Battle Rattle

Behind the cover: Parris Island purgatory

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What happens to recruits who leave boot camp and are too sick or hurt to go back? Find out in this week's issue of Marine Corps Times on newsstands now.

Justin Henderson left for boot camp in January 2011. More than 500 days later, he’s still there.

Henderson is stuck at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. after catching pneumonia 13 days into training. He’s now awaiting a Physical Evaluation Board, which requires paperwork to pass through the Defense Department and Veterans Affairs to get his disability rating.

He stays in a squad bay with Leonard Carter. Carter had to leave boot camp in June 2011 to have a tumor removed from his leg. He is also awaiting a PEB.

Both have since been told by their doctors they’re unfit to serve, but they can’t go home. Their families have barely seen them in the last year and a half. While they wait, they have very little contact with the outside world. They’re still considered recruits, so they have few phone calls and visiting hours are limited.

Read about their experience and what other recruits who have gone through this lengthy process say about the PEB in this week’s issue.

Also in this issue: Learn about the new “red teams” invading the Corps to challenge decision-makers and see why a certain Aussie wants Marines out of Australia.

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Comments

  1. AngryDevil Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    This is complete trash. The fact that they got I’ll during recruit training, should not grant them the right to receive disability. If they were injured due to actual training events, they should rate a tiny token, but pneumonia? Come on…While leading my squad in Afghanistan on one of our patrols, I hit an improvised explosive device, suffering double leg amputations and several other minor injuries. As have many of my other brothers who have dedicated themselves to our Corps who have sustained other sorts of injuries whether they can be seen or not. I know these recruits did not ask for a tumor or pneumonia, but rating disability off of it? Fix the system…

  2. Vance Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    AngryDevil,

    First, thank you for your service. I’m sorry it came at such a high cost.

    However, I think you need to redirect your outrage. As you noted, these two “recruits” did not ask for a tumor or pneuomnia, but they suffered them.

    The point of the article is not how these two are somehow “milking” the system. (I’m sure both would gladly forgoe any further assistance from the military if it permitted them to get the Hell out of Parris Island.)

    The point is that the Marine Corps has these two bent over the proverbial barrell because they got left holding the bag on what turned out to be bad investments, and they’re taking it out on these two kids simply by failing to make a command decision.

  3. PEBRCTJAXS Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Ok, so just for the record I understand what AngryDevil is saying and it makes complete sense BUT I am a recruit on parris island that is in PEB and I have only been stuck here for 6 months along with Carter and Henderson but I can honestly say we would all give up everything we have here if it got us off this island quicker. Living here as recruits knowing everyday were never goin back to trainin and watchin everyone else on this island get to live out the dream we wanted, yeah it sucks just for the record. It’s like irritating deeps wounds. Breaking was bad enough, but having to sit here, day in and day out watching them get the dream. Just hurts. None of us asked for this so why the hell do we get treated like shit everyday because we all got to “broken” to finish training? Sorry I came here with the thought that I would end up leaving here a marine and fighting for my country and possibly dieing for it one day. I came here with the thought i was giving up all my rights to stay here 13 weeks and leave a marine, something we all wanted more than anything. Yeah, we definitely feel like prisoners, we have less rights than them for sure. i wanted to do something amazing with my life, but I broke along the way so I have to go back to being a civilian, so why should we get treated like were complete garbage everyday when we didnt ask for any of this?

  4. MountainMan Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I’m afraid that I feel like your logic is broken. I do agree; for those of us who deployed, some of the injuries we sustained are far greater and run far deeper than for some of the young Marines (or recruits) who are injured in training. Regardless, in my own experience, there have been recruits who suffer grievous and permanent injuries at boot camp simply through Drill Instructor negligence. I developed chemical pneumonia at PI and was treated like an outcast for it. Both my DI’s and BAS treated me like a malingerer, so I sucked it up and went on to MCT and MOS training, but was not properly treated for chemical pneumonia until 11 months later, around the time I got out to the fleet. By that time, my lungs had already suffered some pretty ugly damage and are now permanently watermarked. I will have problems with this for the rest of my life just because of the stigma forced upon people in training.

