Follow TV Tropes


Drill Sergeant Nasty

Go To
"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."
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, Full Metal Jacket


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! So he gives you Training from Hell and often seems to revel in it. In a way, he's the military trainee's equivalent of a Mean Boss, but there's seldom any other type.

The only training method that Drill Sergeant Nasty 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 tends to use Sound Off in drills a lot. Eventually, you'll hate his guts, which is usually exactly how he wants you to feel. He is usually played by R. Lee Ermey (who actually was a Marine drill instructor for two years) or a Scary Black Man (see: Louis Gossett, Jr.).

On kids' TV, this same character is a gym teacher, coach, or another authority figure, but not necessarily a Sadist Teacher. Often a former drill instructor who has trouble hanging up the chevrons (the fact that the Presidential Fitness Test, which was used as the benchmark for fitness in U.S. schools from 1956 to 2013, was primarily a milestone of fitness for the military might have contributed to this stereotype).

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 (or at least, better able to survive Hell). Of course, in the film Full Metal Jacket, the Trope Codifier drives one of the recruits into a mental breakdown that results in his murder and the recruit's suicide, 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 to motivate the people under him. 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. If a British work has Shown Their Work, this role may well be filled by the Provost Sergeant, who is in charge of base discipline, and who the drill sergeants send recruits to go and see for their punishment.

In something 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 and don't take it (or the instructor) seriously.

This often spills into works that depict normal life in the military, more often than not, a higher ranking officer or NCO will randomly scream at the low private and punish him with push-ups or a random exercise. This tacticnote  is rare nowadays, as most of the US Armed Forces branches have banned this practice outside basic training and the Officer/NCO themselves would get a far worse punishment for having ordered the punishment, but it still happens.

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 Zero-Approval Gambit. It instantly provides 40 people who have nothing in common with one unifying dream, namely the sergeant's slow, painful and embarrassing death.

Compare Veteran Instructor.



    open/close all folders 

  • A 2021 Cheerios commercial plays off the trope by having a drill sergeant who acts like this but says nothing but positive encouragement, as eating Cheerios for their supposed health benefits has put him in a good mood.
  • A 2010 GEICO commercial, featuring R. Lee Ermey himself:
    Mike McGlone: Could switching to GEICO really save you 15% or more on car insurance? [beat] Does a former drill sergeant make a terrible therapist?
    [cuts to a therapist's office]
    Patient: ...and that's why yellow makes me sad, I think.
    R. Lee Ermey: That's interesting. You know what makes me sad? YOU DO! MAYBE WE SHOULD CHUG ON OVER TO NAMBY-PAMBY LAND, WHERE MAYBE WE CAN FIND SOME SELF-CONFIDENCE FOR YOU, YA JACKWAGON!!!!! Tissue? [chucks a box of tissues at the patient before he can respond] Crybaby.
  • A Halls cough drop commercial has one flying in on a gust of wind when someone takes a cough drop. Hartman-style, he yells, "Let me see your war face!"
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • That TV network ad with the Santa Claus variant. The drill sergeant is an homage to the Full Metal Jacket version.
  • One commercial for a Tide stain remover pen features one of these, berating a recruit who had an enormous stain on his uniform. His fellow recruits manage to pass him down the advertised stain remover pen and manage to erase it while the sergeant's too busy screaming his lungs off.
    "What'd they send me, a daggone Houdini?!"
  • Another R. Lee Ermey commercial was for Wonderful Pistachios.
  • Coach Lasso: Lasso yells insults at the team while doing drills. He then adopts that same attitude for the young girl's soccer team he winds up coaching afterwards.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Akira Takaoka from Assassination Classroom has a "9-sticks-to-one-carrot" philosophy, is more like a dictator than an officer, and "accidentally" leaves a picture of the soldiers he's tortured in front of Karasuma. And he's always smiling.
  • Downplayed with Keith Shadis in Attack on Titan, who spares victims of Titan attacks from this routine. An observer comments that the point of this trope is to break recruits down so they can be built back up into soldiers, so heaping abuse on those who have already been broken would be pointless cruelty. Later, he's also willing to consider that Eren's problem may be faulty equipment, rather than incompetence. In fact, it's later revealed that Keith himself was the one who sabotaged Eren's equipment as he was secretly a friend of his parents and wanted to stop him from throwing his life away before seeing how determined he was. It is, however, noted that training is exceptionally unforgiving and instructors regularly do things like cut safety lines to gauge a recruit's reaction. Those killed during training are written off as having never had a chance to stand against the Titans anyway.
    • Weirdly, his "breaking in the recruits" routine is considered one of the series biggest CMOF's because of how hilariously over the top he is (voiced exceptionally well by Patrick Seitz in the dub); particularly when he caught Sasha munching on a potato during initiation.
  • Mereoleona in Black Clover does not believe in taking it easy when she's training people, putting them through intense practice. She makes her squad go to the Yultim Volcano to train, practicing using their Mana Skin to climb an incredibly hot, active volcano and drags Asta, Yuno, Noelle, Yami, and Charlotte to come with them against their will.
  • In Cells at Work!, Megakaryocyte is depicted as this towards the Platelets, who are, in essence, her children. It's somewhat justified in that the Platelet's job (closing wounds as fast as possible) is vital to the body's survival.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 that, 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, 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, having formerly being a Marine. In the rugby episode, Sōsuke mentions he borrowed her notes, which come in a book titled How to Abuse a Trainee. It's implied that Mao copied Gunny Hartman wholesale.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers gives us training-obsessed, serious neat freak Germany to fill this role: while not exactly that awful, he does have his moments.
    • Prussia even more so, as seen in his training of pre-independent America.
    • Austria is this to the young Italy, too, after the Italian Wars. Not that it does anything.
  • In Kamisama Kiss Tomoe is forced against his will into becoming a servant to Nanami. He is immediately disgusted by her lack of spiritual power and knowledge of the divine and supernatural worlds so he decides he is gonna shape her into a more worthy master. And considering Tomoe is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold at the best of times, you can imagine how he goes about doing that.
  • Downplayed 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.
  • 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 the fans call her the White Devil in a 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.
    • Fanworks often Flanderize Nanoha into this trope, even extending it to her parenting methods.
    • The person who comes closest to being a Drill Sergeant Nasty is Vita, she doesn't yell at the new kids (barring that one time Teana almost caused a friendly-fire incident) 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 in mind all the time. This trope is even discussed by her when she discusses 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.
  • Gang Orca in My Hero Academia acts this way to the students in the Remidial Course, comparing them to feces and smacking them for not answering his questions right. He's also been voted as the Hero most likely to be mistaken for a Villain, so he's often called to play a villain in various exercises (such as during the Provisional Hero License Exam). This is just playing to character, though, as Gang Orca is a beloved Pro Hero (one of the best) and outside of the times he has to play nasty, he's much nicer.
  • Much like Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, Nyaruko: Crawling with Love! goes whole-hog on this one in the short story and OVA episode "How to Defeat a Kind Enemy" by having Luhy Distone quote Full Metal Jacket and even don R. Lee Ermey's trademark Hat of Authority as she trains Nyarko to become a Magical Girl. Of course, just like Hartman, the training goes horribly wrong and results in Nyarko going from Cute and Psycho to outright Axe-Crazy, when the original intent was to make her less violent.
    Luhy: From now on you will speak only when spoken to, and the first and last words off of your bloody tongue will be "hanyaan"!
  • Evangeline A.K. McDowell from Negima! Magister Negi Magi 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.
  • Lal Mirch from Reborn! (2004), 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. It 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.
  • 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). Kenshin mentions that standard training from him consists of being repeatedly hit with the technique of the day until he learns to duplicate it, after which he gets repeatedly hit with the counter for that technique until he learns that, and so on. It doesn't help that his catchphrase is:
  • In Saki, Coach Kubo, faculty advisor for the Kazekoshi team, is this, in contrast to the majority of the mahjong club advisors in the series being relatively laid-back. After her team wins the first round of the prefecturals, Kubo slaps Mihoko, the best player on the team, for a minor mistake, and is prepared to do the same to Kana, the second best before Mihoko stops her and makes a heartfelt speech in defense of her. (It's indicated that this is not the first time Mihoko has done something like this, and her doing so is one reason her teammates adore her). However, when Kazekoshi ultimately loses the prefectural finals to the main characters, Kubo sees Kana coming in, desperately trying to hide her tears, and simply tells her to win the next time.
  • SD Gundam Force gives us Gunbike, whose AI was Captain Gundam's original pre-deployment instructor. He's brought in to help the newly-formed Gundam Force learn to work as a team, and starts the training off with a long report on their various flaws.
  • Coach Kashiwaba in Touch (1981). Due to his bitterness at being unfairly kicked off the Meisei baseball team over 20 years ago, he seeks to break his former sempais' hearts by breaking the current team's spirit.

  • 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 p'tits salopards !" ("You bunch of little bastards!")
  • The German comedian "Ausbilder Schmidt", whose whole shtick is this: "There are ten drill sergeants in my company, but only nine of them know about the human rights!"

