The New York Times

Separate Is Not Equal in the Marine Corps


Marine Corps recruits arrive for the Emblem Ceremony on Parris Island, S.C. — the event near the end of boot camp where they officially become Marines — mosquito-bitten and sunburned, sand wedged under their fingernails and dug into their scalps.

After 10 weeks of grueling training, they have had to complete a nine-mile hike carrying 50 pounds of gear — plus a nine-pound rifle — through woods and swamps to the Iwo Jima sculpture that represents everything important to Marines. Hungry, hurting and smelly, they struggle to straighten one another’s uniforms, squaring their shoulders. To a person, they’re bawling. It’s gorgeous.

But when I arrived at Parris Island in June 2014 to command Fourth Battalion — the

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