making a group of people one cohesive unit, however. During the
platoon’s final training exercise, the Command Master Chief simulates
capturing and torturing O’Neill. As the first women attempting to
complete Navy SEAL training, the Command Master Chief takes the
simulation too far and attempts to sexual violence against her. What
follows is a graphic fight scene during which the O’Neill ultimately gets
away and beats the Command Master Chief in a display of grit and
determination. The other trainees finally see O’Neill as their equal when
she climbs a fence back to her platoon and yells, “Suck my dick!” at the
Command Master Chief. While this scene could be the subject of a
larger gender analysis of the military, it is important to realize that the
Command Master Chief had to push the platoon past any conceivable
boundary because that is what could happen in combat and, thus, the
only way for the platoon to accept Lieutenant O’Neill.
The physical, mental, and emotional degradation that is required
to push someone to rock bottom is extreme and, as such, results in
recruits harboring intense resentment of their drill instructors through
the period of instruction. This is the third prong of the military model
and a necessary component of boot camp. The drill instructor serves as
a collective target of hatred that rallies and bonds every recruit. The drill
instructor’s goal is to instill a sense of collective suffering. Recruits are
told to “embrace the suck” of boot camp because only in doing so can
they grow in a positive and productive way instead of a negative and
destructive way. The Command Master Chief and Gunnery Sergeant
Hartman embody this in G.I Jane and Full Metal Jacket. Through most
of the movie, they push recruits outside of their comfort zones and
force them to rely on each other to complete the task at hand. The
Command Master Chief repeatedly pushes his platoon past its breaking
point to force them to grow together. The process is not perfect,
however. In Full Metal Jacket, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman and his peers
push Private Pyle too far, and it ends up being a factor in the murder-
suicide. Even though this happens, Hartman is still able to push the
platoon and make it a cohesive unit, Private Pyle’s breakdown
notwithstanding.
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