    Comic Books 
  • In the Swedish Armed Farces comic 91:an Karlsson there is Furir Rickard Revär who is tasked with getting the men in line, often failing hilariously, mostly due to his slight lack of intelligence or due to him being somewhat easily startled. He also truly lives up to the "nasty" part of the trope name due to his fierce temper. There have been times where he even put his own superiors through his drill routine when he had enough of their teasing. Despite all of his faults though, when things really matter, he tends to be among the most reliable people on the whole regiment thanks to his knowledge in military procedures and wilderness survival. And despite everything, he really seems to care for his men, he just doesn't want to show it.
  • Asterix and Obelix meet one when they're in Germania and disguised as Goths. They met two roman versions in Asterix the Legionnaire, who were inclined to play the trope straight. Asterix and Obelix manage to break them by taking them literally, and by using their magic strength. In the end, the two centurions actually soften up and gave in.
  • One appears in Pyramid training camp that Royal infiltrates in Astro City: The Dark Age. He even sports a Smokey the Bear hat.
  • 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 (though it's for using the term "New Warriors" as an insult, not because of his teaching style). He gets replaced by Taskmaster, who tells the new recruits he's not going to do the whole "Full Metal Jacket" thing. Tasky's method is more scathing sarcastic insults.
  • During DC Rebirth, Batwoman adopts this role for herself in Detective Comics since she is tasked with training some of Gotham's younger heroes to face a larger threat.
  • Dopin' Dan of the Underground Comics has Sgt. Turdy, exhibiting every trait of the trope, generally ineffectually, but not from lack of trying. When an intellectual private insists he's entitled to his rights, Turdy gives him a right — to the jaw — and growls "Anyone else want any "rights"?"
  • 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 who inflicts a Despair Event Horizon on his targets.
  • G.I. Joe:
    • This role was originally fulfilled by actual drill instructor Leatherneck, who is 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 G.I. Joe (Devil's Due) 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...
    • An Informed Ability of 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 animated appearances, as listed below.
  • Green Lantern:
    • In a flashback, 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.
    • In Green Lanterns, Guy Gardner does this while putting Jessica Cruz through training. It riles up her anxiety so badly, she turns and slugs him in the face.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy story "Scout's Dishonor" (Cartoon Network Block Party #35) features the leader of an Extreme Scouts troop that goes from mousy to Drill Sergeant Nasty in zero time after Billy signs up for it.
  • 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.
  • Kimberley is this for Rookie Rangers Rocky, Aisha, and Adam in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (Boom! Studios). It's suggested that she's doing this to hide losing Trini, Zack, and Jason to their "Peace Conference".
  • Played with in Donna Barr's Stinz comics. At first glance, Sergeant Kirschen comes off as the perfect example of a bullying shouty sergeant but, off the clock, he's socially awkward and blushes easily. When war finally breaks out it's revealed he has just as little combat experience as the soldiers he's trained.
  • 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 rather competent into managing Red Shirt lives in battle (less when there's an officer to please or if he really dislikes the designed "victim").
  • Battalion, actually nicknamed "the Drill Sergeant from Hell", from the Teen Titans spin-off Team Titans.
  • Tomahawk: Cannonball served this role in training the Rangers, and even in the field he's always barking at them like mad.
  • The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers: Rotorstorm received quite a bit of mental scarring from his drill sergeant, Jetstream. Jetstream's verbal browbeating eventually turned into actual beatings, violently assaulting the new recruit at various unprovoked points. This continued for an indeterminate amount of time until he was beaten into unconsciousness once, placed into a CR chamber, and awoke to find Jetstream had left, moved to a different position. Years later Rotorstorm received a medal for his valor and he saw his old instructor, having changed his name back to Whirl, sitting in the front row of his ceremony, applauding and cheering the loudest.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man: Having been a soldier, Cap is far more reluctant to see Spider-Man get involved in superheroics. Even after Nick Fury warms up on the idea, Cap remains stubborn as ever, considering Peter to be Just a Kid. After Peter takes a bullet for him and dies of his injuries, Steve ends up even more turned off by the idea of the younger Miles Morales taking up his mantle.
    • Of course, when he tries to console Aunt May over Peter's death, she curses him because with Peter's personality and sense of responsibility there was no way he wouldn't use his powers. By refusing to train him and brushing him off, all he did was push Peter to try harder.
  • During a comedic X-Men storyline that depicted an alien army invading Australia, the invasion fell apart for several reasons. One of them was the alien soldiers actually bonding with the Australians over beer and trading stories instead of fighting. One panel depicts a massive alien sitting in a bar with an Australian citizen who was also an ex-soldier, both of them sharing stories of the Drill Sergeant Nasties they'd encountered.

    Comic Strips 
  • Downplayed 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.

    Fan Works 
  • The All Guardsmen Party were once assigned ostensibly light duty training a bunch of officer candidates for a local Planetary Defence Force, mostly young lads who came from money and had signed up chiefly because they were looking for an alternative to doing any actual work. They subsequently spent several days dicking around and failing to take their training seriously, until the titular Party ran out of patience and decided to adjust their attitudes the Imperial Guard way. It worked surprisingly well.
  • Mother Brainstorm in Calvin & Hobbes: The Series has traits of this. For one example, she commands her daughter Sheila to give her 20 and chastises her when she does so in only 27 seconds.
  • Sergeant Kung Boo of King Boo's army in the Super Mario Bros. fanfic Can a Boo Be Friends with a Human?? Like practically all other sergeants, he has No Indoor Voice and believes in working his troops very hard. He very much respects Captain Boomerang though.
  • In Civilization V: Peace Walker, a Metal Gear Solid / Civilization V crossover, MSF recruits a defeated enemy warlord, giving him a chance to do something useful instead of seeking death in combat. That warlord's name? Genghis Khan.
    Snake: Hey, hear me out. You're a little behind the times, so I'm not so sure you'd make a good general for modern tactics. Kind of banged-up for battle, too. But I've got a perfect idea... you want to be the uncontested master of all you survey? An unholy terror to your subjects, the conqueror of men? I can do that.
  • Mr. Popo in Dragon Ball Z Abridged "trains" the Z Warriors by taking a page straight out of the drill sergeant playbook. It should be noted that Popo is depicted as a true Sadist Teacher who genuinely enjoys their suffering when he beats them or puts them into fights with foes they have little to no hope of defeating. Here's how he greets the group when they first arrive for training:
    Popo: Alright maggots, listen up. Popo's 'bout to teach you the pecking order: it goes you, the dirt, the worms inside the dirt, Popo's stool, Kami; and Popo. Any questions?
    Krillin: Uh, yeah, I— [cut to outside shot of lookout as sounds of fighting can be heard, followed by a black dot falling off said lookout] AAAAAAAGGGGGHHHH! (Krillin Owned Count: 3)
    Popo: Enjoy the climb back up, bitch. Any more questions? [silence] Good. Then we can begin.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami has Commander Cathy, who's tasked to train Keeper Mercury's army. Working with dumb goblins, squishy warlocks, and disrespectful orcs would turn anyone into this, but she seems to enjoy making them train The Spartan Way whether they like it or not.
  • Evangelion 303: Colonel Toshiro Nagato is Asuka and Jessika's commanding officer during their B1C training. Both women complained about him being stern, stiff and angry the whole time and drilling the word "discipline" into their heads endlessly. Still, he was not a rude person. He was just doing his work -train them hard- and he really valued them and appreciated them.
  • A Flower's Touch: Sargent Crawford, who becomes Aerith's trainer after joining SOLDIER. He's actually a fairly mild example, but Aerith still regards him as pretty nasty.
  • Harry Potter and the Escape to New York:
    He was only called the Blademaster and from his first encounter with Harry as his teacher, Harry rated him as the toughest, meanest SOB that he had ever had the misfortune to encounter.