    What am I getting at? While I’m not sure that having a tumor, which was probably popping up before that recruit reported to PI, is disability worthy, I do feel like any injury incurred during training or other service with the military should be eligible for VA or disability benefits. You don’t have to be injured in a combat theater for it to have permanent negative effects on you for the rest of your life.

  5. PEBRCTJAXS Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Well in honesty thats the thing, the kid with the tumor(leonard) may get a 0% disability rating if they find that his injury was pre-existing. but at the same time, things that happened after the fact that werent his fault should be rated in my opinion like how you cant drop a skittle on his leg without him crying, bc he had nerve damage during his surgery. for some of us, these things do affect us the rest of our lives to where were always in pain, or like henderson where he cant run 5 feet without not being able to breathe because his lungs are so frikked up.

    It shouldnt matter where you were hurt or how you were hurt, yes other people were hurt doin far more, but either way you look at it, we were all hurt tryin to get to be in the same place as those others, our career just got cut a little short, whether we wanted it to or not.

  6. brokecpl Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    If the Marine Corps breaks you, then they have to fix you, or compensate you if you can’t be fixed. If it’s a pre-existing condition, then no they don’t deserve to be paid for it. Also, when on a PEB board they are going to get two ratings, one fom DOD and one from VA. If they get less than 30% from DOD, they will get a lump sum severance based on yearly base pay multiplied by number of years in service. So these guys wouldn’t get much. By the way, they make it very hard to get above 30%. The VA, on the other hand, will give you ratings on every injury you claim. For instance, I was found 20% disabled by DOD and 60% by VA. It doesn’t seem as though these guys are malingering, and if they were hurt during training and can’t finish because of it, then yeah they deserve to be paid for it. It’s legit. You wanna talk fixing the system? Take a look at some of the POG SNCO’s retiring after 20 years, getting a pension, plus claiming BS injuries (like snoring and ED), and also getting 100% disability on top of their retirement pay. Plus, you have bags of crap on legal hold for being criminals and they still rate a paycheck even though they don’t do crap but sit in an A/C office all day, because they can’t be trusted to do anything but swab the deck. So no, I don’t see a problem with these recruits getting disability.

  7. LCpl Mike Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    I was on MCRD PI when Carter was there last year, and was in the STC (Special Training Company) at the same time. I broke my hand fighting in pugil sticks and had to sit out 2 extra months in the MRP (Medical Rehab Platoon) on the island. The Corps didn’t screw me over — they fixed my injury and got me back into training as soon as I was medically cleared.

    But while I was there, I did see lots of fellow recruits stuck in MRP and PEB (Physical Eval Boards) for 12+ months. There were recruits who were there in limbo for months. Not only did they have no idea if or when (or in what status) they’d get off the island, but while you’re in MRP/EHP (Evaluation Holding Platoon), you still get treated like a recruit the whole time. You’re still dealing with Drill Instructors, you don’t have any access to the outside world, you’re still stuck writing paper letters home to update your family on your status and condition, etc. While every Marine has endured the peculiarities of the MCRD for 13 weeks, is it really fair to treat these recruits like recruits for 6, 8, 10, 12, 16+ months while the Marine Corps’ overly-bureaucratic system bends them over the couch with the green weenie?

    These recruits are not trolling for benefits. Most sustain some sort of training injury or catch one of the nasty diseases that seem to perpetually live inside MCRD recruit barracks and 99% of them would give their left arm to get back into training, finish recruit training and graduate a Marine. Or at least be given the opportunity to go home. But being held in recruit status indefinitely — a perpetual limbo– is just cruel.

    It sounds like its time for an officer to exercise some leadership qualities and fix this broken system.

