Fear and loathing in the Marines
By JEFF RISTINE
WASllIN(;ToN --The two drill instructors shouted at
Marine recruit Ronald Bannister from both sides.
"One kept saying, 'You're nuts! You're unts!
You're nuts!' " Bannister testified at a House Armed
Services Subcommittee session last week, "And the
other was saying, 'You're crazy! You're crazy! You're
zrazy'! "Yes sir! Yes sir!" he shouted over and over
THE INCIDENT, and other cases of unjustified
abuse from superiors, led Bannister to attempt suicide
while he was in boot camp. That he failed is sur-
prising, for his drill instructor had instructed him to
cut his jugular vein if he ever wanted to kill himself
because "you'll go faster that way."
Marine drill instructors "feel they can play God,"
says former Marine Private Harry Hiscock, whose in-
structor allegedly beat him, kicked him, pushed him,tbit
him, threatened to kill him and finally, shot him in the
hand. "There is a very good chance that t will have a
disability for the rest of my life," says Hiscock.
If there is irony in the two men's horror stories, it
is thatneither belonged in the Marines in the first
place; they seem out of place in uniform. Bannister,
17, has unusual difficulty answering direct questions;
his uncle had to help him testify. His grasp of chrono-
ology, including major events in his own life, is weak
and incomplete. He has trouble understanding written
material and never made it past the tenth grade. He
also had problems getting along with social workers
and his foster parents.
HISCOCK WIL say only that he has always had
"sime problems with coordination" in his hands; one
suspects there are somewhat more unfortunate skele-
tons in his closet. lie was 21 when he graduated (his
dritl instrtuctors catted him "the old man"), and he
reluctantly admits he could not march like the other
Batnnister asd llis-- pck are only Iwo of counttess
unfit Marine recruits enlisted across the country de-
spite clear disqualifications. The reason? Men like
former Staff Sgt. Kenneth Taylor, a smartly-dressed,
fidgety type, who says over half the recruits he ap-
proved for boot camp were unqualified but cleared
through illegal or unethical recruiting methods.
"The beginning of the problem is at the recruiting
center," says Taylor, who served for four years as a
recruiter at the Marine Command Center in Detroit.
"To succeed in today's recruiting system, you have to
cheat. You have to."
TAYLOR CLAIMS recruiters work under "terrible
pressure" from above to meet monthly and even
weekly quotas-or face loss of vacations and stiff fines.
The only way to avoid such wrath is through deliberate
attempts to see that "marginal applicants who stand
little or no chance of surviving the rigors of Marine
recruit training" are accepted anyway.
"There are millions of ways of getting around an
unqualified recruit," Taylor says confidently.
Men who were classified as "permanent rejects"
for physical reasons-heart murmurs, high blood pres-
sure, or flat feet-were allowed to re-enlist under
slightly altered names, and were later approved for
recruitment. One was processed eight times in 13
months, and disqualified time after time for physical
and mental deficiencies until finally being accepted.
"It was a big joke," says Taylor. "It was so absurd."
AND AGAINST the rules. Taylor directly violated
orders from superiors by lying about his applicants'
police records. If a special police okay was required
to authenticate a record check, he would submit the
request with a few letters missing from the potential
recruit's name and correct it after the check turned up
no criminal background.
He also coached applicants in mathematics to help
them pass tests and, in some cases, illicitly supplied
actual answers for potential recruits before their exam-
ination. "It would take me no more than three months
to compromise the entire test," says Taylor, who wa
able to get the answers from his contacts.
Taylor's conscience appears to be bothering him; h
took his stories to the House subcommittee on militar
personnel to help prove that some recruits-includin
Lynn McClure of Texas, now dead as a result of Marin
recruit training-should never have been enlisted
the first place. He has been collecting and savin
official Marine documents and memos to back up h
"SOMEBODY HAS to tell the story or it would cop
tinue and continue," says the former recruiter, wi
was discharged recently for hypertension. Recruitin
once considered a plush job but now likened to comb8
duty-is enough to tear apart families and drive so
men to attempt suicide, Taylor says. He suggests thi
the quota system be eliminated or that the recruitin
force be doubled.
But it hardly seems likely that Taylor's suggestio
will change the real problems the Marine must de
When countless recruiters have no qualms ab
enlisting young men they know are unfit to defe
their country, something larger than mere quotas
When recruits such as Bannister and Hiscock a
taunted, beaten, threatened and almost murdered
their drill instructors, something very basic is deep
amiss in the Marines.
WHEN MEN like Private McClure die in trainin
it is clear the whole ssytem of recruiting desan
Perhaps the crux of the Marine problem is reveal
in the Corps' own advertising slogan: "The Marines a
looking for a few good men."
They must look much harder.