    His routine now included runs through the tunnels with a fifty pound backpack of rocks on his back, half hour sessions of cuts and thrusts with his body only as he learned just how many ways he could use his body as a weapon and finally, after four weeks, his first introduction to a sword.
  • In Harry Potter and the Four Heirs Hermione's father's physical fitness regimen for Harry is occasionally supplemented by Sergeant Major Bellows, aka "He-who-makes-you-hurt."
    Harry: Did you hear what he said to me, this morning?
    Dan: Oh, this'll be good.
    Harry: He said, "You, my little butt nugget, have as much coordination as two jellyfish fornicating in a bucket of warm snot."
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Like in canon, Germany is this. Japan calls out Germany for being too tough and harsh, implying this trope. Prussia references it by name.
    Prussia: "West here makes little exceptions for Ita-chan from time to time! He turns from Drill Sergeant Nasty to a puddle of goop in Ita-chan's hands!"
  • High Road To Giratina has Alfa the Staraptor. His tactics may or may not have inspired mutiny within his troops.
  • Justice League of Equestria:
    • Rainbow Dash's mother Firefly is this to the Wonderbolts (possibly where Spitfire got it from).
    • Kilowag is this for the Green Lantern Corps, as per canon. Shining Armor isn't impressed.
  • Nanoha of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is a Sergeant Rock, strict, yet fair and ultimately caring for the growth of the New Meat. Since this doesn't make for much comedy, however, the Fan Webcomic by Q-Ice turned her into a classic Drill Sergeant Nasty.
  • Momentary Weakness: Milly (ten years old) takes over the training of the guard for a day, insisting that they follow the normal exercise routine she does with her father every day. One young guard chuckles that this will be an easy day. Another guard points out that she's the daughter of the most powerful, dedicated people in the world.
    "He..." The guard gasped, trying to get his breath. "He puts his own daughter through that?!" Water skins were being passed around the training grounds after she let them take a break, though she was still hopping about checking in on the soldiers.
    "Like I... like I said. Paragon's daughter. Daughter of an... phew, an Aegis... they're not like us." His colleague had taken her helmet off, mopping her dark hair back.
    "At... at least the drill is over..." He took some relief in that, watching as that blonde demon passed out little bowls of dried fruit and mixed nuts for them to snack on.
    "She'll be sparring with us next."
  • In Necessary to Win, Takako Kubo, of Saki, plays it straight as Black Forest's tankery coach, although it is revealed that she disagrees with her teacher, Shiho Nishizumi, over certain matters; while Shiho would let those who don't live up to her standards flunk out, Takako is willing to do what it takes to whip her students into shape, even corporeal punishment. Averted with the JGSDF instructor Ami, who teaches tankery to Oarai while taking their status as high school students into account, and has had a falling out with Takako over her methods of discipline.
  • Night of the Fae:
    MI-6 Agent Almont: Trainees have you forgotten where you are supposed to be this morning?
    Harry: No, sir but Mr. Barnesworth just revealed a major revelation.
    MI-6 Agent Almont: That is all well and good but you sad sacks need to work on your physical stamina. I suggest you make your way to our gym. You have only earned extra push-ups and sit-ups from now on. Another minute late and that is an additional mile. SO MOVE!
  • Bergen from The Night Unfurls fits this trope to a T. Strict and abrasive to his recruits, yelling and calling them derogatory names are part of his routine.
  • Remembrance of the Fallen: Eleya again, this time to two of her underclassmen at Starfleet Academy that she's been assigned to tutor when Tia complains that part of the problem is Sobaru can't sit still.
    Eleya: Yes, well, I think I can handle it. (to Sobaru in a harsher voice) Sit down.
    Sobaru: (drops into a chair immediately) Sitting down, sir.
    Eleya: (snorts) Okay, you can get up. I was just checking to see if "Sergeant Kanril" worked on you.
  • Captain Hina, upon realizing how few of her men can function in the lower oxygen of Skypiea in Stallion of the Line, orders all the ones who can move to sprint behind her along the beach, declaring that if she reaches the end of the beach and her men aren't within fifty paces of her, she will shackle them together and "make them do squats until their arms fall off". Though Hina gives her men extra incentive since, given she was sunbathing moments prior, she's running in front of them in a thong bikini.
  • In A Taste of the Good Life: Pinkie Pie takes on this persona towards the other restaurant staff, ignoring Main Course's efforts to tell her that she doesn't actually outrank anyone, and gives the following Rousing Speech:
    Pinkie: Alright, listen up maggots and mag-ettes! When you walked through that door twenty minutes ago, you were strangers from different walks of life. All of you have your own reasons for being here, but for the rest of your shift, your plots belong to me! When those doors open, a horde of ravenously hungry ponies is going to come streaming in here, expecting to be seated and served food. It will be up to you, and you alone, to make sure that happens. Nopony is backing you up. Nopony is coming to help you. Unless, you know, if one of you happens to have fewer ponies in your assigned section and want to help the others out that would be the friendly thing to do. But other than that, you. Are. On. Your. Own. And do you know what will happen if you fail? They might only tip twelve percent.
    [most of the staff shudder; one mare chuckles]
    Pinkie: You! Is something about what I just said amusing? Do you think you're here to have fun?
    Mare: Ma'am, no ma'am!
    Pinkie: Wrong answer! The Grassy Knoll supports a playful and relaxed atmosphere as long as the work gets done efficiently! You will have fun working here and you will like it!
    Mare: Ma'am, yes ma'am!
    Pinkie: Some of you might want to give up. You might think it's all over when a table of twelve with three colicky foals gets seated in your section. Or you may think it's over when the customer who ordered the raw tofu chunks complains that they're undercooked. Nothing is over until we decide it is! Or I guess until we close for the night. Or your shift ends. Or you have some sort of family emergency and have to leave after letting your supervisor know. But other than that stuff, it's not over! Was it over when the gryphons bombed Yearling Harbor?
    Staff: NO!
    Pinkie: Then let's feed some ponies!
  • The Unspeakables' physical training instructor in Vengeance from the Grave:
    Quinlan Baines was their fitness instructor. He did not go by a code name and didn't need one. They had collectively learned to fear the name he was born with.
    Just what the man's expectations were one couldn't say as no one of them had ever satisfied the man. Which was as it should be, but that damn stick of his was another matter.
  • In The Weaver Option, former Dark Angel finds himself acting as a training officer for the Guard regiments he is attached to and comes to find that he enjoys shouting at recruits until they start getting things right.
  • The Wrong Reflection: Eleya, a former Bajoran Militia NCO, shuts up Dal Kanril by doing her best drill instructor Death Glare, "the look that says, I don't give a flying phekk if you're Shakaar Edon himself; as far as I'm concerned you're just another brainless boot who can't tell which end of a combat knife goes into the other guy." Dal Kanril automatically snaps to attention despite herself, and later mentions she felt like she was back in basic training.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Amazing Maurice, Darktan serves as both this and Sergeant Rock to the rats. One example of his Drill Sergeant Nasty side is when he hammers home to Nourishing why you want to be the second mouse: because the second mouse gets the cheese, but the first mouse gets the trap!
  • Sarge in Cars does this during the end credits montage, when he runs a boot camp for pampered SUVs. Fittingly enough, the boot camp vehicles are Hummers. He complains, "Yo! I've never been off-road!" a Take That! to the use of the gas-guzzling Hummer in suburban environments.
    Sarge: A-TEN-HUT! Kiss the pavement goodbye, gentlemen! When I'm finished with you, you'll have mud in places you didn't know you had.
  • G.I. Joe: The Movie:
    • Beachhead is put in charge of a squad of "Rawhides", new recruits still wet behind the ears. General Hawk 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).
    • After screwing up spectacularly, Falcon is sent to the Slaughterhouse to be straightened out by Sgt Slaughter. The following quotes should sum up how Slaughter handles folks like Falcon quite nicely.
      Sgt Slaughter: You're here because you're an industrial-grade foul-up! My job is to whip you into shape, and I mean whip! There's only two ways out of my command! On your feet like a man, or in a ditty-bag! An itty, bitty ditty-bag! Got it?!

      Sgt Slaughter: You're gonna work until you wish you were dead! And then keep going! Because yer afraid if you don't, I won't let you die!
  • Mulan. "Let's get down to business, to defeat the Huns./ Did they send me daughters, when I asked for sons?" Shang isn't that degrading (and in a G-rated movie, he can't be), but still. He's also noticeably proud when they gradually become more competent.
  • In Rio 2, Jewel's father Eduardo acts like this when coaching Blu in the ways of the wild.
  • Wreck-It Ralph gives us Sgt. Calhoun, a protagonist from the First-Person Shooter Hero's Duty, whose role in-game is to act as this to the player character.
  • In Zootopia, it's played as straight as they could in a Disney film, with the Police Academy instructor, a polar bear. She sounds berating and unforgiving during drills, shouting "You're dead!" every time a recruit slips; she's also very proud of her graduates, especially Judy once the bunny protagonist starts using her speed and agility to succeed rather than trying to muscle through the various tests.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The sergeant major from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life 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!
  • 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 (of course, he is off-duty at the time), 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?
  • 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. On "Inside the Actors Studio" Matthew Broderick said when he played the part earlier on the stage, Will Sadler the actor playing the sergeant as an R. Lee Ermey-style drill instructor, always yelled. When they did the movie and they cast Walken, he would say his lines in a much slower and oddly cadenced manner, which was actually scarier!
  • Hoo boy, Cadet Captain Jennifer Stone goes beyond the call of duty with this in Cadet Kelly.
  • Carry On:
    • Carry On, Sergeant: Sergeant Grimshawe is a downplayed example of this, trying calmer methods than usual in what is going to be his last squad. Corporal Copping fits the role to a tee, however.
    • Sergeant Major MacNutt in Carry On Up the Khyber. He even treats a normal conversation as if he was barking out commands to his soldiers.
    • And Captain S. Melly in Carry On England, who is certainly not thrilled to discover women under his command, and does his best to ensure that the experimental mixed unit fails.
  • Major Reisman serves this role in The Dirty Dozen, "encouraging" one of his "recruits" up a rope with a submachine gun. Sergeant Clyde Bowren is more of a Sergeant Rock, although he is still not someone the Dozen want to cross.
  • Tech Sgt. Jim Moore (Jack Webb) in The DI (1957). A noteworthy example because he makes it a point to never physically assault or swear at his troops, despite being very tough and demanding. The film was produced in response to a scandal over a training mishap where several Marine recruits died and was shown to Marine Drill Instructors to serve as an example of how they should behave.
  • The film version of Ender's Game portrays Sergeant James Dap as a Scary Black Man with a British accent who constantly yells at Launchies and makes Ender "drop and give [him] 20" for doing what he previously claims to allow (i.e. ask legitimate questions). While Ender is doing push-ups, he continues to yell at him, telling Ender that he's never going to make commander and that Dap will never salute him. After Ender replies that Dap will, Dap adds 20 more push-ups (although he stops Ender after a few more). Finally, he yells for Ender to "shut it" when the boy continues to mouth off. Later, though, after Ender does make commander, Dap salutes him and treats him with respect.
  • The unnamed drill sergeant in Forrest Gump, who spends the entirety of his screen time shouting. He's actually a subversion since, despite his aggressive and confrontational mannerisms, most of what he says is actually positive reinforcement due to Forrest being submissive and not questioning his authority.
    Gump: To do whatever you tell me, Drill Sergeant?
    [later, when Gump demonstrates unusual skill at assembling his M-14]
    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!
  • Sgt. Hiles in The Frighteners is a ghostly Expy of Sgt. Hartman. Guess who plays him?
  • Gunnery Sergeant Hartman from the film Full Metal Jacket is the probable Trope Codifier, played famously by R. Lee Ermey, a retired Marine staff sergeantnote  and drill instructor. He's also the Unbuilt Trope, as Hartman is a demonstrable failure as a drill instructor: he entirely fails to notice that one of his recruits, whom he has specifically singled out for the worst of his abuse, is undergoing an obvious mental breakdown until it is too late, and then gets himself killed in a very stupid manner by trying to further abuse and provoke the visibly twitching recruit fondling the loaded rifle... instead of simply turning around and leaving to fetch the MPs before the crazy man with the gun noticed that he was there. Though he's typecast as this role, Ermey himself once remarked that Hartman's behavior would've gotten a real-life drill instructor relieved on the spot, if not court-martialed.
  • 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. Urgayle isn't a bully though, he's a man with a job to do. He is also possibly the least sexist character in the film.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Parodied in Hot Shots!:
  • 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 at 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! I got lost on the way to college, sir!
  • In the Disney Channel Original Movie Hounded, Mike Martin, the deurtagonist of the film and older brother of the protagonist, Jay Martin, is this, especially when they were growing up. Very easy to explain, as Mike is carrying on their late father's tradition attending the military school he attended and once taught at. It was after Jay accidentally dognapped Camille, the prized show dog belonging to his corrupt principal, she likely helped the two learn to put aside their differences so they can avenge their family's honor. At the end of the film, he becomes the instructor for Ronny, the principal's just-as-corrupt son and Jay's rival, after he is sent to his military academy as punishment for stealing Jay's scholarship, and Mike intends to discipline him much harder than the other cadets.
  • Kill Bill: Pai Mei. A martial arts teacher, not a military instructor, but still qualifies. And how. If you show any disrespect to the usual drill sergeant type, they will chew you out until their throat is raw or send you to a punishment. Pai Mei will snatch out your eye.
  • 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 is shouting in English]
    Algren: Well done, Sergeant.
    Gant: Once you know the lingo, sir, everything falls into place.
  • 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.
  • Victor Spinetti plays an overzealous, gibberish-spewing, proto-Pythonesque version in Magical Mystery Tour.
  • 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).
  • Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley (played by Louis Gossett Jr.) in An Officer and a Gentleman. "Only two things come from Oklahoma: steers and queers. And I don't see no horns, boy."
  • Pitch Perfect: Aubrey behaves this way towards the Bellas, putting them through an intense training regimen. It's implied she behaves this way because her father served in the military.
  • 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 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.
  • Adolph Caesar earned an Academy Award nomination as Sgt. Waters in A Soldier's Story, whose murder drives the mystery plot. Waters 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.
  • At 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.
  • 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 that 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.)
  • Sergeant Hulka in Stripes, of course. Later in the film, it becomes very clear that Hulka is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • 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.
  • Sgt. McGillicuddy in The Three Stooges short "Half-Shot Shooters" - sadistic even by Stooge Jerkass standards. At one point, he tells the boys to put their heads in a sink full of water, then fires a gun into the sink, giving the boys temporary hearing loss.
  • 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".
  • Sergeant Major Basil 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 one 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."
  • 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]
Unlike other examples, however, Young insists on going into combat with the men, despite his CO offering to pay him off.
Young: Sir! With respect, you can stick the money up your arse that's all I can offer you, sir. I love what I do, I also love these grubby, thickheaded men I trained — you most of all and I expect to be with them and with you because I'm needed.