  8. Realtalk Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Um, that’s funny. I visited PEB 2 times a week or more for almost a year. They have it GREAT. Television, x box, px, subway, computers, junk food galore, cell phones, tons of libo, and even manage hook ups between other PEB…. I’m pretty sure they rarely clean, maybe the head in their squad bay, but oh boy, one responsibility. Henderson got kicked out of his house on libo and stayed at my home. He was disrespectful and was perfectly capable of acting like an average little kid. Some PEB need to get over themselves. They have it BETTER than Marines that actually earn their title. They literally sit and are paid for it. The fact the hats are getting chewed for this is ridiculous. They do their jobs and they do it right. These kids get hurt, they knew it could happen, and they swore in and signed the papers… The only one to blame is themselves.. It’s time to grow up and take responsibility for yourselves. Your literally only job is to heal. Quit whining. Ps- For a fact, when PEB works their job at the library, all they do is sit on Facebook. They have plenty of contact with the outside world. Cell phone, facebook, and packages of lard and chocolate from mom and dad. Note the PEB the commented earlier….. Computer. Enough said.

  9. PEB Recruit Discharged Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Parris Island 10 Months, PEB 4 Months…..I’m grateful for everything the Marine Corps has taught me and done for me. I am damn proud of having been a part of it and never quitting.

    I was a damn motivated recruit, Guide of 2 platoons. I personally talked at least 4 recruits who wanted to quit back into sticking with it and training to the end. Each of them graduated while I was unable to. Drill instructors respected me and I damn sure respected them. They bust their asses 10 times harder than any recruit on that island.

    As far as you guys saying that PEB has it so good go, you dont know shit. Yea we had it better than training recruits, but we’re there for a fucking year. We dont get computers, cell phones, or video games so thats a hunk of crap just so you know. TV we get upon request for 1 hour a night during free time and 4 hours on saturday and sundays (again, upon request). We have to deal with RSP living right next to us, a platoon filled with whiny little girls who spent 2 days on the island and couldn’t take it so they quit. I hate those fucks.

    Don’t get me wrong, PEB isn’t hard living, its not like we go to bed at night and say “damn, today was rough”. But that doesn’t mean that being a RECRUIT for a year isn’t awful. Speaking in the third person, requesting permission to speak to the Drill Instructors, sitting on foot lockers for hours, all that crap. Yea compared to training recruits PEB has it awesome, were allowed to laugh within reason but compared to the rest of normal living America PEB is basically a prison with set rules and set guidelines. A year of not being able to take a fucking walk down the road without permission or supervision. Doesn’t sound very awesome.

    I’m not complaining, it is what it is and I’m a man. Could have been way worse. I’m just lettin you guys know that its not just sittin back collecting a check. A lot of sacrificed freedoms go into those checks. You can bet your ass I would have rather been earning them at MOS School and MCT.

    PS: I have had specific conversations with great drill instructors about whether or not I’m going to try and come back if I heel up. I told them probably. They told me I was crazy and they would never put themselves in a position where this shit (PEB) could happen again.

  10. PEB4LIFE Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I was in PEB for a little more than 8 months, and it sucked. To AngryDevil, you honestly think that we would not have rather had that happened to us than to get hurt during recruit fucking training. We didn’t ask to get hurt and it is not like we are purposely dragging out an injury. I’m permanently fucked for the rest of my life and would give anything to have go back to the Corps. But guess what I don’t get to ever go back because my condition is an automatic disqualifier. All I wanted to do was serve and be a Marine since I was little and my dream got shit on. So thank you for your service but fuck you. I now by law required to tell any employer that I have military background and I didn’t do shit, then I get to look at peoples faces who like you say I don’t deserve anything. I completely agree with that, I don’t, I would have much rather given my life in combat than deal with this shit. You don’t realize that everyday I live with the knowing that I failed and get to wake up everyday pretending to be a vet. Take back your fucking disability rating I don’t want it.

    And to Realtalk, when I was in PEB there was no library, or cell phones, or xbox, or computers, or “hook ups” with other peb. It was libo on friday for an hr at the mcx then about another hr at the bowling alley where we can eat subway. We could watch dvds that we had on the weekends the rest of the week was reading a book in the squadbay or cleaning the squadbay. So if what you say is true shit has changed since I was there.

  11. Westad Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    If you think that candy and subway and movies makes up for the fact that we were and some still are being screwed over by people who have no idea what the hell is going on in our individual cases, then your just as ignorant as the drill instructors who treat the broken and sick recruits like its their fault they broke or they got hurt.