Daily ManagingF ditor Jeff Risline is a Wahi
based intern for the Knighst Newspaper chain.
The Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Wednesday, June 2, 1976
News Phone 764-0552
A Soviet double standard
THE SOVIET UNION announced Monday that after a
week of high-level talks between party chairman
Leonid Brezhnev and Angolan Prime Minister Lopo do
Dascimento, it had decided to provide the south African
nation with further military aid, following up the assist-
ance provided to the MPLA during the winter's civil war.
Calling the liberation movements - in Angola and
Mozambique "lawful," the joint communique declared
that "The U.S.S.R. believes it is the duty of all freedom-
loving peoples to give support and assistance to Angola."
Without debating the merits and demerits of the
fledgling government in Luanda, it is certainly possible
to look askance at the Soviet Union's new move for im-
perial influence among the black nations of Africa. If
one may decry President Ford and the State Department
for encouraging American involvement in the internal
affairs of such nations as Angola, one may certainly do
the same for the U.S.S.R.
For all Moscow's pompous proclamations concerning
"freedom-loving peoples," it is clear to the most naive
that the Soviets have little in mind besides a foothold
for power in Africa. Their commitment to freedom, in
establishing such a foothold, is dubious at best.
If American leaders are to be lambasted for their
attempts at imperialism, the Soviets must bear the force
of the same arguments,
News-Lani Jordan, George Lobsenz, Jennifer Miller,
Ken Parsigian, Tim Schick, Barbara Zahs
Edit-Jay Levin, Jin Tobin
Photo Technician-Scott Eccker
To The Daily:
As a clerical at the University, I would
like to express my vehement opposition to
any attempt to get rid of UAW Local 2001.
To whose advantage is scuttling 2001? Clear-
ly, the only people who would gain from 2001's
demise would be the University administra-
tion. Some clericals have the unfortunate idea
that the University is interested in paying
rclericals what they are worth and in being
fair and benevolent. Let's look at the Uni-
For years, U-M clericals have been grossly
underpaid. There have been no cost of living
increases, and no longevity benefits. I per-
sonally know one woman who worked for 20
years, and retired at a salary of $8,000. In
comparing U-M clerical salaries with other
g area university clerical salaries, it is clear
that U-M clericals are getting screwed. When
Eastern Michigan University clericals were
strtktng fur a decent wage, they were told
that they shouldn't complain, because they got
more money than University of Michigan cleri-
xaTraditionally, the Uni'versity has been com-
mitted to paying the faculty high wages in
order to attract high quality professors. Some-
one has had to bear the brunt of this, and it
has been the clericals. The University knows
as wel it is the only game in town for many
people. In other cities, competition from in-
dustry or government forces universities to
pay decent wages. In Ann Arbor, - the
classic company town - there is no place
else to work other than the University. Know-
ing this, the University has taken scandalous
advantage and has not only paid very low
wages, but has gratuitously fired anyone who
does not toe the line.
The avowed program of the University
this year is to give all staff members a 5
per cent raise at most. For faculty who make
$20,000 a year, a five per cent raise comes
to $1,000. For clericals who make $7,000 per
year, a five per cent raise is $350. This is
why we need . a union. The University will
not be fair to clericals out of the goodness
of its heart.
Those clericals supporting decertification
have made the mistake of blaming the union
- an organization which has beenta ard
for a very short time - for the accunwataaed
ills inflicted on clericals by the Univer ity.
The union, no matter how strong, cannot in
one year win for clericals all the benefits and
raises they have been denied for thirty years.
However, a strong union, actively supported
by all its members, is the only way to bepi
the long process of winning a living agp
To The Daily:
I read "Grade inflation: making soncne
of everyone", and I feel that Mr. Routh left
out a very important view of the problem of
grade inflation. He said nothing about the
fact that public education is not preparng
prospective college students with adequate
training. My high school's English department
offered such options as "Self-Development"
and "Sensitivity." Students were not re-
quired to take good English Lit or Grammar.
Grammar is not even offered in many schools
anymore. With the quality of education on the
decline in our public schools it shouldn't come
as a big surprise that grade inflation i col-
leges is apparent. Needless to nay, colleges
need money to keep afloat, therefore entrane
requirements and grading scales must drop
if students are coming to colleges less quai-
fied to handle the work of five to ten years
I do feel grade inflation implies that sty
dents aren't as successfully handling work
loads as they usei to. I agree with Mr. Routh
that if students are to improve their mitds
the college must be demanding. However, I
think that it would be most advantageous to
begin reform on the public school level, rash-
er than penalize college students for educe
tion never attained or inadequately admit
tered in their past. If college instructors s
using the standards of yesterday, it will lY
drop college enrollment and won't affact the
real heart of the problem. Public school edt'
cation must be upgradade if the image and
value of college graduates is to be maintained