  • The gamebook The Rings of Saturn: The astronaut academy has this in the form of sergeant Padgett. If you screw something up, he'll send you off to train in an underwater base under a uplifted telepathic dolphin who is even harsher, and not a playful nice dolphin.

  • Corporal Himmelstoss from 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 realizing what the characters go through, turned into Sergeant Friendly, getting the character good food and even sneaking him some goodies on the side.
  • Beau Geste:
    • Sergeant Lejaune. In his case, he is a villain and indifferent to "doing it for their own good".
    • Lejaune positively pales in comparison to "Sergeant-Major Suicide-Maker" ("a half-mad bully whose monomania was driving men to suicide") from some of P.C. Wren's other Foreign Legion stories, and quite possibly the worst example here.
  • Bill the Galactic Hero 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).
  • Played for Drama in the Cherub Series, in which the Drill Sergeant Nasty actually is a bad example of a human being, later fired when he half-strangled Kyle and tried to extort a good report from Lauren. Oh, and he was going to kill Lauren's puppy.
  • El Conquistador: Almost every teacher in the Calmécac (the Aztec High School, actually a Deadly Training Area) behaves this way. It's only expected that the bravest and boldest of all people survives the school.
  • 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.
  • Discworld:
    • Fred Colon's reminiscing about his unnamed drill sergeant in the 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 Strappi from Monstrous Regiment is a particularly nasty example, before he learns he's going to be sent to the front lines and promptly becomes a Dangerous Deserter. By contrast, Recruiting Sergeant Jackrum is A Father to His Men, and only pushes the ones he expects to push back.
  • Ender's Game:
    • Subverted: 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.
    • Ender himself is said to be brutal when dealing with groups (thus fitting the trope) but not when working with individuals.
  • Fire & Blood: Ser Gareth Long, who is appointed as Master of Arms to Aegon III on the order of slimy bastard Unwin Peake. Like Thorne, he's a deconstruction - he's terrible at his job, actually killing some charges, and only the fact Aegon was king saved him from Gareth's retaliation when he mysteriously didn't take to the man's teaching style. So Long had him beat up his friend Gaemon instead. When Long was given the boot, it turned out Aegon could actually learn sword-fighting, and while he would never be a top-flight badass, he was capable if someone bothered to teach him properly (yay for the power of positive reinforcement). Of course, Gareth just hated Aegon anyhow, seeing him as a weakling, even joining in on an attempted coup because he hated him that much, but by this point, Aegon wasn't afraid of him anymore.
  • In the 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.
  • Subverted in The Good Soldier Švejk. When the protagonist is assigned an hour of rifle drill as a punishment, under supervision of Feldwebel (Sergeant-Major) Nasáklo, "the meanest tyrant in the regiment" — which he performs smartly while cheerfully chatting with the instructor, but the Sergeant-Major soon passes out and must be hospitalized with "either a sunstroke or acute brain fever". Played straight several other times in the novel, usually with a distinct tendency towards "nasty but incompetent and ineffective" drill instructors, sometimes employing physical violence towards recruits.
  • The Halo novels feature CPO Mendez, who acts as this for the Spartans. Mendez is also this done right. He clearly cares for the Spartans, and they all attribute their survival to him. He wound up being both a Parental Substitute and a Living Legend to them. This is even invoked in Halo: Ghosts of Onyx. Kurt Ambrose knows that as Lieutenant Commander, he can't get involved in the Spartan-IIIs' training, as they're supposed to respect him and hate CPO Mendez.
    Kurt: Chief, I'm sorry that order had to come from you.
    Mendez: I understand, sir. You're the CO. You have to inspire and command their respect. I'm their drill instructor. I get to be their worst nightmare.
  • 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.
  • Chief Pangie in Leia, Princess of Alderaan is a downplayed example. She's maliciously cheerful as she leads a Pathfinding class on gruelling multi-hour hikes across difficult terrain. On the first of these, she abandons the class halfway up a mountain and takes a speeder down herself, to test if they were paying enough attention to make it back themselves. The chief is also completely unimpressed by whining and by one of her students who expected a much easier course clearly considering her to be this trope incarnate. Naturally though she is doing this so they'll be able to survive if they're stranded in strange and hostile places, and eventually says so.
  • 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.
  • Light and Dark: The Awakening of the Mage Knight: Sir Fredrick drills his "sorry lot" of first-year squires into the ground.
  • Lions & Liars: Eric, one of the counselors at Camp Omigoshee, acts this way. He shouts orders at the campers and blows a whistle at them.
  • Martín Fierro: Subverted by the Argentinian Army. Every official is very nasty, and the conscripts are tortured continuously, but the protagonist denounces the instructors the Army assigned did not know how to train soldiers. Justified because the Army does not have any interest in training the conscripts: they are there as mere Cannon Fodder and to work as Indentured Servants. Later on, the trope is deconstructed: Because Fierro is a conscript who get tortured but never trained properly, he learns to kill in a battle, so he learns that Violence is the Only Option and Murder Is the Best Solution to all his problems. When he becomes a Dangerous Deserter, he commits a lot of civilian murders.
  • Myth Adventures: Book nine, 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.
  • In Old Man's War, the training sergeant is a heavily self-aware version of this trope. He says he actually does hate his recruits, as well.
    "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.
  • 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.
  • Republic Commando Series: 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 gets 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.
  • The Riftwar Cycle: 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 of hard labor, he really did have the authority to do it, too.
  • In the short story "Sergeant Lacey Demonstrates" by Norman P. Kaufman, a private gets revenge on a Drill Sergeant Nasty by tying him up during a first-aid demonstration and then leaving him to drown on a beach.
  • In the Sharpe series, Sharpe's enemy Sergeant Hakeswill is one, but 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. There's also the virulently anti-Irish Sergeant Lynch, who doesn't make it to the end of the book.
  • The codifier may well be "The Short-Timers" by Gustav Hasford. This novel was the basis for Full Metal Jacket. Sargent Gerheim had people getting private beatings and drinking piss as punishments for minor things. This guy is so twisted, he congratulates Private Pyle when he shoots him.
  • 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. Some of them he didn't even teach the proper way to hold a sword. His attempt to become Lord Commander was hopeless because no one who'd been taught by him — a fair amount, as he'd been on the Wall some sixteen years by that point — would ever support him.
  • In 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.note  It is also stated that as soon as most of the recruits who couldn't hack it were gone, the DIs became even more demanding but far less nasty.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • In I, Jedi, Corran confronts Luke, feeling that a lack of discipline led to Kyp Durron falling to the dark side of the Force, and that Luke was not doing enough to instill a sense of discipline in his students. Luke asks Corran if he should have some New Republic drill instructors help with training.
    • In the short story "The Stele Chronicles", the character Marek Stele and other Imperial recruites are trained by Stormtrooper Senior Master Sergeant Jona T. Stark.
  • A truly psychotic version of Sergeant Grimshaw (see film examples above), seemingly based on Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, appears in Teddy Bears' Picnic. After having the recruits peel potatoes as a punishment, he decides he's changed his mind and orders them to glue the potato skins back on.
  • Tortall Universe:
    • "Sarge" is this to the Queen's Riders. This aspect of his personality is so prevalent he got the nickname back in his slave days, well before he started training, for how strict he was with his fellow gladiators. He's actually a Gentle Giant, but Riders tend to have high casualty rates and a short training period, so he trains them as rigorously as possible to give them the best chance.
    • Lord Wyldon from Protector of the Small is also an example, but his hardass methods can do more harm than good. Making the young pages ride horses instead of ponies quadruples the riding injuries, insisting that they tough out their injuries rather than use a magical healer makes training more difficult, and refusing to address bullying in his ranks leads to one squire becoming a rapist and another dying in his Ordeal of Knighthood. However, it should be noted that he doesn't punish for the sake of sadism - he's been wounded and toughed out said wounds because the alternative was the royal children dying, and he immediately notices Kel's fear of heights and takes steps to get her down to the ground safely. Kel is grateful for him pushing her so hard, as it prepared her for knighthood better, but this is less because of his training and more because Kel is even more stubborn and determined than he is, which he comes to respect. In the end, while it's acknowledged that while he had some good points, he points out that his methods had serious flaws, resulting in the above-mentioned rapist and death in the Chamber of Ordeal, and he consequently resigns.
  • In Valhalla, the Sergeants Cameron all exhibit traits of the nasty drill sergeant, shouting tough speeches and such.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: Miles Vorkosigan is commanded by the psychotic Metzov early in his career in The Vor Game — and by "psychotic", think cashiered from the Barrayarian military for brutality.
  • Bigwig in Watership Down when he wants to be. Yes, that's right. He's a rabbit and he pulls this off. Hazel actually criticizes him 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.
