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Drill Sergeant Nasty

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"If you ladies leave my island, if you survive recruit training, you will be a weapon. You will be a minister of death praying for war. But until that day you are pukes. You are the lowest form of life on Earth. You are not even human fucking beings. You are nothing but unorganized, grabastic pieces of amphibian shit! Because I am hard, you will not like me. But the more you hate me the more you will learn."

His job is simple -- turn the bunch of maggot recruits that are the regulars into lean, mean fighting machines. The more you hate him, the more you will learn!

The only method he knows is The Spartan Way. He yells. He carpet bombs your ears. He makes you scrub floors with toothbrushes. He will make you drop down and give him 20, 50, or whatever arbitrary number he comes up with. He is usually played by R. Lee Ermey (who actually was a Marine drill instructor for two years) or a gruff black man (see: Louis Gossett, Jr.).

On kids' TV, this same character is a gym teacher, coach, or other authority figure. Often a veteran drill instructor who has trouble hanging up the chevrons.

The episode will often imply that Drill Sergeant Nasty is "right": that, abrasive though he may be, everything he does is for your own good and everyone will come out the better for it. Of course, in the film Full Metal Jacket, the original Drill Sergeant Nasty drives one of the recruits into a psychotic breakdown, an outcome that you almost never see in any other examples.

He will often address those under his command as "maggots" or "ladies", or any other insults he can think of. He may also dish out (often derogatory) nicknames.

In Britain, the popular image is of the "Sergeant Major", who is usually much less abusive, but no less demanding, and may or may not be marching up and down the square.

In somewhat of an ironic twist, the popularity of this character has impacted real military training. Recruits often enter with at least a passing familiarity with the trope, therefore either expect it and don't take training personnel seriously who don't emulate it, or don't take it (and therefore the instructor) seriously. At first.

A very specific example of The Neidermeyer that, unlike that trope, will seldom lead his men into actual combat, because his job is to train them, then send them on to their next assignment. Compare Sergeant Rock, the guy who leads them once Drill Sergeant Nasty is done training them.

The Drill Sergeant Nasty is one of the best examples of the Genghis Gambit. It instantly provides 40 people with nothing in common with one common dream, namely the sergeant's slow, painful and embarrassing death.

Compare Veteran Instructor.

Examples of Drill Sergeant Nasty include:


You call this Advertising?! Edit

  • The British NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) ran a television advertisement that showed a Drill Sergeant Nasty ordering a woman to cook for him and read him stories, in imitation of a young child.
  • A 2010 GEICO commercial, featuring R. Lee Ermey himself, illustrates why Drill Sergeant Nasty would make a lousy therapist.
  • An old advertisement for the Seattle Mariners baseball team showed the "Lou Piniella school of therapy." (Piniella was the team manager at the time, and a very good manager was he.)
  • Think being a TV sports-cameraman isn't tough (or awesome)? Sky Sport New Zealand and the US Marines demonstrate otherwise.
  • One commercial for a stain remover pen features one of these, except (a) he's a blatant parody of the trope, and (b) he's just plain stupid.

  "What'd they send me, a daggone Houdini?!"

  • A Halls cough drop commercial has a DSN flying in on a gust of wind when someone takes a cough drop. Hartmann-style, he yells, "Let me see your war face!"


You call this Anime or Manga?! Edit

  • Mildly subverted in Macross Frontier: the main character's best friend puts said main through the wringer of tests for the Private Military Contractors but is doing so not because the main needs training but rather to instill some much-needed humility.
  • Muta, The Stoic third-in-command of the group of thieves in The Daughter of Twenty Faces fills this role for series namesake Chiko in the early parts of the series, teaching her about the practical ins and outs of burglary and life on the edge of the law by drilling her when she least expects it.
  • Sōsuke Sagara from Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu takes on a Drill Sergeant Nasty persona in order to whip his high school rugby team into ship shape before the big game. The reason why it's not in the Sergeant Coach section is because, in typical Sōsuke fashion, he Crosses the Line Twice and puts them through a training regimen fit for a U.S. Navy SEAL in a Shout-Out to Full Metal Jacket. The regimen comes complete with Hartman-style discipline (and not to mention cuss lines ripped directly from the movie), and the end result is a rugby team of Brainwashed and Crazy killers.
    • He later subjects a Yakuza gang to this sort of training, so that they won't continue to be picked on by a rival gang (their training is a great deal more humane, however). Of course, his training later leads to them storming their rival gang's hideout, SWAT-team-style in Bonta-kun costumes.
    • This actually gets carried over to Super Robot Wars W, counted as being awesome, where he puts that to good use by equipping them with Bonta-Kuns and siccing them on some Mazinger Z enemies.
    • Melissa Mao is the actual drill sergeant in FMP. In the rugby episode, Sōsuke mentions he borrowed her notes, which come in a book titled How to Abuse a Trainee.
  • Lal Mirch from Katekyo Hitman Reborn, who is considered one of the harshest and toughest of trainers (at least, what Tsuna and Gokudera think -- which probably means a lot, considering that they've been through Reborn's training...).
    • Also, Colonello, who also wears an army outfit. Makes sense that both he and Lal Mirch would be extremely tough and strict drill sergeants, considering they hung out together ever since they were babies.
  • Mostly averted in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, where Nanoha and Fate are kind, caring and understanding to their trainees. But when Teana goes too far in a mock match and puts lives at risk, Nanoha shows just why they call her the White Devil in coldly spectacular, brutal style. It was all for the best, but considering her usual sweet and gentle demeanor was very unexpected and quite jarring (which perhaps was her intention). Then again, the cadets remark that even their normal training menu is exhausting.
    • Fan Work often Flanderizes Nanoha into this trope.
    • The person who comes closest to being a Drill Sergeant Nasty is Vita, she doesn't yell at the new kids (except in extreme situations) but isn't as gentle or warm as Nanoha or Fate. She is actually playing this trope straight because while being cold and a bit unfriendly she really does have the kids best-interest on mind all the time. This trope is even lampshaded by her when she discuses with Nanoha why they are not stricter with the new cadets. Nanoha's reply is that the cadets are not unskilled amateurs but capable young soldiers who want to develop their abilities, and that if there is enough time to yell at them it means there is enough time to teach them a little more by beating them in the Mock Battles.
      • In the last episode of StrikerS, she notes that she hasn't complimented them much, but that they have become quite strong (most of them are AA rank, two ranks below her), and is blinking back tears while telling them not to cry.
  • Tenma's gun coach in Monster.
  • Evangeline A.K. McDowell from Mahou Sensei Negima! She can be convinced, with a lot of effort, to instruct someone in magecraft and/or combat. She cannot be convinced to be gentle about it. On the bright side, those who survive her training definitely gain the benefits.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia gives us training-obsessed, serious neatfreak Germany to fill this role: while not exactly that awful, he does have his moments.
  • Hiruma from Eyeshield 21 can be like this to his team when he has to. It's later shown that he used to spend his free time at a military base as a child, so that may have had an influence on his "teaching" methods.
  • Hiko Seijuro of the Hiten Mitsurugi-ryu in Rurouni Kenshin, while a master of a sword-style which is taught only one-on-one, manages to deal such training to the young Kenshin Himura (who will grow up to be the most feared assassin in the Bakumatsu, Hitokiri Battousai). It doesn't help that his catch phrase is:


You call these Comics?! Edit

  • Somewhat subverted: In Beetle Bailey, Sarge appears as a tough and mean jerk of a sergeant, but he doesn't succeed at whipping his men into shape. Also, Sarge has a variety of weaknesses himself that Beetle uses to get under his skin.
  • Gauntlet in the Marvel comics series Avengers: The Initiative is a textbook example of this trope. He eventually gets beaten within an inch of his life by one of his own recruits.
  • Battalion, actually nicknamed "the Drill Sergeant from Hell", from the Teen Titans spin-off Team Titans.
  • This role was originally fulfilled by actual drill instructor Leatherneck in G.I. Joe, who was a moral absolutist who doesn't have time for your excuses, maggot!
    • Beachhead, although little more than a background character in the Marvel comic series, became this in Devil's Due's G.I. Joe series, when assigned to train simple grunt Greenshirts. At one point, he made a recruit clean the barracks not with a toothbrush but with a POTATO. Now that's a new level of Drill Sergeant Nasty...
    • Somewhat subverted by Sgt. Slaughter; while his toy bio describes him as a Drill Sergeant Nasty, his comic book appearances were limited and avoided this trope. He plays the trope straight in his Western Animation appearances, as listed below.
  • Sgt. Stomp in The Intimates, though he's severely emotionally damaged from his days as a superhero. Interestingly, during the Vietnam conflict, he was a conscientious objector and was stripped of his rank for three years. He also sees more value in yoga than most examples would.
  • The Italian comic Sturmtruppen: the Sergeant is almost a straight example, except he's truly feared only by fresh recruits (the other soldiers always try to play him tricks when he isn't looking their way) and he's actually somewhat competent into managing Red Shirt lives in battle (less when there's an officer to please or if he really dislikes the designed "victim").
  • In a flashback in Green Lantern, Kilowog's drill instructor from his days as a rookie, Lantern Ermey, who instilled within him the drive of a drill instructor and inspired him to push his own recruits as hard as possible so they'll have a better chance of simply surviving once they graduate to full Lantern. Kilowog's Sinestro Corps counterpart Arkillo fills a similar role, though he is even worse, and eats recruits that fail him.
  • One appears in Pyramid training camp that Royal infiltrates in Astro City: The Dark Age. He even sports a Smokey the Bear hat.
  • Sergeant Haldeman in The Draft warns that any recruit who messes with him "will get more grief than you can handle". Literally, as Pit Bull discovers; he is a projecting empath.


