I may have given the impression that boot camp was made harder than necessary. This is not correct.
It was made as hard as possible and on purpose.
It was the firm opinion of every recruit that this was sheer meanness, calculated sadism, fiendish delight of witless morons in making other people suffer.
It was not. It was too scheduled, too intellectual, too efficiently and impersonally organized to be cruelty for the sick pleasure of cruelty; it was planned like surgery for purposes as unimpassioned as those of a surgeon. Oh, I admit that some of the instructors may have enjoyed it but I don’t know that they did — and I do know (now) that the psych officers tried to weed out any bullies in selecting instructors. They looked for skilled and dedicated craftsmen to follow the art of making things as tough as possible for a recruit; a bully is too stupid, himself too emotionally involved, and too likely to grow tired of his fun and slack off, to be efficient.
Still, there may have been bullies among them. But I’ve heard that some surgeons (and not necessarily bad ones) enjoy the cutting and the blood which accompanies the humane art of surgery.
That’s what it was: surgery. Its immediate purpose was to get rid of, run right out of the outfit, those recruits who were too soft or too babyish ever to make Mobile Infantrymen. It accomplished that, in droves. (They darn near ran me out.) Our company shrank to platoon size in the first six weeks. Some of them were dropped without prejudice and allowed, if they wished, to sweat out their terms in the non-combatant services; others got Bad Conduct Discharges, or Unsatisfactory Performance Discharges, or Medical Discharges.