    "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 Otherwise I'll—" He became inaudible again.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Andor introduces Lt Gorn during the Aldhani heist arc, the inside man to the Caper Crew planning to steal imperial garrison wages. Gorn uses this as part of his Briar Patching tactic, deliberately asking his men to work overtime and do busywork during the Eye of Aldhani, an astronimical event that everyone looks forward to. As a result, the soldiers ask for time off, leaving the garrison staffed with a skeleton crew that allows the thieves unfettered access to the vault.
  • 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."
  • The Babylon 5 second season episode "Gropos" features a Sergeant Major who's commanding actual troops, not recruits, yet still acts like this. At least as far as is possible on a family-friendly show.
  • 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 battalion 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 fieldwork. He's unable to perform simple tasks, such as reading a map properly, resulting in a mutiny by his NCOs 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.
  • Colonel Tigh on Battlestar Galactica. It's implied that the Colonial militia, or at least Galactica, follows the classic XO/CO arrangement where everyone is terrified of the executive officer and loves the commanding officer.
  • In the season 7 Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Get It Done", Kennedy, the most senior of the potentials and who has received substantial 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.
  • Another whitelighter, Natalie, briefly serves as this in the Charmed episode; "Blinded by the Whitelighter" for the sisters when she prepares them for battle. Unlike Leo, she refuses to coddle them, leading them to half-jokingly suggest vanquishing her at one point.
  • The killer of the week in the Cold Case episode "Shore Leave".
  • CPO Sharky, played by Don Rickles as an equally temperamental example.
  • Dad's Army:
    • Complete subversion: the urbane, upper-class Sgt. Arthur Wilson, 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 than his ultra-eager and aggressive superior Captain Mainwaring, whose own drill sergeant-like efforts frequently result in chaos.
    • Lance-Corporal Jones has tried his hand at this, but it's not his natural state. Here he is drilling one man, the elderly Private Godfrey:
      Jones: Left, right, left, right, left, right, HALT!!! Now, you sit down there, Mr. Godfrey, and I'll put the kettle on...
  • Jo Lupo to the Astraeus project cadets on Eureka.
  • In Family Ties, Skippy's recruiting officer also serves as his drill sergeant, with an appropriate change in demeanor 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.
  • Fauji: Major Narayanan and Major Rai are the drill instructors for a squad of 2nd Liuetenants at the Commando school intended for officers only. Narayanan is the more loud in-your-face version, while Rai speaks softer, but will dole out the harsher punishments. That said, those harsher punishments are reserved mostly for his younger brother.
  • Game of Thrones: Alliser Thorne pushes his recruits with harsh training and constant insults, believing himself to be this. However, he also deconstructs the trope by taking much more pleasure in bullying his charges than he does from seeing them improve, making him a plain sadist as well.
  • 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.
  • Get Some In! features Tony Selby as Corporal Marsh, a Royal Air Force drill instructor who takes considerable pleasure in the power he has over the National Service recruits under his command, and often goes beyond trying to whip them into good soldiers and torments them purely for his own amusement. In a series of Establishing Character Moments at the beginning of the first episode, he performs a "snap hygiene inspection" of a recruit's tea mug, which he drops to the ground and breaks after finding it unsatisfactory, and then orders a pair of recruits carrying a heavy pan of soup across the camp to pick up the pace until they drop the pan and spill its contents.
  • The Goodies: Tim becomes one after joining the Salvation Army (It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context) in "Scoutrageous!".
  • 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.
  • Subverted, of course, by Sgt. Carter in Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C..
  • Joe White (Terry O'Quinn) has this role in flashbacks of Hawaii Five-0, training the future Navy Seals (including Steve McGarrett).
  • The knight preparing Crusaders for the monsters they are likely to meet on their way to the Holy Land on Horrible Histories.
  • R. Lee Ermey plays House's decorated armed forces father, who punished little Greg The Spartan Way.
  • In an example of the British variant, Sergeant Major Williams in It Ain't Half Hot, Mum, well known for his catchphrase of asking a leading question, then screaming "SHUT UP!" 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".
  • Inverted in the JAG episode "Boot", where the nasty sergeant, Staff Sergeant Carrington, is a woman (played by Julie Caitlin Brown) training female Marine recruits at Parris Island.
    • When Harm went undercover as a Marine Gunnery Sergeant in "Force Recon", R. Lee Ermey once again played the role to whip him into shape.
  • 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.
  • During the fifth season of Laverne & Shirley, the girls went into the Army, and they contended with a tough-as-nails drill sergeant named Alvinia T. Plout.
  • "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.
  • Ermey was also the... enthusiastic host of The History Channel's Mail Call, a military-themed ask-tell show. He also hosts the new show Lock And Load in an overall more sedate style, but there's still enough hints at his DSN nature in there...
  • R.T. Hines (played by Richard Roundtree) from the MacGyver (1985) episode "Tough Boys".
  • Inverted in M*A*S*H when a British officer Hawkeye berates for playing Drill Sergeant Nasty on his wounded men reveals he is deliberately using reverse psychology on them: Since no one would ever yell at a badly wounded man, they can't be all that badly hurt now, can they? Hawkeye is forced to eat humble pie on that one and later does the officer a favor in return.
  • M.I. High: The M.I. 9 fitness instructor Jed Black in "Fit to Wurst".
  • Two Monty Python sketches feature such a character doing this — to a bunch of self-defense students and seriously injured hospital patients.
    Sergeant: [to casted and bandaged patient] You, you horrible little cripple! What's the matter with you?
    Patient: Fractured tibia, sergeant.
    Sergeant: [quietly and condescending] "Fractured tibia, sergeant?" "Fractured tibia, sergeant?" Ooh. (full volume) PROPER LITTLE MUMMY'S BOY, AREN'T WE?!!
    • Another example is John Cleese's Drill Sergeant Nasty who trains new recruits how to defend themselves against various kinds of fresh fruit.
    Sergeant:If you're walking down a dark street and somebody attacks you from behind with a bunch of loganberries, DON'T COME CRYING TO ME!!note note 
  • 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. However, instead of hating him, his men look up to him because of what he did at Guadalcanal and they understand that everything he has them do is for their own good. He's also unusual in that he subsequently joins his men in combat; moreso in that he gets KIA.
  • Sergeant Silverback in Power Rangers S.P.D. is this and a gorilla.
  • Red Dwarf:
    • Although not a drill sergeant, Queeg from the 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.
  • Gordon Ramsay in his various TV projects. Being trained by another Drill Sergeant Nasty character, famed British chef Marco Pierre White (who famously made the young chef Ramsay cry!), and immersed in the rough and tumble footballer culture almost from birth, he took the rough attitude he had as a child into the kitchens of Kitchen Nightmares where he was a Jerk with a Heart of Gold helping struggling restaurants. Then he dealt with the chefs that argued and talked back on Hell's Kitchen since it was his arse on the line. Gordon himself has said he favors this approach because restaurant work is cutthroat, unforgiving, and horrendously stressful, so a harsh approach is only appropriate to get everyone used to it.
  • In The Rough Riders, one of these turns up at the camp, only to be promptly run out of town by The Good Captain (played by Sam Elliot).
  • 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.
  • 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. In the end, he tells his cadets that he loves them.
  • Scrubs:
    • Although not a drill sergeant, several episodes imply that Dr. Kelso is as nasty as he is because if he was nice the hospital would fall apart.
    • 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.
  • Temporary warden Miss Pinch in one episode of The Slammer.
  • R. Lee Ermey played the same kind of character for Space: Above and Beyond for the lead characters, but they turn out well with a respectful salute from the Top Kick when they graduate. Ermey's character, Sgt. Bogous, is significantly less nasty than Hartman, and not just because his rants had to get past network censors this time: he's training Marine pilot officer candidates, not infantry privates, and he pushes them hard because he genuinely cares for them and wants them to succeed. He also shows a softer side when the Chig War is getting underway, genuinely concerned for his trainees and advising them to spend time with their families when they can because in 48 hours they'd be facing an enemy that had slaughtered every human force they'd met.
  • 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. When one of them says to Chakotay that "There's the Starfleet way, and there's the Maquis way," Chakotay sucker punches him.
    Chakotay: That's the Maquis way too, isn't it? And if you want to keep doing it the Maquis way, that's fine with me. We can do that tomorrow, the next day, and every day until you report to Lieutenant Tuvok. You understand me? [smacks crewman in the face] How does a Starfleet officer answer a question?
  • The Steve Wilkos Show: Steve Wilkos, the former security director on The Jerry Springer Show until he got his own show in 2007. A former Chicago police officer and Marine, his self-titled talk show very frequently involves confronting guests accused of rape, cheating, domestic and/or child abuse, pedophilia and the like, and absolutely tearing into any guest found guilty of the above via lie detector. Wilkos will not let these guests sit down on his stage until they are proven innocent (and these occurrences are few and far between), and in the most extreme cases will go so far as to throw their chairs against the wall, smashing them into pieces.
  • In The Waltons, Jason overhears Mary Ellen scolding John Curtis. He soon realizes that she is firm with him because she cares. As a Sergeant in the Army, he is inspired to stop coddling the recruits under him. Being tougher on them would be better for them in the long run. Result, this trope.
    Recruit: Aren't you going to help me?
  • Sergeant Morris, the Victim of the Week in the Whodunnit? (UK) episode "Goodbye Sarge", who becomes the victim of Unfriendly Fire. His C.O. describes him as the most unpopular sergeant in the British Army.

