She replied at length and with quite a bit of heat. I don't remember her exact words but hopefully the following summation will capture her opinion.
When I went through basic they didn't do any of that. The drill instructors weren't allowed to touch us. They didn't use curse words or humiliate us. The idea that people were treated that way in the 60s and 70s really pisses me off. This is a free country, not Nazi Germany. How could they do stuff like that?My defense of Drill Sergeant Hartman fell on deaf ears, although I'll post it here in the silly hope that one day my wife will condescend to read my thoughts on this issue.
What is the purpose of a drill sergeant? I believe the short answer is to prepare soldiers—marines in this example—for war, and to train them to be effective combatants in war. If a person is unable to bear both the physical and mental adversity of boot-camp then that person obviously doesn't belong on a battlefield. A drill sergeant is responsible for turning out—as Ermey so eloquently puts it—Ministers of Death praying for war. The Marine Corps basic training is no place for touchy-feely sentiments, or even common dignity, it's literally about life and death, and even more importantly, it's about winning battles.
My wife would say, soldiers don't charge hills anymore. They call down air-strikes and then soldiers just move in and take over the now empty area. Why do they need to be tortured for thirteen weeks by sadistic little control freaks? To which I would reply: Drill Sergeant Hartman was a Marine. He was training Marines. You don't join the Marines to sit in a bunker and call down air-strikes. Often you're first in. Often you're behind enemy lines. Often, you don't have the option of calling in an air strike!
Well times they sure have changed. Now it looks like they might even start giving medals for not killing the enemy. They call this a medal for Courageous Restraint.