Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Marines in training must murder a pet or a family member to be admitted to the Corps.
Origins: While the training to become a member of the
These false tales are not limited only to U.S. Marines, as they also attach to other special forces military units as a way of making those who serve in them appear more fearsome. The rumored heartless act is likewise not limited only to parenticide: In other versions, puppies or kittens the fledgling soldiers have cared for throughout their training are slain by them at its culmination:
[Collected via e-mail, 2003]Sometimes the rumor assumes other forms in which the soldier-in-training is himself deliberately subjected to a near-death experience as part of the process of turning him into a member of an elite corps:
My friend said he knows someone in the marines or some special military group and that at the begining of their training they are issued a puppy to keep them company. At the end of their training they are called into a room with their puppy and forced to slit their puppies throat.
[Collected via e-mail, 2005]
In training, Do US Navy Seals really have to raise a kitten and eventually kill it? I guess this is supposed to turn them into cold-blooded killing
[Collected via e-mail, 2004]The lore about having to kill a loved one (relative or pet) is so well known that it even gets repackaged into stories meant to provoke guffaws:
Is it true that Marines are drowned for a minute, and then revived as part of their training?
[Collected on the Internet, 2003]Another item of folklore that has to do with nascent Marines and the training they undergo is the humor offering "The Farm Kid's Letter Home."
I'm reminded of the old joke about SAS training, that at the end of training you had to walk into a room and shoot the person you find sitting in there.
The first two guys go in, see their wife sitting in the chair, throw the gun down and run out in disgust.
The last guy goes in, and the officers outside hear a bang, then a series of muffled thuds.
He comes out and says 'the gun was loaded with blanks, so I had to beat her to death with the chair.'
Barbara "leatherneck reign" Mikkelson
Last updated: 25 October 2006
This material may not be reproduced without permission.
snopes and the snopes.com logo are registered service marks of snopes.com.