Intensive training or I.T. is the highlight of every drill instructor’s existence. It is one of the perks of the job that they live for and take great pleasure in giving to recruits. Some recruits more than others. For those of you who do not know what IT is, let me explain.
IT is the process upon which a drill instructor will thrash you with a variety of different physical exercises and challenges for a period of time in order to correct something that you have royally screwed up. Sometimes it won’t even be your fault. If you are a squad leader. For example, and one of your recruits you are in charge of does something wrong, you will most likely be punished alongside him or her. This is to teach teamwork and accountability.
Depending on how quickly you learn, you may or may not be IT’d often. Some recruits just don’t get it, and are repeatedly given an IT session. Others learn very quickly not to tick off drill instructors and do what they are told the first time they are told to do it. The amount of IT you get is basically up to you and how quickly you internalize the information you are given and follow orders.
There will be times when your entire platoon is IT’ d. For example, after a drill competition that our platoon lost to our sister platoon, the winning platoon as a whole, shouted out “00H RAH!” The drill instructors felt it was poor sportsmanship and proceeded to send them all to the sand pit. The sand pit, or as it is lovingly nicknamed “the beach,” is a giant square sandbox that conveniently holds an entire platoon. For several minutes recruits will get to “play” in the sandbox doing various exercises until they are told to stop. Dirt being tossed around and landing in the eyes and all crevices. It is exactly the opposite of fun.
Drill instructors find intensive training extremely effective in correcting recruit behavior. If a recruit is being stubborn, the drill instructor will simply continue the intensive training until the recruit conforms. The repetition of the exercises helps solidify in the recruit’s mind to learn more efficiently. That, or face more of the same.
Recruits can be IT’d for many reasons. If something is out of place on a uniform, if the recruiters forgot to do something, or if the recruiter was in charge of something that was not done to the satisfaction of the drill instructors, they can be IT’ d. In all seriousness, drill instructors do not set out to have it out for one recruit in particular. They cannot use intensive training as a method to haze recruits. The training is there to correct recruits quickly and efficiently and get them back to focusing on the mission at hand.
That doesn’t mean that drill instructors don’t get a certain amount of pleasure IT’ ing those recruits who are constantly screwing up. This is more so for recruits who are being intentionally stubborn and have a bad attitude over those who are genuinely trying and cannot seem to master the task. Drill instructors will always rise to meet recruits who they know are trying their best.
Not every recruit is going to be good at everything and drill instructors understand that. One of the great things about boot camp is that you can excel to the top of the class without having the best physical fitness marks or the highest marksmanship scores. Esprit de corps can count for just as much as those tangible things. Drill instructors are looking for all of that in their recruits.
Source: Personal experience