You call these Animated Films?! Edit

 "Kiss the pavement goodbye, gentlemen! When I'm finished with you, you'll have mud in places you didn't know you had."


You call these Films in Live-Action?! Edit

  • As the picture and page quote show, Gunnery Sergeant Hartmann from the film Full Metal Jacket (played, of course, by The Master himself, R. Lee Ermey). Subverted in the sense that R. Lee Ermey's character in Full Metal Jacket is a demonstrable failure as a drill sergeant: he entirely fails to notice one of his trainees is undergoing an obvious mental breakdown until it is too late, and then gets himself killed in a very stupid manner by trying to abuse and provoke even further the visibly twitching trainee fondling the loaded rifle... instead of simply turning around and leaving to fetch the MPs before the crazy man with the gun noticed he was there.
    • R. Lee Ermey was a Drill Sergeant Nasty in real life; he was originally hired as a consultant for Full Metal Jacket, but Kubrick decided to use him instead of the actor they had hired.
    • This is the character that gave us "unscrew your head and shit down your neck." We owe the man greatly.
  • Hoo boy, Cadet Captain Stone goes beyond the call of duty with this in Cadet Kelly.
  • A somewhat more sedate, erudite, but no less nasty version would be Viggo Mortensen's portrayal of Command Master Chief John James "Jack" Urgayle in G.I. Jane.
  • Sergeant Hulka in Stripes, of course.
    • Uncle Hulka?
  • Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley (played by Louis Gossett Jr.) in An Officer and a Gentleman. "Only two things come from Texas, Steers and Queers. And I don't see no horns, boy."
    • Which predates Full Metal Jacket, which had the same insult.
    • R Lee Ermey served as Louis Gossett's technical advisor for the film An Officer and a Gentleman.
  • Gunnery Sergeant Tom Highway, Heartbreak Ridge. Clint Eastwood, for those of you who don't habla. At one point, he shoots at his recruits with an AK-47 -- the preferred weapon of the enemy, which makes a distinctive sound when fired. To be fair, he was trying to teach his sorry-ass men (who already tried to get out of training by threatening him with a Big Guy recruit), and he's quite the Sergeant Rock later on.
  • Career Sergeant Zim in the movie version of Starship Troopers, arguably to the point of exaggeration. Nastier than most as during basic training he callously broke one recruit's arm and pinned another one's hand to a wall with a throwing knife. The reason he could get away with it is because the medics of the era are apparently capable of patching up such injuries completely without leaving so much as a scar. (The book version differs; see below.)
  • Master Chief Billy Sunday, Navy Diving Instructor from Men of Honor. You may be thinking of a preacher by the same name, but that guy worked for God. He IS God! His student goes on to become a Sergeant Rock. The racist commanding officer in the film treats Brashear like dirt simply for being black. He goes out of his way to humiliate Brashear in front of the other divers, who get a kick out of it (they're all white, and it's 1948).
  • The unnamed drill sergeant in Forrest Gump is of this type... and to give you an example of how nasty he is, he holds Gump, likely the least intelligent of the recruits, in high esteem because he does his job and gives the 'right' answers to his questions, along with when Gump proves to be surprisingly skilled in the workings of the M-14 rifle. (Note: In this excerpt, the caps are indeed necessary.)

 Drill Sergeant: GUUUMP! WHAT'S YOUR SOLE PURPOSE IN THIS ARMY?

Gump: To do whatever you tell me, Drill Sergeant?

Drill Sergeant: GODDAMMIT, GUMP! YOU'RE A GODDAMN GENIUS! THAT'S THE BEST OUTSTANDING ANSWER I'VE EVER HEARD! YOU MUST HAVE A GODDAMN I.Q. OF 160! YOU ARE GODDAMNED GIFTED, PRIVATE GUMP!

    • Later, when Gump demonstrates the aforementioned skill with the M-14:

 Gump: DONE, DRILL SERGEANT!

Drill Sergeant: GUUUUUUMP! WHY DID YOU PUT THAT WEAPON TOGETHER SO QUICKLY, GUMP?

Gump: You told me to, Drill Sergeant?

Drill Sergeant: JESUS H. CHRIST! This is a new company record! If it wouldn't be a waste of such a damn fine enlisted man, I'd recommend you for OCS, Private Gump! YOU ARE GONNA BE A GENERAL SOMEDAY, GUMP, NOW DISASSEMBLE YOUR WEAPON AND CONTINUE!

    • Slightly ironic in that doing exactly what you're told to do is indeed probably the most comfortable way to make it through boot camp. You're not supposed to think in the army. You're supposed to do as you're told.
  • Biloxi Blues makes the drill sergeant even more intimidating by sticking Christopher Walken in the role.
    • He's also legitimately and dangerously insane, unlike most of the examples of this trope, who are just pretending to be a little nuts to intimidate their recruits.
  • Col. Oates of Oates Military Academy in Alaska in the Bill & Ted movies. The central conflict of the first film is that Ted's authoritarian father will ship Ted to the Academy if he fails History, which would mean The End Of The Future As We Know It. Oates actually shows up in the sequel; in person he's somewhat personable, but still insanely imposing; it's when he appears as part of Bill and Ted's joint Personal Hell that we see this trope come into play:

 Oates: Drop and give me... infinity!

Ted: We're in real trouble Bill, there's no way I can do infinity pushups.

Bill: Maybe if he lets us do them girly style?

  • Regimental Sergeant-Major Sandy Young in the movie The Wild Geese, who, as he is training mercenaries, is not tied down by regulation. In the middle of a demanding training session, he kicks the medic and yells, "You screaming faggot, move it before I sew up your arsehole!"

 Young: On your feet, you fucking abortion!

Trooper: I tried, Sir, I'm dead.

(the RSM immediately draws his sidearm and fires into the ground a few inches from the trooper's head)

  • Sergeant Major Plumley in We Were Soldiers, played by Sam Elliot. Sgt. Major Plumley didn't normally bother yelling at recruits, he kept his buttchewing to the many grades of sergeants below him, and wouldn't think twice about straightening out a young officer either. In once scene Lt. Colonel Hal Moore relates a story of the interconnectedness of a Native American group and how it strengthens the fighting men. Every older woman is termed mother, and every older man is termed grandfather with respect. After finishing this message, Sgt. Major Plumley stands up, looks the lieutenants and captains in the eyes and says, "If any one of you sons of bitches calls me Grandpa, I'll kill you."
    • The movie's Crowning Moment of Funny is pretty much anything Plumley says. It's amplified by the fact that he doesn't talk much throughout the movie.
    • A young sergeant happens to meet Sgt. Major Plumley each day as they both cross the parade grounds at roughly the same time in the morning. [1]

 Sgt. Savage: Good morning, Sergeant Major.

Sgt. Major Plumley: How do you know what kind of goddamn day it is?



Sgt. Savage: Beautiful morning, Sergeant Major!

Sgt. Major Plumley: What are you, a fucking weatherman now?



Sgt. Savage: (puts his head down and says nothing)

Sgt. Major Plumley: (growls)

    • And that't not even counting this deleted scene.
    • Of course, Sgt. Major Plumley is extremely competent as both a leader and a fighting man. In one scene he draws his Colt 1911 .45 and headshots multiple charging NVA regulars, hence also Sergeant Rock.
  • Staff Sergeant Bob Barnes in the film Platoon is initially presented as one of these. It turns out though that he is much worse.
  • Sergeant Grimshaw in Carry On Sergeant.
  • And Sergeant-Major "Tiger" Bloomer in Carry On England.
    • "Tiger" Bloomer was played by Windsor Davies, who went on to play Battery Sergeant-Major "Shut Up" Williams in It Ain't Half Hot Mum, Sergeant-Major Zero (a robot head) in Terrahawks and the Sergeant-Major in the Marmalade Atkins episode "Private Marmalade". Much like Ermey in the States, when a British audience thinks of a Sergeant-Major bellowing orders at a raw recruit, they think of Windsor Davies.
  • Major Reisman serves this role in The Dirty Dozen, "encouraging" one of his "recruits" up a rope with a submachine gun.
  • Subverted in the TV movie Tribes, in which disgruntled Marine DI Tom Drake continually butts heads with drafted hippie Adrian, leading both men to learn about and gain respect for their "opponent".
  • The Irish sergeant in Glory, Sgt. Major Mulcahy. Very well portrayed by John Finn. He is a racist, but a soldier more, and he doesn't want them to be killed because of unpreparedness.
    • "This is your front!" (smacks soldier in the stomach) "This is your rear!" (smacks soldier on the back) "This is your right." (stomps on soldier's foot) "And this is..." (attempts to stomp on soldier's other foot, soldier pulls it away) "Now ye larnin', boyo."
    • He is very much a "tough love" Drill Sergeant Nasty with nothing of the bully in him, and even convinces Shaw to not order him to loosen up with the (still) soft Pvt. Searles, Shaw's personal friend, whom Mulcahey had rather savagely beaten to the ground: "The boy's your friend, is he? (...) Let him grow up some more."
  • This idea was spoofed in one scene of the Woody Allen movie Love and Death; the movie takes place in Russia during the Napoleonic wars, but when Woody's character Boris is forced to enlist he and his fellow recruits are trained by a black drill sergeant who fits this trope exactly.
  • Sergeant L.C. Ross in Private Benjamin, both the film and subsequent TV sitcom. In both versions he fits the "gruff black man" type, being played by gruff black actor Hal Williams and all.
  • Tech Sgt. Jim Moore (Jack Webb) in The D.I. (1957).
  • Perhaps the granddaddy of all film characterizations of this trope is Lon Chaney, Sr.'s Sergeant O'Hara in the silent film Tell It to the Marines (1927). Beneath his tough-as-nails exterior, however, lies a Hidden Heart of Gold.
  • Jarhead features Staff Sergeant Sykes, the Marine who whips Swoff's squad into shape after he decides he wants to join a group of snipers. He's actually a very competent soldier, more of a Sergeant Rock, but is not afraid of dishing out extremely harsh punishments, and so qualifies. A better example would be Swoff's first drill sergeant, D.I. Fitch, shown briefly in the beginning of the movie, who smashes his head into a chalkboard when he talks back.