    Parris island taught me a lot. And those two boys are personal friends of mine. Yeah they might not be the most mature kids but they both wanted to be marines and were hurt durring the process.

    95% of those broken recruit broke because they actually gave their all in training… I spent 15 month on PI… 2 1/2 months training, 9 month in FRP, and the rest awaiting my board. I have to have surgery on my hip and if that doesn’t work a total hip replacement… I havent been able to run or walk for more the ten minutes without taking a break because the pain is overwhelming an im only 21!

    I tried to get back to training and I was a damn good recruit! I love the marine corps and wish things would have gone differently… But they didn’t and I’ll be damned if I don’t get compensated. Had they let me go home when I initionally broke my hip wouldn’t be as bad as it is now… It would have been properly treated (not to bash medical… But physical therapy is a joke!). Keeping those rats there to save them some money is only gonna be more expensive in the long run. The di’s don’t deserve punishment but those recruits deserve to heal correctly.

  12. Corporal Smith Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    I don’t think these two volunteered to serve their country with the hopes that they would get sick or injured and stay at bootcamp for 500 days. They arent “sickbay commandos”, they are two unlucky patriots.

    Our system is broken and someone needs to be held accountable. I broke two vertebrae (L4&5) in the Corps and am told I have to wait 1-2 years (not days, weeks or months) to see a VA doctor. If I was a senator or senators son I wouldnt have to wait a day. In the Corps, leaders serve the troops food, then they themselves eat. What happened?

  13. LCpl Smith Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    I got too Parris Island in December of 2010, Got my ankle shattered during the Crucible and was sent too MRP for two months.

    For some reason the doctors sent me too PEB. There was no reason for it, My ankle was healing fine. I was in PEB when Henderson first got there, He was the most immature and ungrateful recruit I have ever met.

    While I was in PEB all we did was sit on our couches and watch TV and DVD’s. We had an Xbox, but it was broken long before I got there. We got an hour at the PX and an hour at the Bowling Alley where we got too hang out with the Female PEB Platoon. We were also awarded Leave for those of us who were there long enough too rate 10 days. We also got 2-3 Hour phone calls back home almost every night. When drill instructers tried too tell us too clean something we didn’t have to do it because of our medical condition, So we literally just sat on a couch all day and watched TV. If you are lucky enough too get a job working at the hospital you can just buy subway all day and sit on facebook.

    Anyone thinking that recruits in PEB have it hard are horribly mistaken. Yes it sucks too be on the island for an extremely long time, But its not like you are doing anything hard. And you get leave to go home. MRP is horrible, EHP is horrible, but PEB is a vacation.

  14. Joe Says:
    June 12th, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    @Cpl Smith

    You think smiling at PFC’s and Lance Corporals while serving them food during field OPs is indicative of the entire Corps’ priorities of rank? Do you not remember being cut in line at medical, dental, etc by officers and SNCO’s? I’ve had friends on limited duty for a year plus waiting to get approved to get an MRI, only to find out that they’ve got a permanent injury that could have been treated shortly after it occurred.

    I don’t know for sure, but I highly doubt that a Lieutenant Colonel is going to be the last one to “eat” in this case. Medical will clear a path for that guy, meanwhile an injured Lance is going to continue getting shat on for being a “malingerer” because nobody wants to deal with his real and life-altering injury. They’ll just tell him to RICE, drink water, do some weird stretches, and prescribe more Motrin.

  15. Realtalk Says:
    June 12th, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    The only job they have is to heal. If they can’t handle that, they should thank God they never graduated boot. Let me tell you, speaking properly to higher ups never changes, being told to do dumb things never changes, and what these PEB think is so “horrible”, is much more so, once a person earns the title of a Marine. If you can’t take pressure, critisism, and monotonous work, be happy you’re broken and in PEB, because there…. It’s easy.

  16. 3002forlife Says:
    June 13th, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Being broke halfway in training is not sth these recruits ask for, i dislocated my patella(knee cap) at PI n i was drop 2 MRP n i was there for 4 months i went back to training still broken because i lie about the pain. i push it through training everyday n now i am MARINE n i am proud of myself. I know those two i saw them when i was in MRP n their condition way serious than mine. My Good friend Robinson went to PEB with Knee problem i too would have been in PEB if i didn’t lie.

