Marine Drill Instructor Gets 10 Years for Tormenting Recruits


Abusive drill instructors have lengthy been inventory characters in books and films like “Full Metal Jacket.” But that 1987 movie was set in the course of the Vietnam War, and the Felix trial exhibits that since then the Marines have drawn clearer strains between what instructors can and can’t do, mentioned Michael Hanzel, a former Navy lawyer who attended the proceedings at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

“This generation now, there’s things that I think that we’re much more focused on. In particular, in this trial, it’s calling people names based on their religion and targeting people based on their religion,” mentioned Mr. Hanzel, now a lawyer in non-public follow specializing in army regulation. “I don’t think anyone would say that was acceptable ever, but it probably was not prosecuted in the past the way it would be now.”

The prices in opposition to Sergeant Felix included commanding recruits to choke each other; ordering them to drink chocolate milk after which coaching them till they vomited; and punching recruits within the face or kicking them to the bottom.


An teacher drilling Marine recruits behind their barracks in Parris Island, S.C., in 2012.

Stephen Morton for The New York Times

“He wasn’t making Marines. He was breaking Marines,” Lt. Col. John Norman, a prosecutor, instructed the jury on Wednesday. He referred to as Sergeant Felix a bully who heaped particular abuse on three Muslim recruits due to their religion.

One of them, Raheel Siddiqui, 20, a Pakistani-American from Taylor, Mich., hurled himself to his loss of life after what the jury determined was mistreatment by Sergeant Felix that included slapping Mr. Siddiqui and calling him a terrorist. Mr. Siddiqui’s household sued the Marine Corps final month for $100 million.

The authorities didn’t cost Sergeant Felix with any crime instantly badociated to Mr. Siddiqui’s loss of life. The choose, Lt. Col. Michael Libretto, didn’t enable testimony about whether or not Sergeant Felix’s actions had been accountable for the recruit’s suicide.

Sergeant Felix additionally was convicted of ordering Lance Cpl. Ameer Bourmeche right into a dryer, which then was turned on as Felix demanded, “Are you still Muslim?” Lance Corporal Bourmeche testified that he twice affirmed his religion and that Sergeant Felix and one other drill teacher twice despatched him for a bruising, scorching tumble contained in the machine.

After a 3rd spin, Lance Corporal Bourmeche mentioned, he feared for his life and renounced his faith. The drill instructors then let him out, he mentioned.

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Sergeant Felix was discovered responsible as properly of ordering Lance Corporal Bourmeche to simulate chopping off the pinnacle of a fellow Marine whereas reciting “God is great” in Arabic.

The jury determined Sergeant Felix additionally ordered Rekan Hawez, a local of Iraqi Kurdistan, to climb into the dryer. The machine was by no means turned on.

Sergeant Felix was convicted, too, of rousing practically two dozen recruits from their sleep, ordering them to lie on the ground, after which strolling on them together with two different drill instructors.

In a closing badertion on Wednesday, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Bridges, a protection lawyer, mentioned the federal government unfairly long-established contradictory witness accounts right into a case in opposition to the brawny drill teacher who referred to as all recruits “terrorist.”

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