 D.I. Fitch: What the fuck are you even doing here?!

Swoff: Sir! Because I took a wrong turn on the way to college, sir!

    • In Fitch's case, it might be because -- if he is in fact a sergeant -- he's an NCO being addressed as sir. They hate that.
      • In the USMC, Drill Instructors are addressed as "sir" until the last week of training.
  • Sgt. Waters in A Soldier's Story is an extra-special case, a light-skinned black sergeant in the Deep South during WWII heaping abuse on his recruits, due to his own self-hatred.
  • In the beginning of The Sound of Music, Captain Von Trapp was one of these towards his children and household, because too many things such as singing and dancing reminded him of his deceased wife. Fortunately, with the help of Maria and his children, he was able to get over it.
  • Parodied in Hot Shots :
  • The sergeant major from Monty Python's And Now For Something Completely Different is a subversion and a parody of this trope. After an initial dressing down he informs the soldiers that today they will be "marching up and down the square" and keeps threateningly asking them if they have anything better to do. When any of them states that they want to go do something else, he... gives them permission to go off and do it (while still shouting at them). After a few go off, he asks the remainder if they want to go to the pictures and then tells them to do so, before turning to the camera and saying "Bloody army, don't know what it's coming to!" before marching up and down the square by himself.

 Narrator: Democracy and humanitarianism have always been trademarks of the British Army.

Sergeant Major: RUBBISH!

Narrator: Ssssh!

  • Billy Connolly (a former Parachute Regiment soldier, so he would know), does a brief but hilarious turn as a drill sergeant in The Last Samurai. Also notable because his character (Sergeant Gant) is not usually a drill sergeant but a Sergeant Rock who has adapted to doing this job out of circumstances.

 Sergeant Gant: Alright you little bastards! You will stand up straight and get in formation, or I shall personally shit-kick every Far Eastern buttock that appears before my eyes!

(the Japanese soldiers line up perfectly despite the fact that Gant was shouting in English)

Algren: Well done, Sergeant.

Gant: Once you know the lingo, sir, everything falls into place.


You call this Literature?! Edit

  • Fred Colon's reminiscing about his unnamed drill sergeant in the Discworld novel Men At Arms; he was a classic example of the trope. The "he was right" aspect is subverted; Colon seems to be headed there when he describes seeing the sergeant afterwards, but instead he fondly describes helping beat up the sergeant in an alley.
    • Sergeant Detritus in the City Watch, who is implied to be in charge of training the watchmen by shouting. A lot. And when a troll that other trolls don't mess with yells, you and everyone within a few blocks listen... but again, he's just doing his job. Vimes reflects you need someone like Detritus yelling at coppers about honor and serving the public trust for a few weeks before you hand them over to the street monsters who teach the dirty tricks.

 Detritus: Only... two things come from Slice Mountain. Rocks an'... other kindsa rocks!

  • Corporal Himmelstoss of All Quiet on the Western Front, possibly one of the earliest examples of the trope (it was written by a German veteran of World War I shortly after said war). A coward who dreads going to the front, his troops get their revenge.
    • Himmelstoss is redeemed later in the book, when one character meets him again after he's been wounded and placed on light duty with supply. Himmelstoss is there as the supply sergeant, and has after seeing the elephant and realising what the characters go through, turned into Sergeant Friendly, getting the character good food and even sneaking him some goodies on the side.
  • Played straight in The Lords of Discipline.
  • This is both played straight and subverted in the novel series CHERUB, where the Drill Sergeant Nasty actually IS a bad example of a human being, later degraded (and fired) because of his unreliability.
    • His being fired is more down to the fact that he half-strangled Kyle and tried to extort a good report from Lauren.
    • Oh, and he was going to kill Lauren's puppy.
  • In Old Man's War by John Scalzi, the training sergeant is a heavily self-Lampshaded version of this trope.

 "Ha, ha, ha," Master Sergeant Antonio Ruiz said, back at us. "Don't think I don't know what you're thinking, you dumb shits. I know you're enjoying my performance at the moment. How delightful! I'm just like all those drill instructors you've seen in the movies! Aren't I just the fucking quaint one!"

The amused chuckles had come to a stop. That last bit was not in the script.

  • A truly psychotic version of Sergeant Grimshaw (see film examples above), seemingly based on Gunnery Sergeant Hartmann, appears in Kim Newman's Alternate History novella Teddy Bear's Picnic.
  • Sergeant Lejaune in Beau Geste. In his case he was a villain and indifferent to "doing it for their own good".
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: The training sergeants Kal Skirata and Walon Vau both seem this way at times. Kal actually has a soft spot for "his boys", and is much kinder to them whenever he can be, but he can put on the role when he has to. Walon Vau, on the other hand... when the clones trade stories, the ones involving Vau are not the kind that get laughter.
  • Drill Sergeant Clubrush, a Salamandastron Hare from the Redwall series, tends to play with this trope. At the traditional ceremony welcoming Salamandastron's new recruits, for instance, Clubrush appears in a costume of a very own kind; roots are tied to his legs, to represent the recruits' guts, long leaves and round tubers attached to his belts, to represent the recruits' ears and bobtails.
  • Bill the Galactic Hero by Harry Harrison has Deathwish Drang who plays this trope to the letter, with pronounced tusks no less. It is later revealed that Drang is a trained psychologist and that the act is a result of decades of research (and his tusks are fake).
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel The Armor of Contempt, Dalin and Merrt are subjected to a truly nasty drill sergeant Kexie, who is indeed sadistic. When he interprets Dalin's high scores as evidence of cheating and attacks him, only Merrt's derision stops him -- and only Merrt's explicit willingness to be beaten for having derided him stops him from beating Merrt. This makes his eventual willingness to recognise them as proper Guardsmen all the more touching.
  • In the Sharpe series, Sharpe's enemy Sergeant Hakeswill is one, but is also a Complete Monster so does not have any of the positive aspects. Sharpe himself also sometimes acts like one, very easily forgetting he's an officer when training the men, as he was actually promoted from the ranks.
  • Legion Of The Damned has one of these, but a bit worse than usual. As the "damned" in question are cyborgs with the brains of executed criminals, their drill sergeant can kill them if they piss him off, or he needs to make an example.
  • Miles Vorkosigan is commanded by the psychotic Metzov early in his career in The Vor Game.
  • Sergeant Adib Julian and Company Sergeant Major Eva Kosutic in the Prince Roger series. Julian terrorizes the alien sepoys he's trying to bring up to 30th-Century standards, and Kosutic terrorizes Prince Roger himself.
  • Gunny Miles Arthur Rutherford, from John Ringo's Council Wars series.
  • In the book Starship Troopers, Sergeant Zim appears at first to fit this trope. But unlike in the movie, it turns out that Zim is really the "Tough Love" variety, and trains his men hard only because he deeply worries and cares for them.
    • In fact, Zim later gets in trouble for being TOO soft on his recruits: one of them punches him in the face and is drummed out for striking a superior. All the officers and NCOs involved agree it was Zim's fault for letting his guard down in a stress situation, which he did because he liked the recruit and didn't think he was dangerous.
    • The Narrator explains that drill sergeants in the M.I. aren't bullies, they're skilled craftsmen; charged with the solemn duty of turning a bunch of raw recruits into soldiers. The M.I. doesn't want bullies as drill sergeants, as bullies are in it for personal satisfaction, and tend to get bored easily and slack off.
  • Two of the Halo novels (Ghosts of Onyx and Contact Harvest) both went into this. In the former, Ambrose knows that as Lt., he can't get involved in the Spartan-3's training, as they're supposed to respect him and hate CPO Mendez. Staff Sgt. Johnson does something similar in the later, trying to unify the militiamen he's training in their hatred of him.
  • Subverted in Ender's Game. Upon leaving for the military academy, the kids encounter a character like this, and Genre Savvy Ender assumes that it will be like in movies where the drill sergeant makes his life hell but they all become friends in the end. Instead, the sergeant character actually favors Ender tremendously, causing him to become alienated from the other cadets.
  • Alliser Thorne, armsmaster of the Night's Watch in A Song of Ice and Fire. He's not shown as particularly effective, and Jon ends up teaching his fellow recruits himself, as Thorne's "have amateurs repeatedly beaten up by experts, while insulting them" method of training just left them bruised and resentful. His attempt to become Lord Commander was hopeless because no one who'd been taught by him would ever support him.
  • Roland's teacher, Cort in Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. He calls would-be gunslingers "maggots" and physically abuses them. However, his training made Roland what he is, an utter Badass, and Roland remembers him fondly.
  • In the novels by Sven Hassel, the Wehrmacht drill sergeants are portrayed as sadistic loudmouths, more interested in breaking men than turning them into good soldiers.
  • In Leo Kessler's pulp-fiction about SS-Batallion Wotan, Sergeant-Major Metzger (the Butcher) is the evil sadist charged with turning Waffen-SS recruits into fighting soldiers, supported by the sadistic gay Colonel (the Vulture) who sees his men only as a disposable means to getting medals. Metzger is an overbearing crude and ignorant bully with no redeeming features; a disgruntled recruit, Schulze, gains revenge in several satisfying ways, including seducing his bored and bovine wife, passing an STD on to her in the bargain. Appalled that he is going to war with the Batallion, Metzger disgraces himself with an act of craven cowardice and is busted to Private.
  • Bigwig in Watership Down when he wants to be. Yes, that’s right. He's a rabbit and he pulls this off.