  17. jack Says:
    June 13th, 2012 at 7:28 am

    AngryDevil, it’s worse than you can imagine. I am a disability claims rater for Dept. of Veterans Affairs. I just granted a guy 70% compensation ($1272 per month tax free) because three weeks into Air Force boot camp he developed schizophrenia (something that would have happened whether he joined up or not). He didn’t even show up for the exam we scheduled, but the scant evidence he did submit we used to “evaluate” him. As soon as he submits a form for unemployability that we sent him, that comp will jump to over $2700 per month. It’s the equivalent of having put in your twenty years in uniform. It’s the equivalent of having won a million dollar lottery that pays out over one’s entire life, and then some if you count potential widow’s benefits (currently $1200 per month for being married to the guy for at least 10 years). It’s disgusting. We grant same $ for “PTSD” for being scared about what happened to someone else. We grant same $ for guys claiming completely undocumented joint pain or headaches just on their word alone, even with no objective evidence. The system is so broke it’s beyond fixing. The culture of “grant everything and give away the boat” is so ingrained and rampant it will be years before the pendulum swings the other way. VA needs cycnical guys like you to change their evil ways.

  18. Jack Says:
    June 13th, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Angry Devil, first of all, thank you for your sacrafice, and Jack, you say you are a disability claims rater, have you ever served?

    Because you saying “PTSD is being scared about what happened to other guys” is completely ignorant and seems like an objective view by someone who has never seen first hand accounts of what PTSD does to people, or god forbid, been put in a situation that could induce PTSD. I have moved bodies with only 1 limb left just after they were exploded, watched people get shot, been shot at myself, ran through machine gun fire to carry out an objective. Those events change a person. I have not claimed PTSD but I would be a liar if I said it didn’t do anything to me. I can’t sleep, my social life has fallen to hell because I cannot feel the same as I did before. Life is different in every aspact, but I don’t expect retribution for it, compassion wouldn’t hurt but retribution isn’t necessary.

    But Angry Devil, I am not sureI’m seeing your justification. Do they not deserve disability because they recieved it at recruit training and were therefor not Marines, or because you feel they sustained their injuries in a “pussy” way so they should get anything? You above all people should be able to reconize the effects of life altering ailments and every person or organization in the US should be accountable for their actions. If recruit training messed up this kids lungs, he should either be fixed or compensated. If some discount bin doctor hired by the military gave the kid nerve damage, the kid should be compensated. All other organizations are required under constitutional law to be responsible for their actions and short comings/wrong doings. I view this as no different. At least in these kids case they had no idea it was coming and did not enlist with even an iota of the thought that those injuries would be inflicted on them. You knew full and well that while in combat you could sustain an injury.

  19. wags9840 Says:
    June 13th, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Just admin sep them. A few guys in my bootcamp platoon got hurt /sick during training and they still graduated with us but once they got to SOI they were dropped from training for their injuries and were admin seped.

  20. FormerSoldier35S Says:
    June 13th, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Wow, I dont know why the Marine Corps is still screwing these kids. In the Army we had something called a MEB or Medical Evaluation Board, MedBoard for short, to get Trainees out of the Army if they wound up with something rendering them unfit to serve. It usually takes about 3 months, and while they’re waiting if they’re at Fort Jackson, the biggest Army training post in Columbia, SC, they’re transferred to a unit called Delta Co at the 120th Adjutant General Battalion – Reception where they still do work and get ready to adjust to civilian life, we grant them a pretty good measure of freedom, its about the same as being in an actual unit in Garrison. I myself used to work at 120th as Cadre when I was on my way out of the Army. What we do mostly is getting kids ready for Basic Combat Training and getting other kids who got sick or hurt and can’t do Military Service (according to regulations) out of the Army.

    In the case of the kid with the tumor, he would be considered an EPTS, or Existed Prior To Service, unless he could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it didn’t exist before he enlisted, if that was the case he’d face a MedBoard in 3 months, just like the other Marine in this case.

    If its an EPTS, what the Army does is run the case through an expedited MedBoard and then separate them, EPTS cases generally take a month.

