instructional techniques. Overall, leadership is the cornerstone of the course. Ensuring each student has a sound foundation of the basic leadership traits and principles coupled with solid command presence will allow them to set the proper example for their recruits.
Nine drill instructors, each a gunnery sergeant or staff sergeant, serve as squad instructors. These Marines have completed at least one tour as a drill instructor and each has been hand-picked to train and mentor the Corps' future drill instructors. In addition to serving as an instructor and subject-matter expert for a particular subject area, they are also assigned a squad of eight to 10 students, which they lead, mentor and counsel throughout the 11-week training cycle.
The director of Drill Instructor School is a major. The assistant director is a captain with experience in a recruit training company and serves as the primary instructor for the Series Commander Course.
The first sergeant for Drill Instructor School is a former drill instructor who uses his extensive experience to supervise and mentor the staff and fulfill the duties as the senior enlisted advisor at the school.
HISTORY OF THE CAMPAIGN COVER
The introduction of the pre-World War II campaign or field hat worn by Drill Instructors today originated during an advisory council meeting in 1956. Senior Noncommissioned Officers strongly recommended the adoption of better "headgear" for DIs.
At that time, the khaki barracks cap had a bill, but didn't shade the eyes. The soft khaki garrison cap didn't have a bill, and the green herringbone cape worn with the field uniform was also inadequate in the summer sun. The pith helmet was a practical alternative for wear in the hot Carolina summer. It was cool and its wide brim provided good shade for the eyes and neck. It later became the hat used by marksmanship instructors at the rifle range.
Further study indicated that the field hat was the item most preferred by DIs. It shaded the neck and eyes well, but did not keep the head as cool as the pith helmet. The field hat was a bit of tradition going back to the "Old Corps" or pre-World War II days. It also was more suitable for year-round wear than the pith helmet. By early June 1956, the Depot had requisitioned 1,000 field hats for delivery on Sept. 1, 1956, but General Wallace M. Greene Jr., wanted to order 700 hats immediately. On Saturday, July 21, 1956 at 7:30 a.m. all 603 drill instructors of the recruit training command obtained their new hats.
FEMALE DRILL INSTRUCTORS AUTHORIZED TO WEAR "SMOKEY"
The Commandant of the Marine Corps announced on Sept. 13, 1996, that all female Drill Instructors were authorized to wear the previously male-only "Smokey" field hat. The commandant's decision has answered the frequently asked question, "Why not?" It was first asked in 1976 when the first females graduated from DI School and again in 1983 when female DIs began wearing the scarlet shoulder cord. During their Sept. 26, 1996 graduation ceremony, female DI School graduates were issued field hats. A cord retirement ceremony took place Oct. 2, 1996, after which female DIs ceased wearing the scarlet cord and began wearing the cover. The commandant, General Charles C. Krulak, was on hand for the event.
The final scarlet shoulder cord, the previous symbol of a female DI, was placed in the Parris Island Museum. Marines that wear the field hat, the campaign cover or the "Smokey" and train Marine Corps recruits must train recruits by the Drill Instructor Creed. The Creed was written in 1956 by Drill Instructors for Drill Instructors.