  "I'll just have a word with you three. Why don't you get washed, Hawkbit? You look like the end of a rat's tail left in a trap. And as for you Speedwell..." [Fade out. Hazel talks, fade back in.] "...And you, Acorn, you dog-eared, dung-faced disgrace to a gamekeepers gibbet: if only I had the time to tell you-" [Fade out. Hazel talks, fade back in.] In the hollow below, Bigwig seemed to be drawing to a close "And now, you bunch of mole-snouted, muck-raking, hutch-hearted sheep-ticks, get out of my sight sharp Other wise I'll-" He became inaudible again.

    • Hazel actually criticises him here for going too far and making Hawkbit, Acorn and Speedwell feel threatened and biting one of them for arguing, but as Bigwig can also be a more kind-hearted Sergeant Rock when he wants to, he gets the job done one way or the other.
  • Sergeant Major Robert De Longueville in the Serpentwar Saga. His favorite gig was to threaten recruits. Given that his recruits were taken exclusively from people who had been sentenced to death or several years hard labor, he really did have the authority to do it, too.
  • Book nine of Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures series, M.Y.T.H. Inc. in Action, sees Guido and Nunzio infiltrating the army of Possiltum and finding themselves at the mercy of such a drill sergeant. Hilarity Ensues.

You call this Live-Action TV?! Edit

  • R. Lee Ermey played the same kind of character for Space: Above and Beyond for the lead characters, but they turned out well with a respectful salute from the Top Kick when they graduated.
  • R. Lee Ermey plays House's decorated armed forces father, who punished little Greg The Spartan Way.
  • Ermey was also the... enthusiastic host of History Channel's Mail Call, a military-themed ask-tell show.
    • He also hosts the new show Lock and Load in a overall more sedate style, but there's still enough hints at his DSN nature in there...
  • In Band of Brothers, Captain Herbert Sobel is both played straight and something of a subversion. His training methods are so brutal that the entire company despises him and becomes motivated to go above and beyond to prove his insults wrong. For half of the first episode he's shown being extremely tough on his soldiers, revoking their passes for the slightest offenses, making them train longer and harder than the other companies. At one point his batallion commander tells him that his company has the finest performance in their division. However, he subverts the trope somewhat when it's discovered that he's an incompetent commander. While he's great at whipping soldiers into shape in a garrison environment and several acknowledge they would have died without his training, he's not so great when it comes to field work. He's unable to perform simple tasks, such as reading a map properly, resulting in a mutiny by his NCO's who refuse to go to war under his command. Ultimately he's reassigned to a training camp to keep him out of the field, and Easy Company gets a different captain before they mobilize.
    • The real Sobel was apparently a bitter and deeply unhappy man who attempted suicide late in life.
  • Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone plays this trope straight in The Pacific when sent back to Camp Pendleton (at his own request) to train new recruits. Unusual in that he subsequently joins his men in combat; moreso in that he gets KIA.
  • Sergeant Silverback in Power Rangers SPD: "SWAT" is, in addition to being a very bad impersonation of R. Lee Ermey, a gorilla.
  • Although not a drill sergeant, Queeg from the Red Dwarf episode of the same name is exactly this sort of character.
    • And Rimmer himself takes on the role with great relish (in "Meltdown") -- mostly parodying Full Metal Jacket -- when training various historical figures. Saint Francis of Assisi is told there's "only two kinds from Assisi" (you know the rest of the line), Jean-Paul Sartre gets "Well, Sartre, we don't like existentialists around here, and we certainly don't like French philosophers poncing around in their black polo necks filling everyone's heads with their theories about the bleakness of existence and absurdity of the cosmos, clear?", and there's an inevitable "Get on the floor and give me 50!" directed at Gandhi.
  • Although not a drill sergeant, several episodes of Scrubs imply that Dr Kelso is as nasty as he is because if he was nice the hospital would fall apart.
    • Similarly, Dr Cox's often vicious treatment of those he teaches is held as the only way he can teach.
    • R. Lee Ermey even played a character in Scrubs (the Janitor's father) who sprang from the same cookie cutter as most of his other roles.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Learning Curve", Lt. Tuvok is put in charge of a group of Maquis who won't integrate with the crew, and suddenly turns into Drill Sergeant Nasty (including expecting one of them to degauss the transporter pads with a hand-held device; the 24th century version of scrubbing the floor with a toothbrush).
    • The real Drill Sergeant Nasty in the episode is actually Chakotay. The crewmen that Tuvok is training opt to leave mid-drill as Tuvok's logical Vulcan approach does little to enforce compliance. It takes Chakotay throwing one of the crewmen to the ground to get them to obey Tuvok.
  • A Monty Python sketch features such a character doing this -- to a bunch of seriously injured hospital patients.
  • Complete subversion: the urbane, upper-class Sgt. Arthur Wilson of Dads Army, who is more inclined to politely ask his platoon if they'd "awfully mind forming three nice, neat rows, if you please." Eccentric and dreamy he may be, but not only is he well liked by his platoon, but it's frequently established that he's far more competent that his ultra-eager and aggressive superior Captain Mainwaring (although to be fair, that's not hard), whose own drill sergeant-like efforts frequently result in chaos.
    • The actor playing Mainwaring was originally supposed to be Sgt. Wilson, as he'd played a lot of those barking sergeant roles. But the roles were changed and the rest is history. For a look at Mainwaring and Wilson in their traditional tropes, the episode "The Two and a Half Feathers" has a hilarious flashback to the war in the Sudan where Wilson plays the genteel officer and Mainwaring is his foul-mouthed sergeant.
  • "The Sergeant" on Lost episode 4.5 "The Constant": Drags Desmond Hume, the time-traveling Scotsman, from his bed, punishes the whole platoon for Des' tardiness in awaking by making them do push-ups in the rain, then punishes them further by forcing them to run laps around the muddy field.
  • In an example of the British variant, Sergeant Major Williams in It Ain't Half Hot Mum.
    • An episode in which Williams's will was read revealed that he too was only hard on the squad for their own good, and he thought they were all "grand lads, especially little Lofty".
  • An episode of the Goosebumps TV series featured the main characters living next door to a retired Drill Sergeant Nasty, who in his post-army life has become obsessed with cultivating the perfect garden. He gets his comeuppance when he is turned into a lawn ornament at the end.
  • Such a character features in an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, during the "Witch's Exam" arc. Sabrina does end up scrubbing the floor with a toothbrush, although she does use minor magical assistance in moving said toothbrush.
  • R.T. Hines (played by Richard Roundtree) from the MacGyver episode "Tough Boys".
  • Subverted (like everything else) in Arrested Development: when Buster joins Army, his drill sergeant is not allowed to "motivate" him over the climbing wall because there have been a variety of lawsuits. Fortunately, by the end of the episode, his older brother Gob is around to tell him "Now get over that wall, homo!"
    • And then slugs him in the gut on the way down, saying: "Now when you do this without getting punched, you'll have more fun."
  • In Family Ties, Skippy's recruiting officer also serves as his drill sergeant, with appropriate change in demeanour and volume. When Skippy goes AWOL due to his inability to cope with basic training, and the sergeant tracks him to (of course) the Keaton household, he tells Skippy that he could have him court martialled and jailed. Then he reverts back to "nice guy" mode and informs Skippy that he's merely discharged and goes on to commend him for at least having the guts to try.
  • Sgt. Maj. Sixta in Generation Kill will take it personally if you don't agree with him on the grooming standard's importance and will talk at length about it in his very...unique vernacular. Subverted late in the miniseries adaptation, where it's implied that he knows exactly how ridiculous he is, and does it when morale falls because he would rather the Marines spend their time hating him than being depressed.
  • CPO Sharky, played by Don Rickles as an equally-temperamental example.
  • Subverted, of course, by Sgt. Carter in Gomer Pyle USMC.
  • Just Shoot Me had a Whole-Plot Reference to An Officer and a Gentleman once, with Dennis Finch filling in the Emil Foley role towards a group of interns.
  • In the Firefly episode, "Ariel," Simon Tam, of all people, shows that he can be as harsh and unforgiving as any Drill Sergeant Nasty when he takes over the operation of a patient who is dying due to incompetent treatment (an incredibly ballsy move since, you know, he's a fugitive from the Core in a Core-based hospital) and manages to save his life. And then gives the doctor who was treating the guy a serious dressing down for his conduct. The whole scene in general is a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Parodied in Saturday Night Live by Will Ferrell. Despite maintaining his harsh tone of voice, he still talks about what to do about his failing marriage and other things. At the end, he tells his cadets that he loves them.
  • In the season 7 Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Get It Done", Kennedy, the most senior of the potentials and who has received subtantial training from her watcher, has taken up this role with the others, shouting at one of them, Chloe, and calling her a "maggot" when she does her steps wrong; then as an aside she jokes to Buffy how cool it was that she got to call somebody a "maggot". The First drives Chloe to suicide that night, and then taunts Kennedy by implying that the "maggot" insult led to the suicide.
    • Buffy herself fared little better. When a reformed Faith comes to town, she makes no effort to horn in on the gig but quickly demonstrates that Buffy is a failure as a leader. In fact her reaction to Chloe's suicide could have come right from the Full Metal Jacket script.
  • The killer of the week in the Cold Case episode "Shore Leave".
  • Jo Lupo to the Astraeus project cadets on Eureka.
  • On Looney Tunes, war-time cartoons will often sport a character of this type. Bugs Bunny himself has "played" a character on a few occasions, usually to dupe his mark, but he honestly thought himself as a 3-star general (with the personality of Patton) in a cartoon where Nice Hats were raining from the sky and a helmet fell on his head.


