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I served 6 years in the Marine Corps (1980 – 1986), making the rank of Sergeant.  During basic training my drill instructor practiced his MMA moves us.  He literally knocked a few grunts unconscious with kicks and blows to the head.  I was one of the grunts he knocked out.  He actually knocked me out four times.  None of this was put in my medical records, it was all considered part of making me a Marine.  Well, today I suffer short term memory loss, headaches, double vision, and major neck pain. I am sure my problems are due to this drill sergeant beating the heck out of me.  If I put in a claim for my problems with the VA, how can I prove they were caused by this drill sergeant who routinely kicked my butt?

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A1:  Simply by finding another Marine Grunt who was there at that training with you when this happened and by obtaining a ?Buddy Letter?, verifying what had happened. Look online for Myhealthevet.com & google and research examples of Buddy Letters. You can submit with the Buddy Letters any and all medical files, too. I hope this helps. I would contact a VSO, either American Legion, VFW, or DAV. They would assist you at no cost. Try usvets.com., ebenefits, too. Good luck.  (SS)  4/16/19

A2:  I'm sorry, I don't believe this story. Notice the Marine uses the term Drill Sergeant, which is an Army term. No true Marine would make this mistake. I also don't believe the level of alleged physical attacks the recruits suffered from. It's highly possible they were assaulted with much less physical attacks; however, nothing life threatening nor prolonged. If this punishment were true, I would think at least one recruit would have reported it to proper authorities. Recruits/Marines have "Request Mast", wherein they can report serious abuses as well as other alleged wrongdoing. Why did this Marine wait so long to divulge these alleged abuses.
In summary, I believe this Marine is a liar. I also believe he needs help from a mental health provider.  (TR)  4/15/19

A3:  You probably cannot prove it, but you need to file a claim for it anyway. The burden of proof is not on you. Its on the Marine's. You may be able to find someone who experienced the same thing in your unit or at least witnessed it to provide a statement for your claim.  (LR)  4/16/19

A4:  I am a VSO for the Vietnam Veterans of America.  You will need to get what is called a buddy letter. Try to find some one you served with that saw you get knocked out and have them write a letter describing the incident. Make sure they sign the letter and not just an email.  (RA)  4/16/19

A5:  To (TR), I respectfully want to respond to your skepticism about my tenure in the Marine Corps.  I am sorry if I offended you, but I refer to all basic training personnel as "Drill Sergeants."  After my tenure in the Marine Corps I joined the Air Force, and eventually retired as a Senior Master Sergeant.  Air Force drill sergeants are titled as "Training Instructors," but I simply refer to them as Drill Sergeants too, and everyone in the Air Force knew what I was referring to.  The kind of rigid thinking you illustrate is exactly why I left the Marine Corps.  Think about it for a moment (TR), I was simply trying to make the point that the Marine Corps trainers beat me and others endlessly all in the name of training.  Your insult to me and other Marines who were beaten to a pulp is aggravating and disappointing.  You sir, are the epitome of absolute thinking.  I know many Marines who understand what I mean by the term “Drill Sergeants,” and think no less about dissecting a meaning only another Marine would understand without pause. I apologize for being abstract to those who don’t understand generic terms, but I will never apologize for being a Marine and an Airman who has a working brain.  Food for thought [abstract concept]  (TR), jumping to illogical conclusions is a dangerous exercise often done by mediocre minds.  (WT)  4/16/19

A6:  You can get statements from people that witnessed these events. Find members from your unit that were there when it happened.
Maybe you wrote a letter to a family member. If so, get a copy and have a notarized statement that they can attest to what you told them.  (BG)  4/16/19

A7:  Hello, I have been helping my husband's company with their reunions for many years now, and this is not the first time I've heard of this kind of abuse. Where do you live? And have you been to the American Legion. They are wonderful here in Houston and can help you with this. Bless you and hope you can find some relief.  (EB)  4/16/19

A8:  In 1967, my "drill instructor staff sergeant xxxxxx" beat me in the solar plexus, hit me upside the head with my rifle, and repeatly sent me out on the pugil sticks thing to be knocked about (because he sensed my fear) and forced me to eat only lettuce and skimmed milk for lunch (to lose weight). This was SOP, and no Marine would ever complain by their personal code and tradition. The theory was to tear you down to nothing so they could mold you back as they wanted. So this Marine's story rings very true!  (TU)  5/1/19  

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