    I dont get why the Marine Corps is doing this, they still have to house, feed, and pay them for doing absolutely nothing. That many months sitting around doing nothing is a pretty big chunk of change for an 18 or 19 year old. It would never fly in the Army, and generally you guys are better than us in respect to Personnel matters. The Marine Corps has much less of a huge bureaucracy like the Army does.

    Do the Marines have something like “Failed Medical Evaluation Standards?” We call it a Chapter 5-17, and you’re out about as fast as an EPTS. They could apply it to these guys and get them the hell out of there.

  21. bob pope Says:
    June 14th, 2012 at 3:00 am

    “What a Sea!”

    When I was stationed at MCRD PI, I worked in G-3 and saw some mind boogling situations but this takes the cake.

    From the CO of the Nav Hosp to the CG, MDCRD, down to G-1, all the way down, the chain of command must be held accountable for this situation.

    Why didn’t someone step up and say “they’ve been in the system too long.”

    Heads need to be put on pikes.

  22. Jack Says:
    June 14th, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Other Jack, of course I’ve served, in combat. I was luckier than my dad who lost a leg in Vietnam and we were both fortunate enough to have loving supportive family. Have you ever been a VA disability rater? No, of course. That’s why your chiming in like you did. If you have, then you, who likes to discuss your disturbing memories of combat in detail over the internet, would likewise be disgusted at Veterans claiming compensation for PTSD based on things like being on a ship routed for Vietnam that for whatever reason turned around and went back to San Diego, without making it anywhere near the Gulf of Tonkin. The diagnosis of PTSD is handed out like prizes in a gumball machine within the VA. Just ’cause I put PTSD in quotations doesn’t mean I don’t know anything about it or how the manner with which compensation benefits are paid out for it is abused within the Veterans Benefits Administration. Knucklehead.

  23. GuitarGuyAMC Says:
    June 14th, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Boo hoo.. I was stuck in PEB in MCRD San Diego for 10 months, but i’m not complaining. My buddy has been stuck there since July of 2010 and he is STILL THERE. 23 months..no privileges..treated like a Recruit for 23 months! He has seen his family MAYBE 4 times since hes been there. Soo maybe you should do an article on that. Just saying.

  24. GuitarGuyAMC Says:
    June 15th, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Oh and to all of you that have no idea how it was and are talking shit about it.. yeah it could have been worse but it still sucked. Yeah we got movies and it was kind of laid back, but think of this..sitting in a squadbay for about a year or more being treated like shit by RECRUITS because you get labeled as one of the RSP recruits that couldnt make it past their third day on depot. And also, it SOUNDS like a good time, but i challenge you to watch movies over and over again for days at a time just to pass the time so you can get the hell off of the Depot. To all you Marines out there, thank you for your service and I would give anything to have been able to finish the 3 weeks i had left. I know there are pieces of shit that milk it, but I know for a fact that there are guys that had broken their backs or snapped there hip or shattered an ankle that wish they could go back and finish what they started. And I think those men deserve the title of a US Marine more that a lot of the pieces of shit I’ve seen that graduated that really shouldnt have.. I really do apprichiate the Marines that have sacrificed lives or extremities and I wish I could have been out there helping the ones that are still in the shit. And yeah i think Pneumonia is a pretty bitchy way to get out and i dont even know how he even got a PEB out of it. All I’m saying is there are guys that are there that wish they could go back and deserve more than getting treated like a piece of shit.

  25. Hailey Says:
    June 24th, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    One of the guys in this article is my cousin. His sickness started out a bronchitis. It wasn’t until they continued to push him in training that it became pneumonia. His lungs are PERMANENTLY scarred. He almost died twice. Now, he is left with a condition that will affect him for the rest of his life. He is no longer fit to serve, even though that is the one thing he wants to do. If he could serve, he would. I understand that there are a lot of people who have been through much worse than he has. And I thank God that worse didn’t happen to him. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been through hell because of this. Once they told him he couldn’t serve, all he and his family wanted was for him to come home. They keep him there for months for no reason. They wouldn’t even let him call his parents except for once a week. He is not the same person he was when he left. I am afraid I may never get my cousin back. My point, though, is that when he got bronchitis, they pushed him past his limits. They continued to push him until it turned into pneumonia and we didn’t think he was going to make it. And when it was all over, they wouldn’t even let him come home. He does deserve disability, because it is their fault. They ruined his lungs, and he will have to deal with the health issues of having permanently scarred lungs for the rest of his life.