You call this Music?! Edit

  • Played with in Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It". While it is a song that rebels against authority, towards the end, Dee Snider starts doing a DSN impression while the chorus is repeated, complete with "now drop and give me 20!" It creates a kind of paradoxical humor - using authority to rebel against authority.


You call these Myths or Legends?! Edit

  • King Lycurgus the Lawgiver may be the Ur Example. Guess where his hometown was? And of course he was the inventor of the training method associated with that town.


You call this Professional Wrestling?! Edit


You call this Radio?! Edit

  • C.P.O. Bull in The Navy Lark episode set during Phillip's naval training. Well, at least according to Phillip's recollection anyway..


You call this Stand-Up Comedy?! Edit

  • French comedian Guy Montagné has amongst his gallery of characters the "Général Buzard", a parody of Drill Sergeant Nasty whose favorite catchphrase is to call the soldiers "Bougre de petits salopards!" ("You bunch of little bastards!")


You call these Tabletop Games?! Edit

  • From Mage: The Awakening, the drill sergeant speech of the Adamantine Arrow order of warrior-mages is a... unique variant of this approach.

 "YOU are maggots with the souls of gods! I will TEACH you to evolve from your PATHETIC maggot-dom into your TRUE potential! You WILL become enlightened warrior-poets! When I am through with you, you will be able to kill a man with an ARTFUL HAIKU, by making that motherfucker CONTEMPLATE blossoming persimmons instead of defending himself from your deadly goddamn hands! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?"

    • The Arrow drill instructor is said to have had his own Drill Sergeant Nasty when he joined the army, who constantly abused him and tried to goad him into quitting. This annoyed him so much that it caused him to Awaken just as the sergeant was asking if he could beat the lowest time on the obstacle course. The mage then proceeded to beat the best time... while dragging the drill sergeant along behind him.
  • Oh so very many Armed Forces members in Paranoia.
  • In one story of Al Bruno III's Binder of Shame, Psycho Dave, Killer Game Master extraordinaire, turns Yoda into one of these.
  • In almost any game, a player who has minimal or no contact with actual members of the armed services who makes a character in the service will often make one of these. The remainder will be Mildly Military.


You call these Theme Parks?! Edit

  • A now defunct EPCOT attraction, Cranium Commander, gives us General Knowledge.


You call these Video Games?! Edit

  • In the Half-Life expansion pack Opposing Force, the training level is a boot camp presided over by Drill Sergeant Nasty. Nicely played with because during the second half of the level they give you a gun, and the drill sergeant doesn't have the sense to get out of firing range. Many a player got the Nonstandard Game Over screen by shooting the asshole at the first chance they got.
    • Also comes with the Shout-Out: "Where are you from soldier?(...)Texas?! Holy cow! You know what comes from Texas, don't you?!
  • Vietcong had a series of training missions presided over a Drill Sergeant that would make R. Lee Emry envious. "Fucking cocksmokers" is a mild example of his Tony Montana level language usage.
  • In Mass Effect, Kaidan Alenko mentions that his biotic training involved a turian mercenary named Commander Vyrnnus, who brutally pushed all the trainees until Alenko was forced to kill him in self-defense.
    • An incidental conversation in the sequel features an Alliance Gunnery Chief reaming out some recruits for not treating the main gun on their dreadnaught with enough respect.
    • In the third game, Jack, of all people, becomes one of these towards her biotic students at Grissom Academy (though when you get past the verbal abuse, she really does care about her students and would do anything to keep them safe. And judging from their interactions with her - calling out that she's "The Psychotic Biotic!", mocking her old battle catchphrase, cheering when she kisses a Shepard who romanced her, even the one who she picks on most saying "Screw you, ma'am!" with a smile in her voice - they don't really hate or fear her).
  • Averted in the America's Army games, where the NPC Drill Sergeants, while occasionally deadpan snarkers, are generally pretty tame. Makes sense since the games are essentially recruiting tools and wouldn't work very well if foul-mouthed, abusive Drill Sergeants dissuaded prospective recruits from signing up. Supposedly it's possible to reprogram to this though.

  "I don't wanna have to write your mommas and lie to them about how smart you were."

  • Super Robot Wars has two amongst the Originals: Kai Kitamura, who in his career is known as a very strict and nasty instructor that Masaki calls him the Demon Instructor, which is appropriate, given he punishes Masaki for insubordination by making him stand perfectly still for an hour straight, and has Arado from OG 2 hold three buckets of water for combat idiocy... The other example, Katina Tarask, acts like a Drill Sergeant Nasty, especially on Tasuku or Arado.
  • Fallout 2 has Drill Sergeant Dornan, who easily qualifies as the Post-Nuclear version of this trope. A Drill Sergeant in Navarro Base, Dornan will berate you if you come without Advanced Power Armor, and after you get the armor downstairs, he will assign you to guard post in the hangar. It's a endless guard post where Dornan will go around the base yelling at all the Enclave Guards, then go to the next guard (while the guards that just had his/her virgin hears raped by his yelling will make snarky remarks when he's some meters away) and yell at him. He'll also yell at you. If you try to sneak away from your guard post, he may catch you and force you back to your guard post. Do it three times and he will attack you! This is pretty bad when you are trying to do a stealthy infiltration; luckily, you don't have to actually volunteer for the post if you don't talk to him. Also, since he is from the Enclave, feel free to unleash your fury on Mr. Post Nuclear Drill Sergeant Nasty.
    • Needless to say, he is one if the game's most memorable NPC's, with almost all of his lines subjected to Memetic Mutation (DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR???). Plus, he's got voice acting (usually reserved for really crucial characters), which means the developers were deliberately positioning him as a One-Scene Wonder.
    • In one of the few gems of the game, Fallout Tactics begins with an "orientation" for savages, conducted by a Drill Sergeant Paladin Ryczek Nasty. Quotes don't do the delivery justice, and part of the humor is the expressions on the inductees faces. Also, the complete contempt which with he says, "Welcome to the Brotherhood. Dismissed." The same voice actor also voices General Barnaky in the game. That voice actor? R. Lee Ermey.
    • In Fallout3, the Mister Gutsy model robots sound like soldiers who've been trained by R. Lee Ermey. In an obvious nod to him, a unique joinable one is named RL-3, or "R Lee" leetspeak.
      • Or just "R L E" represented in the usual robot-are-letters-then-numbers style.
      • The East Coast Brotherhood of Steel has Paladin Gunny, who plays with this trope. He doesn't ream out recruits directly, but the way he talks about them with the Player implies he has such a side to him.
  • The Soldier of Team Fortress 2 follows this trope as well, but also has the bonus of being utterly psychotic, with his backstory saying that he ran around Europe killing Nazis for years AFTER World War II.
    • The one time we do see him training a group of "soldiers", he's lecturing the severed heads of his enemies about Sun Tzu. Badly.
      • "Then he (Sun Tzu) used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one!"
  • Jamjars in Banjo-Tooie, fills in for his brother Bottles in teaching the player new moves and being mocked by Kazooie. Where bottles was a shy Nerd, Jamjars embodies this persona complete with military rhymes to describe new attacks.
  • One of the possible personality types of the chips you needed for your SV in S.L.A.I. for Play Station 2 was pretty much this
  • Tanith in Fire Emblem, Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn is pretty much specifically stated to be a Drill Sergeant Nasty, even if it isn't really shown on screen.
  • In Neverwinter Nights, the combat instructor in the tutorial serves as one, insisting that the recruits call him "sir". No one else, not even the more specialized combat trainers, behaves in this manner.
  • Dives, raid leader of the World of Warcraft guild Wipe Club (he of 50 DKP Minus fame) has more recordings that are basically hilarious Drill Sergeant Nasty-style vents at his raid group for fucking up a raid (NSFW).
    • In Operation Gnomeregan, the players encounter a sergeant who drills them in certain emotes. He gives the standard insulting introduction but who drops the Drill Sergeant Nasty mannerisms after that.
  • The Drill Sergeant in Valkyria Chronicles.
  • He's a colonel, not a sergeant, but the commander of Fort Drakon in Dragon Age Origins has elements of this. He appreciates enthusiasm, but not brown-nosing. He's also described by one officer as psychotic, and that if he doesn't do as the colonel wants he'll probably end up scrubbing the rafters with a toothbrush...
  • Lezalit in Mount and Blade has elements of this in his dialogue, and the dialogue of others when they talk about him. Among the potential party members he specializes in training troops, so it fits.
  • Generally averted in the Call of Duty series; the only officer from a training level in the series that comes close to this is Commissar Letlev of Call of Duty 2, who will shoot you if you don't do what he tells you, when he tells you.
  • Z has Sergeant Zod, who looks like and acts exactly like one of these, except that he's a robot. He specifically enjoys chewing out the two bumbling protagonist robots.
  • Metal Gear 2 Solid Snake has Mc Donell Benedict Miller acting a drill sergeant for FOXHOUND, and it is heavily implied in his bio that he is quite strict and harsh with his trainees, what, with his nickname "Hell Master" and all that. Metal Gear Online also has some of the trainers for various soldiers in training ops behaving in a somewhat similar manner to drill sergeants. In Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker, it turns out that the Militaires Sans Frontieres has their own Drill Sergeant, and just like the trope, he is quite sharp-tongued, and is even willing to sarcastically suggest that the trainees commit suicide immediately if they simply stand around like an idiot when an enemy is nearby to drive home the importance of changing positions. He's even like this to Big Boss when he participates in the training regimens, although the overall tone indicates more respect than usual.


