More than 50 years ago, they helped make Marines, and memories, on Parris Island. Now, former drill instructors are coming back. WTOC joined them on their visit and, many of them told us they noticed some big changes in structure of the base and some of the training, but they say the types of Marines that come out of there haven't changed.
They're on the island for three days, touring the base and meeting up with old Marine buddies for one a reunion. It's a trip that brings back a lot of memories from their time on the drill field.
"We had seven to eight weeks to get them prepared," recalled Tiny Renaker. "Seven, eight weeks to prepare a recruit, not like they have 12 weeks today."
"I spent some times as much as 16 to 18 hours a day with these boys," said Charles Lowe.
It's time many of them feel was well spent, especially since many of their recruits followed them to war after boot camp. "You will find they'd call us all kinds of names," said Renaker. "Not to our faces, but putting it bluntly, after we finished with them, they would follow us through hell."
And in many cases they did. "What Chuck, myself and other DIs did, I will stack up to anything. We had a job to do and we did it."
Although things have changed, they all agree the type of Marines that come out of Parris Island haven't. "They do an outstanding job and we appreciate the fact that when a Marine leaves this base, he's ready to go into combat and do the job that's necessary," said Renaker.