  • Given how the Muse song "Psycho" is all about the dehumanizing of soldiers by their drill sergeants to turn them into drones, this is naturally out in full force. Bonus points for actual lyrics in the song being "Your ass belongs to me now!"
  • Insofar as the Word Salad Lyrics of Paul McCartney and Wings' Jet can be deciphered, one of the reasons why the Band Is On The Run is that an old-time sergeant-major's daughter has absconded with them; father considers this such a disgrace that he will not relent in hunting down and slaying the degenerate hippie good-for-nuthin' rabble who have abducted his daughter.
  • 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.

    Myths & Religion 
  • 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.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Most of the trainers in WWE Tough Enough adopt this persona during the show. But most notably "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in Season 5, Kurt Angle in Season 4, Bill DeMott in Seasons 3 and 5, Hardcore Holly in Season 2 and Tazz in the original season.
  • Sgt. Slaughter, apart from being a G.I. Joe action figure, plied his trade in WWE (where he was world champion in 1991), as well as the American Wrestling Association and the National Wrestling Alliance. For many years, his character was a former Marine Corps drill sergeant who was drummed out for being too harsh on his troops (needless to say, he was usually a heel).
  • WCW had Sgt. Craig "Pitbull" Pittman; while not actually billed as a drill sergeant like Slaughter was, his appearance and demeanor ("The beatings will continue until morale improves") fit the trope perfectly. However, he also was an inversion, since he ended up taking more beatings than he dished out.
  • WCW also had Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker. The character was originally introduced as a police sergeant (in a tag team called The State Patrol), but was later repackaged as an army drill sergeant; this was a reference to his Real Life sideline as an instructor at the Power Plant, WCW's wrestling school. Like Pittman, he took more than he ever dished out.
  • The treatment dished out to unlikely wrestling try-out Louis Theroux note  when he went "undercover" at a military-style training school for would-be grapplers. His ex-Forces instructor had taken suggestions of match-fixing and choreographed pre-plotted fights as a huge insult. Theroux was made to pay for his boldness.

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

  • Alpha Team RPG: Ogel's Last Stand had an equally over-the-top example that served as both the military and coach variants. He shouts continuously regardless of whether he is actually addressing a new recruit (apparently he would address Dash Justice himself this way, though such a confrontation was never seen), and spends his time forcing people (both recruits and generally anyone else who just happens to be present) to march up and down the square. When not doing that, he's murdering and mutilating his own recruits trying to instruct them on how to defend themselves against fresh fruit.
  • Parodied by the character of Sgt. Ronald E. Army, better known as Soldier, in Dino Attack RPG. As if it weren't obvious enough, his name is a pun on R. Lee Ermey. However, despite his constant shouting and calling everyone maggots, very few people take him seriously. He even got beat up over a few particularly sexist remarks at least twice.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech characters occasionally talked about having this type of instructor in their military training, but they rarely showed up. The strongest examples existed among the Clans, where the warriors who were put in charge of training new warrior groups (known as sybkos) had very few restrictions on what they were allowed to do to their charges. They could and frequently did attack cadets and in some cases, deaths would result, since the Clans did not believe in conducting firing practice without live ammunition or holding back in a fight.
  • In "Trapped in Jedi Academy", one story of Al Bruno III's Binder of Shame, Psycho Dave, Killer Game-Master extraordinaire, turns Yoda into one of these.
  • 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.
  • They're a hell of a lot higher up the chain of command than sergeant and more likely to participate in battle, but the commissars of Warhammer 40,000 assigned to penal or conscript forces embody this. Their job is to keep morale up, which when dealing with poorly trained or insubordinate troops leads mostly to them straight-up executing people for anything from cowardice to chewing gum in formation. Their function for such units is to be so scary that you aren't scared of the scary things you're fighting... at least, less than you are of the commissar!
    • The trope is deconstructed in multiple ways, mostly through the fact it's a well-known fact in-universe and out that the commissars don't always succeed at their job, and tend to attract a lot of friendly fire due to their reliance on bullying and fear tactics. Across various editions, rules have been presented for commissarial "discipline" to backfire fatally, and during their short-lived stint as an independent army, the Catachan Jungle Fightersnote  had a unique rule where you had to roll for each commissar in the army to see if the Catachans murdered them preemptively rather than deal with them. Even the Ciaphas Cain novels hang a deconstructive lampshade, with the titular protagonist noting that commissars who act this way tend to quickly die "heroic deaths" in very suspicious circumstances.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • In an episode of Teach Me! Miss Litchi from BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma, Bullet barged into Litchi's clinic to ask for directions to Ikaruga. But when Litchi tried to cover that in a lesson, thus delaying Bullet, she threatened to attack. Before she could do that, Litchi started yelling like a sergeant, completed with overuse of maggot. She actually managed to make Bullet cry by calling her a crybaby, by the way.
  • In the first two Borderlands games, the New-U machines are Hyperion-owned, giving them a sarcastic female AI that mocks you for dying and encourages you not to view it as war profiteering. In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, however, set on Pandora's moon, those machines are programmed by Dahl, a corporation with heavy Private Military Contractors elements, leading to the New-U machines coming across as drill sergeants.
  • 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.
    • At the beginning of Modern Warfare, Captain Price is a mild version of this as Soap goes through the SAS killhouse. It doesn't last past the first mission.
  • Call of Duty: Ghosts has a DLC available where you can have R. Lee Ermey as your announcer. Yes...that one.
  • Averted in the Counter-Strike training levels: as elite counter-terrorists, the instructors are consummate professionals, gently guiding you through the course.
  • A description of the Sarge from Cyclomaniacs Epic:
    Listen up maggots, the Sarge is one mean walrus of a rider, the Marine Corps' finest rider. Sir, yes, sir.
  • Darkest Dungeon: A Man-at-Arms with the Abusive affliction will act like a particularly nasty drill sergeant.
    "You would scatter like corpseflies if it wasn't for my drilling!"
    "To me, weaklings! Watch and learn!"
    "The rod is a dog's best tutor!"
  • 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...
  • 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 an endless guard post where Dornan will go around the base yelling at all the Enclave Guards, then go to the next guard 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 of 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.
    • Fallout Tactics begins with an "orientation" for savages, conducted by a Paladin 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 Fallout 3, 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.
      • 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.
  • Tanith in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn is pretty much specifically stated to be a Drill Sergeant Nasty, even if it isn't really shown on screen.
    • It IS shown on screen. You can view a conversation in Path of Radiance where Elincia and Marcia are put through Tanith's training methods. She does have good intentions though.
  • Half-Life: Opposing Force features Senior Drill Instructor Dwight T. Barnes and Drill Instructor Sharpe, the latter of whom oversees Shephard's training alongside other unnamed instructors. Nicely played with because during the second half of the level they give you a gun, and Sharpe doesn't have the sense to get out of firing range. Many a player got the Non-Standard Game Over screen by shooting the asshole at the first chance they got.
    • Drill Instructor Barnes takes inspiration from Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, complete with a Shout-Out:
      Barnes: Where are you from, soldier? ...Texas?! Holy cow! You know what comes from Texas, don't you?!
  • The introduction video for the Halo: Combat Evolved Launch Party featured a drill sergeant humorously insulting the audience and giving them "a quick course in saving your own ass". Said sergeant, Avery Jr. Johnson, would go on to be a major supporting character in the original trilogy, and continued to be a presence in promotional material for years to come, most memorably in the demo for the PC version of Combat Evolved and this ViDoc for Halo 3: ODST's "Firefight" mode.
  • A minion in Hearthstone, who pushes your other minions into fighting harder (read: gives a minion +2 attack for a turn). Its quotes are based on Dives.
  • In L.A. Noire, there's a flashback in the early part of the game where Phelps, the player character, joins the Marine Corps. A sergeant accosts Phelps and his companions, telling them that the Japanese would do the US a favor by killing them, and pointing out that the bus they were about to board is "for men who want to fight". Note that they were officer candidates, not enlisted.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Kaidan Alenko mentions that his biotic training involved a turian mercenary named Commander Vyrnnus, who brutally pushed all the trainees until Kaidan was forced to kill him in self-defense.
    • Conversing with Ashley Williams in the first game reveals that she and Shepard had the same tough-as-nails drill instructor.
    • An incidental conversation in the second game features an Alliance Gunnery Chief reaming out some recruits for not treating the main gun on their dreadnaught with enough respect. Though the guy's justified. As he said, the main gun of a dreadnaught is a weapon of mass destruction and real life does not have an Arbitrary Weapon Range.
    • In the third game, Jack 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 catchphrases, 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).
    • Also, cut content has a pre-battle speech given to her students that is outright encouraging. It's a perfect time to be scared, but they can do this.
      "And whatever happens... I am so damn proud of you guys."
  • MechWarrior:
    • 2: The Clans featured a surly sibko training instructor who would call you various epithets, often "Freebirth" or "Surat" (a kind of winged-monkey-rat, often considered a pest animal). The demanding, harsh, and unkind attitude is half due to The Spartan Way that dictates Clan warrior life and half instructors being viewed as old has-beens—in essence, an insult along the lines of "those who can't do, teach."
    • 2: Mercenaries featured a short training campaign under the watchful eye and sarcastic tongue of Sergeant "Dead-Eye" Unther. Unther is also an old warrior, except that this is actually respected in the Inner Sphere where Mercenaries takes place. It means he's competent enough to live that long. The attitude is just due to Unther being a Blood Knight and just kind of a dick in general, to even the most compliant of rookies.
    • 3 is an aversion, in that you ended up with more of a Drill Sergeant Chatty, a Southern-Fried Private who just happened to outrank you. While less insulting, he still manages to come off as condescending instead.
    • 4 and its spinoffs generally had respectful professional trainers who did no screaming at all, and were generally uninteresting as NPCs.
    • 5 has an interesting case in that your trainer is stern but obviously patient and affectionate with you... because the trainer is your character's father, Nik Mason.
  • Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake has McDonell Benedict Miller acting as 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.It's heavily implied that this sergeant will go on to become Venom Snake.
  • Lezalit in Mount & 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.
  • 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.
  • Sabres of Infinity has Sergeant Hernandes, a harsh, unlikeable disciplinarian who is thoroughly disliked by his men.
  • Templar and Illuminati players find themselves on the receiving end of these during their training period in The Secret World. The Templar instructor, Brigadier Lethe, is a classic hardass veteran with a limp and a missing eye and gives you a very rough and thorough pep-talk on how your powers do not make you The Chosen One, before ordering you to test your new powers on a gaggle of chained-up demons. By contrast, Illuminati Director De La Guardia is astonishingly soft-spoken, but even less tolerant of failure: he flat-out warns you that he's not above shooting recruits who screw up on his watch, and given that players are functionally immortal...
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey in its Redux Updated Re Release adds a new dungeon with Sgt. Demonee-Ho, AKA the lovable Series Mascot Jack Frost dressed like a Space Marine, who is found on multiple levels of the dungeon where he "drafts" the protagonist into his boot camp and complete various challenge side quests. Despite the protagonist already being a veteran special forces officer, Sgt. Demonee-Ho's presence and yelling, some of which is taken directly from Trope Codifier Gunnery Sergeant Hartman himself, is enough to scare him into acting like a nervous recruit on boot camp again.
    "Private Hee Ho! I'll unscrew your head and Hee Ho down your neck!"
  • One of the possible personality types of the chips you needed for your SV in S.L.A.I. for PS2 was pretty much this.
  • 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 Original Generation 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.note 
  • 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. For extra hilarity, he's legally been a civilian his entire life.
  • Silithis Predat in Telepath Tactics, as can be seen in the tutorial mission. She is extremely harsh and disparaging, and constantly insults Emma with a word bordering on a racial slur. This breeds resentment from Emma, and the tribe's chieftain points out that it makes Silithis unsuited to lead. She grows out of it when she joins Emma's army later in the story.
  • TerraTech: Sergeant Smash, quest-giver for the Hawkeye faction. He starts out berating the player at every opportunity but mellows out as the player's license grade goes up.
  • The Drill Sergeant in Valkyria Chronicles and in her ending, your recruitable Shocktrooper Jane Turner, who surpasses the original in cruelty.
  • 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 vocabulary.
  • 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.
  • Colonel Vangarre a.k.a. Square-tache of Xenoblade Chronicles is a very abrasive person indeed. He gives absolutely absurd Physical Fitness Punishments (push-ups "until your biceps explode", "for the rest of your life", etc.) and regularly hits his recruits.
  • 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.