  26. Smitty Says:
    July 7th, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    These guys should NOT be treated like recruits any longer. Get them ready to succeed on the outside while they are going through this lengthy process. Someone, somewhere has dropped the ball.

  27. Rosan Jane Flores Says:
    July 18th, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    That is just horrible. Being subjected to those conditions for so long is very inhumane. They should be released back to their families.

  28. johnboy Says:
    July 23rd, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    i’ve actually met one of these S.OB.s when I was in RSP, yeah i’m no Marine but these two were not milking it, PEB just sits and waits while RSP gets set home packing so both platoons will never become Marines. I would rather be hit by a Marine Drill Instructor again than to come home a civilian again.
    GOD BLESS THE MEN AND WOMEN in UNIFORM.

  29. Jonathan Stone Says:
    July 26th, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I think a fever is not a disease, a fever is a symptom of a disease. a cold is the result of an infectious virus, of course it’s a disease. I think they should be released back to their love ones.

  30. Michael Robinson Says:
    August 26th, 2012 at 12:54 am

    Regardless of the service branch it appears that not much has changed regarding the medical discharge process. MEBs/PEBs still appear to take too much time, way too much time. I should know something about this issue since I spent over 5 months hospitalized while in the Air Force. The Air Force would not accept the findings of a NAVY PEB. So I had to go through the entire process again. The two Marine recruits regardless of the circumstances should not have to spend months and months before going before an MEB or receiving the results of a MEB. The system has been broken for decades and apparently continues to be broken. The two Marines are not the issue, the system of evaluation is the issue.

  31. joe Says:
    August 26th, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    How about letting them leave and then using that money for equipment for our brothers over seas? I mean damn, one pint of blood costs $250 if the govt. Can’t get it in donations. This is a gross misuse of time and money

  32. Recruit/mom Says:
    September 1st, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    It is redicilous that the recruits in PEB are being labeled as milking it! I had a son that was in MRP then EHP and eventually PEB. My son wanted more than anything to be back in training ,but he got pneumonia because he tried to stick it out. He had to have surgery on his lung to fix the problem. He was sent to PEB after that. Both these recruits were in there while my son was there healing. It is mentally hard on these recruits because they do not get to graduate. I have personally talked to some of these young men and they hold out the hope that one day they may return to training. They are limited to what they can do while they are there. In visits and the phone calls. I know because I lived it with my son when I was there or talked with him. He spent 7 months in limbo. I wish people would not say things that they don’t know if it is true or not. I am grateful that my son was taken care of and now has been given the opportunity to rejoin a platoon and finish to graduate. Believe me it was a lot of fighting and pure determination that has got him there!! These recruits have to face the rest of their lives feeling like a failure and it is sad. So before any one starts assuming things please get the true facts!!

  33. Abe Rondell Says:
    September 4th, 2012 at 7:14 pm

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  34. Lolly Says:
    October 25th, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Yeah right, these two were garbage recruits and give shame to what they were. They were just waiting around collecting money.

    I have nothing else to say, simply because they were just scared to fraud out

  35. Sgt. major Says:
    November 28th, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I would rather get blown up again then go back to Evaluation Holding Plt.

  36. trmnl-lance Says:
    November 28th, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    through I highly doubt these two recruits are out to milk the system. But that has to suck for them being stuck in limbo I think the amount of time it takes to go through the peb process is flawed. I was pdrl retired from active duty 2 years ago and it is a long process. It took 10 months just to work my package through my chain of command and then an additional 6 months to go to the medical board in DC and come back to me with the findings. I was held 6 months past my eas as a result of the process. But the Marine Corps took care of me. Rather then point fingers at the recruits or the di’s people need to be looking at the overall peb system and figure out why the process takes so long and drags on for up yo a year or more when really it should only take a couple of months

  37. dmart Says:
    December 1st, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    As the guy above said, it’s not a matter of them staying to milk the system. They’d rather get off the island than wait around for a result from Veterans Affairs and I don’t blame them. That’s a miserable place to be stuck a recruit indefinitely.

