DI duty is hard - Though it might be understated, one detaching drill instructor knows just how demanding duty can be
By Lance Cpl. Edward R. Guevara Jr.
| | July 16, 2004
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. --
"This is the hardest thing I have ever done," Staff Sgt. Javier Lozano said about being a drill instructor, one who issues challenges and guides recruits through Marine Corps boot camp.
Now, after many trials and learning experiences, his three-year DI duty tour secures.
"Drill instructor's are demanding of each other," said the 28-year-old Company M senior drill instructor. "I learned my first cycle you have to have thick skin. Listen and learn. No drill instructor should come here thinking he knows everything."
Equipped with this knowledge, Lozano learned how to become a good staff noncommissioned officer and great drill instructor, according to other drill instructors.
As Platoon 3083's senior drill instructor, Lozano finds himself teaching both recruits and drill instructors, from whom he demands attention to detail and teamwork.
"It's the same with recruits and drill instructors," he said. "The small things count. It's what separates the Marine Corps from other Department of Defense services - we care about the little things."
Staff Sgt. Roger A. Taylor, Platoon 3083 drill instructor, sees this day-in and day-out. Taylor is Lozano's right-hand man when it comes to training the platoon.
"He has a strong work ethic and he's proactive," Taylor said. Lozano makes sure things are done completely and correctly the first time without anyone asking him to, he said.
According to Taylor, Lozano displays his work ethic through the time he spends on the job.
"He doesn't need to be here sometimes," said Taylor, whose job is to keep training and teaching the recruits. Lozano supervises, and he works with recruits with personal problems, ensuring training continues uninterrupted.
To help the drill instructors, Lozano eases the recruits by sitting with them and telling them his stories from the operating forces. He speaks reality by printing out war casualty lists as conversation centerpieces.
"They get a break from training and it motivates them to train again," Taylor said. "They are more willing to learn."
Lozano attributes his ability to lead recruits to the year he spent serving in Medical Rehabilitation Platoon and the Basic Marine Platoon here between regular cycles.
"When I was at MRP, it opened my eyes to different things about recruits and their problems," Lozano said. "All of the recruits were broken and had been there a week to six months. You have to see them as people instead of recruits and talk to them more. When I got back (to regular cycles), I had more compassion for recruits."
His fellow drill instructors agree.
"He's more experienced - he has one year on all the other senior drill instructors," said Taylor. "His BMP and MRP experience taught him how to talk to and take care of recruits."
Lozano's skill in working with recruits and drill instructors makes a vital leader within the company, according to fellow drill instructors.
"He tells both drill instructors and recruits how we can do things differently," Taylor said. "He shows us how to multi-task as a team or company, and he works to make the company look good as a whole, making sure nobody is shorthanded."
Taking the skills for which he worked hard to attain, Lozano leaves the depot for a radio chief course at Twentynine Palms, Calif., immediately after graduating his last cycle today.