    Visual Novels 
  • Grisaia Series:
    • Every military training inspector is this in the Grisaia universe, but Cpt. Garett stands out in The Labyrinth of Grisaia thanks to her violent approach, she doesn't carry around her "punishment rod" for nothing.
    • The Fruit of Grisaia: Yuuji tends to slip into this, especially when he happens to do physical exercise with someone else. This behavior actually rubs off on Makina, who plays an even more vitriolic version than Yuuji.

    Web Animation 
  • 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!

  • Lighter Than Heir: Sergeant Austerlitz, who is actually a decorated veteran. In an interesting twist, it doesn't fully work in instilling discipline in the squad of the protagonists who end up more Mildly Military. Then again, this is possibly due to the saboteur and spy who had infiltrated their squad.
  • The Order of the Stick has this in the form of the Empire of Blood's Arena master. Parodied in typical OOTS fashion.
  • In addition to the comic with the above quote in Penny Arcade, the series features a strip where Frank adopts a traditional Drill Sergeant Nasty manner when training the employees in how to sell video games in the holiday season.
  • Parodied in Wholesome Crossdresser Tip's "Princess training" in Skin Horse - his trainer, Mary, has the usual screaming insults, except she calls him "manly-boy" and tells him he's just not girly enough.
  • When Tessa from S.S.D.D. starts service with the CORE she is initially assigned a drill sergeant who will literally rip your ears off if you give him lip (and outright states that most of the conscripts will be used as Cannon Fodder). When she joins the "special forces" she gets Corporal Grey, who is slightly more agreeable.

    Web Original 
  • The Agony Booth': Mr. Mendo dons the Smokey Bear hat sometimes...
  • 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.
  • Whateley Universe:
    • Gunnery Sergeant Oscar Bardue, JROTC Drill Instructor for the Super Hero School Whateley Academy, as well as one of the main planners for the training sims and Combat Finals. 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.
    • In the Gen 2 stories, Bardue's adopted daughter Caitlin (who had enrolled at Whateley in Gen 1, almost immediately after Mahren mysteriously disappeared) manages the firearm ranges in a manner suspiciously similar to the long-vanished "Range Nazi".

    Web Videos 
  • Bishop Barron identifies this trope in one of his reviews as the "Monster Mentor," who gets results from his students with insanely harsh methods. Examples can be found in Full Metal Jacket and Kill Bill, but the most "arresting instance of this character" is found in J. K. Simmons's character from Whiplash.
  • Campfire Stories: Zach was in the Army at a time where soldiers returning from leave were put through drug screens, just to be sure. The problem is that Zach has a shy bladder, and his inability to urinate on demand resulted in a furious drill sergeant who, in Zach's own words, was running around the room with a baseball bat, breaking things and screaming. He considers it the most terrifying experience of his life, even above being bombarded with mortars while trapped in a porta-potty in Iraq. Of course, Mike, a Marine, finds this hilarious.
    "Private, if you don't pee right now, I'm going to cave your skull in and then I'm going to fuck you to death!"
  • CollegeHumor: Inverted in the "Walking Contradictions" video, where characters behave the exact opposite from how you would expect them to. The Drill Sergeant shouts down his recruits, but by showering them with praise.
    Drill Instructor: I will make it my mission to get hot fudge sundae — extra cherry — for each and every one of you! You have beautiful eyes!
  • In the Channel Awesome special Kickassia, MarzGurl becomes the drill sergeant in charge of training the various nerdy critics into a military once they take over their own country. She quickly makes everyone there terrified of her and is quick to physically abuse any of them for any reason whatsoever.
    Marz Gurl: Stand up straight! [punches out Paw Dugan] Tuck in your shirt! [punches out Film Brain] Stop being so tall! [punches out Handsome Tom] Did you say something?! [gets in Eight Bit Mickey's face]
    Eight Bit Mickey: Oh God no! I'm deathly afraid of you.
    [Marz Gurl nods in satisfaction... and then punches out Eight Bit Mickey]
  • Brooklyn T. Guy from SuperMarioLogan becomes this in the "Bowser Junior's Military School!" duology episodes when he serves as the sergeant of the Military School Bowser sends Junior to when Junior breaks a table with a cannonball from his old clown car. Brooklyn makes his students do push-ups whenever they talk back to him, makes them go through an obstacle course with barbed wire and land mines ten times a day, whips them with barbed wire, squirts hot sauce in their eyes, makes them clean a filthy toilet with a toothbrush, and makes them watch Big Hero 6.
  • Yusha Thomas drew upon his 13 years in the Army to create a recurring character in his comedic videos about life in the military: Drill Sergeant Backbone. Backbone is the personification of the old-school Drill Sergeant and is an absolute terror for the privates he trains. He's willing to physically punish them for any reasonnote  and to go to extreme lengths in doing so. In this video, Backbone finds the contraband stash of two privates, picks one of them at random, and spends literally hours tormenting him and making him do physically demanding exercises. Backbone then forces the private to write out a complaint form, which takes hours longer because Backbone forces the private to detail every single thing the sergeant did to him, then in an after-credits scene, turns the complaint form into a paper airplane and throws it away right in front of the private. And even then Backbone isn't done, as another after-credits scene shows Backbone turning the private over to a Distaff Counterpart so she can go to work on him. (The "best" part of all this? Sgt. Backbone is based on actual Drill Sergeant that Thomas had when he joined the Army.)
    Backbone: I hope you got a condom for your heart, Private, because I'm about to fuck your feelings!