    As for their conditions, it isn’t up to anyone but them, their doctors, and the VA to decide whether they were pre-existing or not. A tumor could be up in the air. Obviously, we can’t know if the kid had a tumor prior to the yellow footprints or not. If he did, he doesn’t rate disability from the VA. Simple as that. As for pneumonia, well, that’s another story. From personal experience, I know it’s a matter of luck when dealing with illness in recruit training. I was sick from week 2 of boot camp, all the way through MCT and a few weeks into my MOS school. I didn’t go to BAS until team week, out of fear of being dropped. BAS told me I had pneumonia but it was clearing up so they let me stick it out – same thing they told me on the first day of MCT. Now I can see why something like pneumonia can break someone into a condition that they can’t serve. A kid in my aircrew training went through a flight physical in Pensacola and found out the pneumonia he had in boot camp destroyed his lungs to a point that he couldn’t fly and he got forced out with 75% disability.

    These kids were put in a position they didn’t ask for. They went to MEPS for a medical evaluation twice, just like everyone else, then to Parris Island under the preconception that they would be there for 12 weeks. The Corps broke them and they didn’t fix them to a point where they can serve. If the conditions weren’t there before they stepped off that bus, the Corps has to compensate them. That’s just the way it is. Get them off that island and let the VA figure that out in their home state. Maybe the Marine Corps doesn’t realize they’re already paying these kids for every minute those kids are trapped on Parris Island.

  38. Ceya Says:
    December 21st, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    With the process of Limted Duty Board which is 16 months total ( split into two 8 months sections) and then finally to PEB if not heal from the past 16 months.

    PEB is another 2-3 months, if you contest finding then another 3 months to fly to Bethesda, MD. They had a west coast board at Coronado but closed that in 2004.

    Being broke is no fun at all.

  39. Gray Says:
    January 8th, 2013 at 1:08 am

    I met both of them as I was leaving the island. I suffered a blow to the head which automatically disqualified me from training due to the Navy Medical board’s bullcrap system.

    I met guys who have been their for 16 months along with the two in this article. When I was their they did not have xbox or any of that crap. They helped out around the island and at the Naval Beaufort Hospital with the Marine liaison’s office.

    The system is broken and is not helping themselves or the recruits in the process by holding them that long.

    I will be going back summer 2013 (Year from discharge off P.I. in accordance to the NAVY MEDICAL BOARDS)
    -Gray
    -Semper Fidelis

  40. Zach Says:
    January 31st, 2013 at 1:09 am

    I went to bootcaamp with henderson, he got sick about two weeks into training and was dropped. We saw him a couple of times throughout the rest of bootcamp but not very often lol. he was trying to get out of the Marine Corps after the first day, the fact that they are giving him disability after not even graduating is just stupid.

  41. sameoldblues Says:
    February 5th, 2013 at 12:41 am

    I was at PIRD in 05 and was discharged bc of vision problems I couldn’t fix or change. I was in RSP and saw PEB recruits on a daily basis for three weeks. Noone on PIRD has it made except newly made Marines on grad day. Yeah my plans of being in the corps and serving got crushed, but I wouldn’t of traded it fir anything. These boots need to hunker down and realize that they are wearing a uniform with US MARINES on it, that will change forever if they are shipped out. Trust me Iam dealing with it still.

  42. pk Says:
    March 10th, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    If you are hurt and not fit to train and command knows there is no returning to training, and you are simply awaiting out processing then it is ridiculous to keep people that long. send them home stop feeding and housing them. That is a drain on taxpayers. send them home and send their papers in the mail. or send them home on con leave until the papers go through.
    it seems to me the main complaint was that they are held in a training environment knowing full well they will never train. bottom line is that they really should organize these peb’s in such a where taxpayer is regarded. considering a great deal of money is lost to this point as it is.