2011-09-17 13:58 (UTC)
It's not the shouting that does it. In fact, most drill instructors look down on those whose only tool for the job is shouting; shouting is a tool used for the initial intimidation upon arrival (witness R. Lee Ermey's initial speech to the new recruits in Full Metal Jacket) and for situations when you either need to be heard at a distance, over noise, or because someone's doing something REALLY stupid and needs to be corrected RIGHT NOW (for example, starting to stand up on the crawl-under-barbed-wire course, where there's machine gun fire seven feet above the wire to add simulated combat stress--it's supposed to be high enough to be safe if someone stands up, but just in case, you're supposed to stay in a low crawl until you get clear of the course and thus off the firing line). Basically, shouting should only be used for shock value; anyone who relies on it won't be a very successful instructor.
There *is* the "command voice," but that's not shouting--that's projecting the voice with power and authority. Hell, I've never been in the service (health issues and, until recently, being bi meant DADT issues), but I've actually busted out the "command voice" once without even realizing to. (Short version: I was working part-time at Michigan State as an assistant traffic cop for events, and when then-sitting President Clinton was to speak at the graduation, I was assigned to keep a parking lot next to the site empty. Later, while I was out there, I was told that I was also to clear everyone back from the curbs when the motorcade came by(!); as it approached, I called out a polite-but-firm request that came out spoken, not shouted, but about four times louder and an octave lower than I normally can do, and saw *everyone* in a quarter-mile radius backing away from the curbs.)
The methods used to break down the individual and rebuild them are much more subtle and psychological, relying on a continual high-stress environment and repeated drilling to obey orders instantly and without question, so that even if your brain runs off into a corner and hides, you'll still be able to function under fire. The classic "Strip the bed! Make the bed! Strip the bed! Make the bed!" and "Empty the pack! Pack the pack! Empty the pack! Pack the pack!" routines are examples of this; they seem like pointless things, but it's intended to both make following orders instinctive, and build an instinctive attention to detail.
Interestingly, it's apparently a formal requirement that military instructors inform troops of the purpose, goal, and technique to be used in any form of training *before* they start it ("The purpose of this exercise is to learn to maintain the M16A4 assault rifle. The goal is for you to be able to field-strip, clean, reassemble, and function-check your rifle while blindfolded. The technique will be repeated practice in the disassembly, cleaning, reassembly, and function-check procedures, until it can be successfully done by sense of touch alone!"), and in the case of the training that is done as an ongoing psychological or physical drilling, there's a semi-official requirement that, if asked respectfully during off-hours (i.e., when not engaged in direct training), that they explain the purpose and goal of any of their actions to any recruit who asks, clearly and politely.
The days of the sadistic drill instructor who's just out there to break students because he enjoys it are long gone; drill instructors are now out there to weed out those who won't be able to cut it in the early phases, then do everything in their power to make sure that those who *will* be able to succeed in a military environment do so. (One crucial rule: Never ask, order, or expect any trainee to do anything you personally can't or wouldn't do, and be ready to demonstrate, at any time, that yes, you CAN do this, and a hell of a lot better than your best trainee.)
Hence Kate's behavior; she's putting Bette through the wringer to make sure she can cut the mustard before she shifts to a more (subtly) supportive instructional technique and builds her up into the sort of fighting machine she has the potential for.
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