You call this a Web Comic?! Edit


You call this Web Original?! Edit

  • Gunnery Sergeant Bardue, at the Super-Hero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe. He's retired military, an imposing black man in his sixties, and perfectly willing to become Drill Sergeant Nasty if it's required to get the point across to the superpowered mutants he's training.
    • Compare and contrast Erik Mahren, the firearms instructor (up to a point), who can and will take down any student who's stupid enough to give him lip on the ranges.
  • Coach Jillian "Jillybean" Callahan in Tales of MU, who teaches students at Magisterius University how to fight either because she was traumatized by the sight of an untrained mage caught by Ogres during the last big war or because she likes being able to legally inflict pain and injuries on college kids. Possibly both.
  • Marz Gurl of Kickassia punches anyone in line for any reason whatsoever.
  • Sarge in Red vs. Blue has strong shades of this. He leads a team in the field, but they rarely actually conduct any operation, and he seems to more enjoy the posturing as a DSN than anything else. In one of the side episodes for the release of Halo 3 ODST, he comments that he began his military career in "Sergeant School" full of "fresh faced sergeants eager to strangle their first recruit." He says he failed his "Drop and Give Me Twenty" test, but ultimately majored in Screaming! with a minor in Ooh-rah!


You call this Western Animation?! Edit

  • El Rey from Mucha Lucha.
  • Hunter Gathers, Brock Sampson's trainer from The Venture Brothers. In flashback, it's shown that when Brock turned in an unsatisfactory performance in a swimming exercise, Gathers dropped a live grenade into the pool. With training like that, is it any wonder Brock became a Sociopathic Hero?
    • Surpassed in the episode "Assassinanny", where the Russian femme-fatale Molotov Cocktease drills the Venture family by shooting at them with a pair of fully-loaded Uzi's -- and insinuates that she's "going easy on them." No wonder she's the love of Brock's life. (Col. Gathers even later joins her ranks.)
      • She trains them in combat using a GRU Spetznaz manual.
      • Hank earns her approval during a drill when he impales Dean's foot with a pencil.
    • The commander of a squad of security for Dr. Venture's yard sale invokes the trope - though he seems a bit obsessive about putting his men in dresses.
    • "Two Ton" 21 took to this.
  • Sgt. Slaughter on G.I. Joe and the old WWF shows. There is a variant in a flashback in GI Joe where Leatherneck serves as a drill sergeant, but when he sees one of his trainees seriously injure a comrade in training with sadistic glee, he immediately calls the offender to his office to punish him.
    • Beachhead in GI Joe, who aside from being an Army Ranger Drill Sergeant Nasty, is, in the most recent revision of the universe, also called upon by the armed forces to train Marine, Delta Force, SEAL, and on special occasions Force Recon soldiers. This is before he joins GI Joe. Do not cross Beachhead. His toy is one of the few non-ninja good guys who comes with a mask that's not removable.
      • In The Movie, Beachhead is put in charge of a squad of "Rawhides", new recruits still wet behind the ears. The General even points out that he's not worried about the Rawhides surviving combat because "first they need to survive Beachhead." He bawls them out in full Drill Sergeant Nasty mode, wanting a "stone cold righteous attention!". Shockingly, he lets one of the recruits get away with calling him "sweetheart" with only a mild admonishing. He is also unimpressed with the Rawhides' creative ways of beating his tests (using a drainpipe to sneak past an obstacle course, using a dog to sniff out a practice bomb), calling them reckless and holding them back from battle (where such thinking could easily get them killed).
  • Parodied in (what else?) The Simpsons, where Homer has a memorable encounter with one of these:

 Drill Sergeant: Okay, Simpson -- you don't like me, and I don't like you!

Homer: (brightly) I like you.

Drill Sergeant: (uncertain) Okay... you like me -- but I don't like you!

Homer: (helpful) Maybe you'd like me if you got to know me?

    • The graduation ceremony for Homer's bodyguard class featured the Sergeant telling them they were worthless maggots, but passed anyway because their cheques cleared.
    • Homer met another one while in the Army (G.I. D'oh). The first one was in the Navy.
  • In Transformers Animated, established Jerkass Sentinel Prime is revealed to have been a drill sergeant back when he was Sentinel Minor. However, this was less because he wanted to make them stronger and more because he just hated being a drill sergeant.
  • The Boondocks had this played out during an episode where after a bully stole Riley's chain, it was revealed one of his various feats was being unfazed to one of the DIs and then sending a chair in his direction.
  • Sgt. Uniblab from The Jetsons. So tough and demanding, the recruits end up cross-wiring him and causing him to Self Destruct.
  • One of these runs the Smile Away Reformatory in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Phineas and Ferb Get Busted. Unlike the common example, he is the episode's Big Bad and is evil even by the show's standards.
  • According to The Super Mario Bros Super Show, Mario and Luigi's instructor at the Plumbers' Academy was one of these. His name was Sergeant Kooperman, and judging from his voice, he's apparently the Earth version of Bowser.
  • In the Classic Disney Shorts, Pete became this when Donald Duck joined the army.
  • An episode of King of the Hill has Hank bring his old football coach in to teach Bobby's football team. He has them do push-ups in the mud... that he makes with a hose. Any and all injuries, pain, complaints, etc. are responded to with "take a salt tablet". Eventurally, he starts going really crazy. I mean, "chasing the kids through the field with his car crazy. Hank has to knock him out with a propane tank to stop the madness.
    • In another episode, Cotton Hill also plays this trope straight when he takes over the military school that Bobby's been enrolled after he learns that the school isn't nearly as gritty and draconian as it was back when he was a student there.
    • In "Peggy the Boggle Champ", Hank gives a despondent Peggy one of his coach's speeches to lift up her spirits. It starts with "Loser! You're a loser!" and goes south from there.
  • General Molotov, Lucius' dragon on Jimmy Two-Shoes.
  • Louis Gossett Jr. parodies his An Officer and a Gentleman role mentioned above, in an episode of Family Guy, right down to the "steers and queers" line.
  • This happens in Generator Rex when Noah and Rex decided to stay a few days at the Providence training camp called Basic. Apparently, the drill instructor didn't like the way they brushed their teeth.
  • Commander Hoo-Ha of the Tomato Scouts in Camp Lazlo.
  • Sergeant DOG in The Problem Solverz episode "Problem Solverz Academy". He gives high school social ranks to the trainees, making Roba the cool kid who doesn't have to work, Alfe obsessed with the military, and Horace a super dork with giant glasses.
  • Invader Zim has an episode where he is sent to invader training on a planet full of pain and doom. And, surprise surprise, R. Lee Ermy voices the drill sergeant.
  • Commander Hurricane behaves/behaved this way towards Private Pansy, underlining the pegasi's warrior culture. Naturally, she is played by Rainbow Dash.

 Twilight Sparkle as Clover the Clever: Look, perhaps if we all calmed down...

Applejack as Smart Cookie: I agree. Let's all calm down.

Fluttershy as Private Pansy: I vote for calm.

Rainbow Dash as Commander Hurricane: I'll have you court-martialled for insubordination, private!


You call this Real Life?! Edit

  • Truth in Television, obviously, with Marine and Army [no matter what they say, it's still a bitch] DSes. Here are some examples. And yes, some aren't all that great [cameras are present].
  • The Chiefs and Petty Officers that make up the RDCs of the Navy make this Truth in Television for would-be sailors without a "sergeant" in sight[1]. Recruit Training Command at one point had signs posted that read "Profanity is Not Quality Leadership" in every divisions compartment. These signs were (mostly) taken down since all they actually did was confuse the recruits.
    • In Air Force Basic Military Training, the instructors aren't allowed to use profanity. So they develop a weird alternate vocabulary that lets them get the same ideas across without actually swearing. It's fairly common to hear an instructor screaming "WHAT THE PISS, CLOWN?! IS THAT HOW WE DO IT NOW IN THE AIR FORCE?!!" Also, they aren't allowed to lay hands on the trainees, so instead they'll get as close as humanly possibly without touching, in order to try and get the trainee to flinch (which would, of course, give them another reason to get in your face.) It's not a pleasant experience having some angry dude so far in your face that you can feel the heat off his skin.
    • Real life Marine Corps Drill Instructors are trained to limit their use of profanity and often use euphemisms (though ones considerably less humorous than those described for the Air Force above, "doggone" (inexplicably pronounced as "dag-on") and "nasty" are common examples). It wouldn't behoove the newest of The Few and The Proud to curse a blue streak in front of Mom on leave. The volume, incomprehensibility, and generally insane affect of Marine DI's more than compensates.
    • As Terry Pratchett notes in several Discworld books, it really is the case that Welsh soldiers have an aversion to swearing. In these post-Chapel days this is by no means universal and the ethnic peculiarity may be dying out; but Pratchett's creation of Sergeant Dai Dickins is a "Welsh" NCO who gets what he wants without swearing once. Although he has to invent a full lexicon of not-quite-swearwords to do it, such as "You sons of motherlovers!" This is not a bad portrayal of reality in Welsh regiments even today. (where it is still the case that a marching platoon may elect to sing a hymn in preference to any other available military ditty).
  • Subverted in the training of the Gurkha regiments, as trainee Ghurkhas apparently find Drill Sergeant Nasty behavior humorous rather than intimidating, so NCOs direct the men in firm but polite method during training. After what they have to go through to even get as far as training, this is hardly surprising.
  • Everybody in Australia either swears a blue streak or is unfazed by swearing (due to the swearing from others). Drill Sergeants get around it by being extremely calm, polite, and formal to recruits; if intimidation is required, shouting at the top of your voice without swearing two inches from a recruit's face will impress on how important the situation is.
  • More surprising real-life example: the Crazy Horse Saloon in Paris includes among its shows a routine based on the changing of the Queen's Guard at Buckingham Palace. To train the nude dancers in the proper moves, the Saloon hired an authentic British drill instructor, which went all Drill Sergeant Nasty on the Girls during the repetitions.
  • According to legend, one of the Chinese Emperors instructed a general (Sun Tzu himself according to some sources) to demonstrate his skill by teaching the imperial concubines to drill like soldiers. When the concubines didn't take the general seriously, he followed the normal Chinese boot camp procedure and killed several of them, and suddenly the concubines were performing drill with absolute precision...
  • According to at least one Latin textbook, the Roman poet Horace was trained by a centurion known as "Give Me Another", because he broke so many sticks while beating recruits. If this is true it would make this...
    • A centurion nicknamed "Old Give Me Another" also appears in the historian Tacitus's writings, as the first to be killed when the legion he was part of mutinied for better pay.
  • One possible source for this is that for many years being a common Red Shirt (as opposed to an Officer and a Gentleman) was the last job people would take, and armies were often effectively large workhouses. Drill Sergeants Nasty on this theory evolved from the need to teach vagrants and convicts how to fight.
    • Not to mention teaching all the Redshirts that We Have Reserves.
    • This would also help explain the reported difference in the Gurkha's. British are so rich, and Nepali are so poor that soldiering is a very attractive occupation. Furthermore it is a high-prestige one. Because of this the competition makes for very effective recruits.
  • Baron von Steuben, the spiritual father of all American Drill Sergeants Nasty, was a mercenary officer advising the Continental Army. According to legend he had an interpreter walk along with him while he conducted inspections to ensure that he had a good enough supply of English profanity.
    • Another legend has it that he didn't need an interpreter for that: he learned the curse words himself (the only words he knew in the English language).
  • For every five Drill Sergeants who deliberately play it straight, there's one who'll use positive reinforcement and encouragement. Sometimes they're dotted amongst the "knee-deep-in-your-ass" Drills, to play Good Cop, Bad Cop. These guys are mellower because they tend to be older and/or don't expect to see combat action, whereas the Classic Drill Sergeant Nasty is younger who know there's a chance that he'll be joining the men he trained in the field, where his life may depend on their ability.
    • That's deliberate. A Senior Drill Instructor/Sergeant who leads a platoon, and company- and higher-echelon staff, are expected to play A Father to His Men by contrast. It is in part Good Cop, Bad Cop, but also because the harshness enforced by the "Kill Hats" below them is more than enough already. Also, it really wouldn't do for a recruit to have absolutely no one they're not too scared to talk to if they're having suicidal thoughts, are running a 104-degree fever, etc.
    • Author and explorer Michael Asher wrote about his experiences as a recruit in the elite Parachute Regiment and a real monster of a training NCO called Corporal Jekyll, who was a paragon of the "beasting" culture of the Paras in training, where if you were lucky it stopped on the acceptable side of bullying. He notes that he only once heard a word of encouragement and praise during his training, but that was enough to raise his morale to the point where he passed out as a Para. Asher also notes that later, when accepted for special forces, training was conducted largely in a more grown-up way that credited the SAS recruits with being sensible responsible adults - the shouting and screaming was a long way in their past, although the abuse was more psychological.
    • Another reason for American DSN can be that not all of them are there voluntarily, at least in the Army. Getting DA-selected (chosen by the Department of the Army) rather than choosing to become a Drill Sergeant and have a drastic influence on ones behavior in that position.
  • Rather than a nasty Drill Sergeant, how about a nasty Chief of General Staff? The Israeli Chief of General Staff (highest rank in the Israel Defence Force - the man/woman in control of the entire army) Refael Eitan was known to be very, very strict - so much that in his days, a soldier could be sent to jail for having an open button in his uniform. He was also documented chasing around a private in a military base, after the private refused to wear his beret (which all Israeli soldiers have to wear, as part of the official uniform).
  • Author and ex-soldier George Macdonald Fraser, commenting on Full Metal Jacket, was appalled by American training methods and asked if British recruits would put up with that for five minutes without mutinying. He said he'd never seen such methods used on British recruits and questioned the need and legitimacy of them. MacDonald Fraser was, however, a recruit during WW 2 where it was accepted that civilians with no normal aptitude or taste for Army life had to be turned into soldiers very quickly, with accelerated training focusing on the important things of wartime soldiering that left out the nuances of peacetime. He recalls a training sergeant whose method of waking soldiers up in the morning involved walking into the barracks, accompanied by several corporals with dustbin lids and batons, who would then make a lot of noise very, very, loudly punctualted by swearing, shouting, and perhaps a bucket of water in the face of the last man to get out of bed. Later on, he also recalled a Scottish variant on this shock treatment involved the pipes and drums forming up underneath a selected barracks' window at six-thirty, to raise the regiment with a full-blooded reveille. Usually this was the junior officers' quarters... it must have worked, as Mac Donald Fraser went on to fight the Japanese for two years in the Burmese jungle, reflecting nothing could ever be as bad as that, ever again.
  • Bob Ross. No, really. He found he wasn't comfortable with the "nasty" bit the job required back in his Air Force tenure days, and that's what led him to become the Nice Guy everyone knew him as.


Coach variant Edit

I've seen Anime & Manga bishonen that are manlier than you! Edit

  • The gym teacher in Medabots is an classic example, as we find when he's trapped in a blizzard and starts hallucinating that all the kids are calling out to him, crying about how their bodies have grown weak and flabby in his absence. This gives him the strength to break through the snow and reach help, engaging in a long, heroic rant about the noble art of being a gym teacher as he does so.
  • In a humorous subversion, Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu also includes a high school gym teacher who can't stand Sōsuke, berates him at every opportunity, and at one point tries to sabotage the Student Council's efforts to sell lunch. Sōsuke, wrongly assuming that the teacher is simply acting as a drill sergeant, holds him in great esteem.
  • The team from the Republic of Militaria in Eyeshield 21, worm! American football is war, son, and don't you forget it! Now get out of my sight before I smack that smile off your face! Especially "Sgt." Gomery, who will knock your freaking teeth out if he thinks you aren't being serious enough.
    • Hiruma has shades of this, as does Megu, the manager of the Chameleons.
  • The Phys Ed teacher in Shakugan no Shana. Subverted hard: not only does his attempt to break Shana fail miserably, she ends up breaking him.


I've read Fan Fiction that can run longer than you can! Edit


I've seen Films in Live-Action that can run farther than you! Edit

  • The movie Major Payne, with a kill-happy Special forces Major playing drill sergeant to a bunch of private military school misfits. The movie addresses the various tropes of him learning to be kind and somewhat tolerant of the limits of those under his command... without buying into them utterly and getting his class to shape up and show some discipline. He seems to have found the perfect balance by the beginning of the next semester, as shown at the end of the film when he has the respect of (and respects) the returning students, but gleefully tortures the newest kid to show up in his class, who apparently thinks being blind allows him to be a jackass to his teacher.
  • The film Mr. Woodcock is about what happens when one of these starts dating the mom of one of the students he used to harass in grade school. According to the trailers, Hilarity Ensues, if by "hilarity" you mean "slapstick oneupmanship".
  • Coach Schneider from A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge. Adding the spicy new ingredient of "homophobia" to the already-potent Drill Sergeant Nasty recipe, Schneider is a frequenter of leather bars who likes nothing better than forcing adolescent boys to do endless push-ups and run laps around the gym in the dead of night. He's eventually tied up in the showers, whipped on his bare buttocks with towels, then clawed to death by Freddy Krueger.
  • R. Lee Ermey plays an actual coach in Saving Silverman.


I've read Literature that's more exciting than you! Edit

  • Alberich from Heralds of Valdemar has to put on the Drill Sergeant Nasty role on a regular basis, as part of his job as Weaponsmaster.
    • Worth noting is that he's only like this when he's actively training people. He's fully capable of advising and counselling when needed.
  • In Unseen Academicals, the late sports-master of Unseen University, Evans the Striped, was apparently like this, judging by the behavior of anyone blowing on his possessed whistle. Said behavior includes threatening to make anyone who didn't bring his uniform play in his underpants, or insisting that running about in the sleet and rain builds character.


I've seen Live-Action TV that's less brainless than you! Edit

  • John Cleese in his role as the coach for the "Self-Defense Against Fresh Fruit" class in Monty Python's Flying Circus. Turns out to be not so much "nasty" as "openly psychotic" -- one sort of wonders how many people were in that class to begin with, and where their bodies were buried.
    • They were eaten by the tiger, obviously!
  • The teen show California Dreams features a character named MacBride, Sergeant MacBride. United States Marine Corps. A slight subversion in that she's female and teaching a cooking class "the way we do it in the corps", but she was black so I guess it's a wash.
  • A rather amusing example from Frasier. Frasier starts dating a gym teacher, which causes him to reminisce about his own Drill Sergeant Nasty gym teacher (played by Bob Hoskins). Frasier then finds out, to his horror, his girlfriend is one as well, when he sees her pushing an overweight girl to climb a rope. He spends most of the rest of the episode imagining her as his gym teacher. Eventually, he talks to her about his problem, and she admits that she can be hard sometimes but that she has the best intentions. Frasier then tells her about his gym teacher and the fact that he could never do a single push up. She then starts picturing him as the girl who couldn't climb the rope.
  • Shortland Street did this with a psychotic rugby coach in 2009.
  • Played with in Freaks and Geeks -- to the athletically-inept geeks, the Coach seems like one of these, but what we see of him in his off-time or when he's not on the field indicates that he's actually a reasonably nice guy.
  • In That 70s Show, Red Foreman is a variant in that he's not a gym coach. Rather, he embodies this attitude both as a father to his son Eric and as a supervisor at Price-Mart. Rather than serving in the Army, Red was a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy during World War Two and applies many of the same attitudes to civilian life. When Red announces that he's gotten the job, Hyde congratulates him by saying "God help the poor bastards who work for you!", which Red takes as a compliment. As for his parenting style, suffice it to say that Eric is a "Well Done, Son" Guy...
  • Glee: Sue Sylvester, cheerleading coach from hell. You think this is hard..?
  • On How I Met Your Mother, Marshall rather unexpectedly becomes this after agreeing to coach the basketball team at Lily's school. At one point, he's actually throwing the basketball at kindergarteners.
  • In the Eureka episode "Up in the Air", Jo gleefully takes on this role.
  • The gym teacher in Naturally Sadie seems to be this.


I've read Newspaper Comics that have more staying power than you! Edit


I've played against Video Games that're smarter than you! Edit

  • Coach Oleander of Psychonauts follows this trope to a T. He yells at the students, he tells Raz to "drop and give me [number]", and his "basic braining" course is set up like a WW 2 battlefield. If you go into his mind again after picking up the Cobweb Duster, you can find out that he was never actually in the military: he was turned away from the army, air force, navy, and military cooks(?) due to being too short. This memory is especially interesting as it's in such direct contrast with the "memory" he showed you earlier.
  • Hayato from Rival Schools, who has a tendency to physically punish his students to unlock their true potential. Hilariously, he'll also make you drop and give him several push-ups right in the middle of a heated battle.
  • Mr. Burton in Bully.


I've laughed at Web Comics that aren't as funny as you look! Edit

  • Ken has taken up this role in some No Need for Bushido strips.
    • "You in the back! You're not kicking enough ass!"
  • Another female example: The dance team coach (even wearing a T-shirt with the words "Coach Hartman") in this Loserz strip.
  • Jim Beard Sprynter, the gym teacher for the All-Ghouls School in Eerie Cuties, is this (besides being a Ghost Pirate).


I've seen Western Animation that's more mature than you! Edit

  • Mr. Barkin from Kim Possible, though Barkin was actually a Lieutenant.
    • R. Lee Ermey played against type as a helpful soldier at Area 51 in one episode.
    • In the episode where Kim coaches the soccer team, she acts like this as her perfectionism gets the better of her.
  • Gunnery Sergeant Ermey himself doing a guest voice on any given cartoon, notably Rugrats.
    • He also did this bit on Family Guy, as a jousting trainer for Renaissance Fair knights. His dialogue is given an appropriate medieval twist.
    • Also in My Life as a Teenage Robot, where he's a Drill Sergeant in the paperwork-heavy Skyway Patrol.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants has him as a prison warden version of Drill Sergeant Nasty, but SpongeBob and Patrick actually enjoy his treatment.
  • King of the Hill. After a skydiving accident, WWII veteran Cotton Hill is a coach version of this for Peggy's rehabilitation. As expected, he does his job above and beyond expectation, putting his legendary horrible attitude to good use in doing so.
  • Mr. Buzzcut, the gym/health class teacher in Beavis and Butthead.
  • Mr. Midcarda from Mucha Lucha.
  • Jim Moralès from Code Lyoko (but he doesn't want to talk about it).
  • Toph from Avatar: The Last Airbender when training Aang in earthbending in "Bitter Work". Zuko has traces of it as well.

 "Remember, firebending in and of itself is not something to fear. But if you don't respect it, IT WILL CHEW YOU UP AND SPIT YOU OUT LIKE AN ANGRY KOMODO RHINO!!"

  • Jorgen from The Fairly Odd Parents trains new recruits at the Fairy Academy. His methods are often brutal.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: The Teacher With No Name in episode 32: Dexter Detention.
    • "You make me sick, criminal!"
    • The Dexter's Lab spinoff The Justice Friends also featured Major Glory's uncle Uncle Sam as this when he was young. He meets him again as an adult and finds he became a New Age Retro Hippie.
  • Hey Arnold!: After Mr. Simmons leaves due to Arnold's class being cruel to him on his first day as a teacher, he is replaced by a "Lt. Major" [2] Goose, who was a drill sergeant in the Vietnam War era [3].
  • X-Men: Evolution's take on Wolverine had him act as one of these types, complete with students actively dreading his Danger Room sessions.
    • A humourous scene in the Tie-in comic series had Xavier announce that Logan is stepping down so Beast may teach them. Their reactions?

 Kitty: Are you serious!?

Kurt: Our prayers have been answered!

    • One episode also has an actual Drill Sergeant Nasty teach them Survival training who forced them (by them, we mean the teenaged X-Men, Brotherhood, and their Human student friends) to do inhumane courses designed for Military training. They chose him over Logan's sessions, leading to many one-liner jokes by the Professor.
  • Rainbow Dash acts like one in the "May the Best Pet Win" episode of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic.
  • Lampshaded in the Daria episode "Fat Like Me". Sandi is swimming to try to lose weight and Quinn is helping her:

 Quinn: Did Cleopatra rest when she was inventing mascara? Did Neferiti rest when she was posing for statues? Did Helen of Troy rest when she was doing whatever it was she did? Beauty never rests! Now, swim, you cow, swim!

Sandi: What?!

Quinn: Sorry -- Coach talk.



Now drop and give me 20, you worthless maggot!

Notes

  1. The various Petty Officer ranks in the Navy are equivalent to Sergeant ranks in the Army/Marines/Air Force
  2. no such rank exists in Real Life
  3. a flashback in another episode actually shows that he also happened to be the Drill Sergeant Nasty of Gerald's dad

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