    Real Life 
  • Before we continue on, it should be noted that it is the job of drill sergeants to be this way. Why? Because it will make you remember your training, which in turn will save your life once bullets start flying. A soldier that does twenty years of service may not remember what he did all the time (especially if he never saw combat). But he will definitely remember his time in basic training if he had even a halfway-decent drill sergeant.
  • U.S. Military:
    • Truth in Television, obviously, with Marine and Army [no matter what they say, it's still a bitch] DSes. Here are some examples. And believe it or not, many of them are holding back due to the cameras note 
    • 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.note  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 Training Instructors (not Drill Instructors, clown!) 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 a TI 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 possible 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 effect 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.
    • Non-American/British trainers tend to be loads more formal and quiet in general.
  • 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 upon said recruit how important the situation is.
  • A surprising non-military 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, who 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 Redshirt (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. Britain is so rich, and Nepal is so poor that soldiering is a very attractive and lucrative occupation for the average Nepali, despite the fact that the entry salary for a recruit just out of training is only 2/3 of the British average income. Furthermore, it is a high-prestige one, with Gurkhas being the most feared group in the British Army outside of the SAS and possibly the moderately psychotic Parachute Regiment. 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 can have a drastic influence on one's 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 - and also the IDF's Commander-in-Chief.note ) Rafael 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 uniformnote .)
  • 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 WW2 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 punctuated 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 MacDonald Fraser went on to fight the Japanese for a year in the Burmese jungle, reflecting nothing could ever be as bad as that, ever again.
  • A technique popular with some British Drill Sergeants, especially on very rainy days, is to parade the recruits, and ask, politely: "Hands up, all of those who think that we should not do any training today because it is raining." Those who raise their hands are forced to keep them raised for the whole exercise, with the result that rain runs down the sleeve and soaks them, and their arms get very tired and sore.
    • There are a few other British army traditions/common pranks which are employed, generally either as light hazing or occasionally punishment for unruly recruits:
    • The Long Stand - "Atten-SHUN!" (*Private snaps to attention. Drill Sergeant walks off). This one is generally used as a punishment and a prank. Ordering a private to stand to attention, then leaving them there, can result in an annoying/gullible recruit ending up standing for hours on end, often in British Weather. If done as a prank, then the Sergeant will generally let them know on time. If done as punishment, the Sergeant will let the recruit sit there until he figures it out.
    • Fetch me the [X] - "X" will be something that does not exist, such as the Tartan Paint, the Sawdust Fire Extinguisher, the Dehydrated Water, a Pack of Fallopian Tubes, or the Left-Handed Screwdriver.
    • Fetch me the [Y] - Sometimes even more effective than the "X", the "Y" will be a piece of kit that does exist but that the British Army does not have (a sadly enormous category of things). Bonus points if you ask for it in ridiculous quantities: "Go to the armory and bring me five G36s", or "bring me the base EOD kit" (EOD kits aren't stored for recruits to just sign out and are so heavy that this task would require multiple trips by a very tired recruit). Bonus bonus points if it something other British services or Allies on the same base have, as this will usually entail the unfortunate recruit asking perplexed and irritated matelots, airmen, or, better yet, Gunnery Sergeants and Stabsunteroffiziere for an item they have precious little of themselves.
      • Not Always Working gives us this story from Germany. Not only does the DI send two recruits for a piece of equipment that weighs over 250 lbs. (which they then carried 700 meters), he then berates them for bringing the "small" one.
    • Fetch me the [Z] - Another variant, used once you've graduated boot camp, is to order a subordinate to fetch something that sounds superficially plausible to a layman but, if you have paid sufficient attention in training, would know was entirely bogus. In this variant, the response the instructor is hoping for is for the junior enlisted man to (politely!) point out that the task is impossible to fulfill. The point of the exercise is to get people to, while still showing prompt willing obedience to orders, also use their brains to know when an order has apparently gotten garbled in transmission and needs clarification. Examples include sending an artilleryman to fetch a copy of the cannon reportnote , or asking an aviation mechanic to fetch 100 feet of flight linenote note  or a bucket of prop washnote , or asking a radioman for a can of squelchnote , etc, etc.
      • It should be noted that some of these things can, and do backfire on the ones issuing the Fetch Orders. Quarter Mastersnote  are often forced to inform the young soldier that what he's looking for A: doesn't exist, and B: He's been had. But, doing this can distract the QM, and thus, delay some important work that needs to be done. When this happens, the QM will actually work with the soldier in question as a means of getting payback. In one such example, a Private at a US Army base was instructed to retrieve several barrels of Prop Washnote . The QM had seen this happen so many times he was tired of it, and when this private came to him with the request, he not only told the private the truth but then tracked down *real* Prop Wash note , signed out a Duce and a Half, drove for about 6 hours to a nearby Air Force Base that had some extra for their C-130s, and then drove back. Needless to say, when the Officer in question was handed the bill for the prop wash, he stopped pranking the new guys.
      • "Flight line" exists as well. Likely named for this trope, it's a plastic-sheathed aluminum cable, usually formed with a loop at one end and a brass (non-sparking) snap-hook at the other. It's used to secure flight line equipment - fire extinguishers, aircraft tow bars, etc. - to posts, fences, or padeyes set into the ground to keep the equipment from being blown around by the wind or prop/jet/rotor wash. It's not usually found on training bases (unless the base is for training in flight line skills).
    • Gas Mask Surprise - A particularly cruel prank/training method is to put something unpleasant such as rotten food, chili powder, mayonnaise, or a spider into someone's respirator, then make them do CBRN drill. Another method, sometimes employed against very annoying officers (but which will entail serious charges if caught) is to poke a hot needle through the gas mask filter, which will cause it to let in gas when it comes to being used.
    • The Provo Sergeant - Recruits are sent to the Provo sergeant for punishment, with the instruction, when he politely and respectfully asks why they are there, to tell him why. When he asks "well, why did you [insert transgression worthy of being sent to the Provo here] then?", the recruit is instructed by their Drill Sergeant Nasty to reply "squat on my fucking thumb Provo Sergeant" or some other equally offensive phrase. This presents a Morton's Fork to the recruit, as he cannot disobey a direct order, but following that order will bring the horrific fury of a Provo Sergeant upon his tender head. This became a semi-official means of justifying the Provo Sergeant imposing a bollocking and a severe physical punishment, generally heavy and/or degrading PT.
    • Changing of the giggle pins - Needs a friend in the tank corps: Making new recruits hold a Challenger MBT's barrel up whilst the "giggle pin" is changed. The gunner and the Sergeant then sit in the turret and depress the barrel by hand whilst the poor recruits struggle, whilst the Sergeant makes dire threats about what he will do to the recruits if they don't hold the barrel up.
  • Royal Marines training teams and drill instructors tend to have a different approach to this trope. They usually speak to recruits in a way that is firm but calm and matter-of-fact. Punishments tend to be delivered in the same way. Rather than shouts of "Get on the ground you maggots and give me fifty!" recruits learn to fear the simple command "Front support place. Arms bend. Stretch. Bend. Stretch..." Rebukes and dressings-down are rarely shouted, instead they tend to be delivered with cold contempt.
  • Roman Centurions played this trope very straight. One made his century run around the walls of the camp, carrying packs full of rocks, whilst he was drawn behind them in a donkey cart, whipping any stragglers.
  • 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.
  • Instructors in the French Foreign Legion are loud, profane/obscene, and will harshly punish recruits for any sort of disobedience (one favorite is to have a recruit march laps in boots with no laces while carrying a rucksack full of rocks with the straps replaced with wires). This is because the Legion recruits people from all over the world who don't speak French and they need to quickly foster unit cohesion while making sure everyone knows exactly what's going on.
  • Played horribly straight in the Imperial Japanese military, where soldiers and sailors were essentially physically beaten into the military in order to toughen them up (or merely bullied), to the point where some recruits and draftees committed suicide. Given that even officers could be physically beaten by their superiors (and it started in the academies) it's no wonder that the Japanese became known for suicidal obedience to orders, and it almost certainly contributed to their infamous savagery during the invasion of China and World War II. Indeed, Japanese who had been to military school were notable for being on average a good few inches shorter than the rest of their countrymen, so brutal was the regime.
    • This kind of discipline shows why real life Drill Sergeants (in modern militaries at least) are held to ethics and standards in order to avoid these kinds of disasters from happening ever again.
  • Averted and played straight in the Royal Italian Army during World War I: the actual drill sergeants avoided abuse and cussing as long as you learned how to fight fast enough, but aspiring officers posted on the front would mistreat, abuse and kill the soldiers at any chance. Unsurprisingly, the loss rate among aspiring officers was rather high during the retreat from Caporetto.
    • Interestingly enough, this was part of the culture of the Argentinean Army and a cited reason for their poor performance in the Falklands war with Britain. A patrician officer class seeing itself as a higher order of creation, privileged with better accommodation and rations, shrugged off the fact the men they commanded were living in half-flooded foxholes on cold half-rations as if it were none of their concern.
  • Professionally nasty sergeants aren't a common occurrence in the Russian Army, because it only recently started to break out of the Soviet "skeleton crew of professional NCOs, a lot of ersatz NCOs made from promoted conscripts" mold. Amateurishly and often harmfully nasty sergeants, on the other hand, were a common occurrence not long ago. The real Soviet equivalent of this trope was the warrant officer (praporschik), who was often put in a drill instructor role. A stock plot in Russian humor is dialogue between a Warrant Officer Nasty and a smart-ass conscripted student. In 50% of the jokes, the praporschik gets comically medieval on the ex-student; in the other half, the student outwits the preporschik.
    • However, despite far-sighted senior ranks recognising it is outmoded, demeaning and completely inefficient, the practice of dedovshchina remains ingrained in the Russian armed forces, despite strenuous attempts to root it out and replace it with something more fit for purpose. Dedovshchina is smoking, hazing or beasting, taken to such extremes that recruit soldiers can often be killed, seriously injured or else psychologically scarred for life. A report in 2019 admitted that while this is officially outlawed, many base depots or junior officers charged with eradicating it from Russian practice simply turn a blind eye; even before the outbreak of the Ukrainian war, external observers were questioning dedovshchina, and asking if this actually made worse soldiers, who were ill-equipped for fighting a real war.
  • In more recent years, drill instructors are no longer allowed to simply shout at recruits anymore. Many of them opt for the Deadpan Snarker option instead of simply shouting.
  • This backfired badly when Private Military Contractors were hired to train the New Iraqi Army. Unfamiliar with this trope, the Iraqi recruits responded badly to being shouted at and abused by foreign Western drill instructors.
  • British master chef Gordon Ramsay's public persona is an unusual non-military version. However, Ramsay does run kitchens like barracks and train chefs like soldiers, in order to get the best out of them.
  • Dominatrices often act like this towards their "subs". Like actual drill sergeants, they usually aren't actually mean people and are basically putting on an act.

Coach variant

  • Amusingly parodied in this advert for British confectionery company Rowntree, where a soccer coach chastises his team with bizarre wording after eating some Rowntree's Randoms

    Anime & Manga 
  • Eyeshield 21:
    • The team from the Republic of Militaria. "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.
  • 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.
  • Batou acts like this when training some new recruits for Section 9 in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Second Gig. This results in failing all the new recruits out because he's worried about what will happen to the Section 9's quality if he's too lenient and also worried about bringing in someone who might get killed if they're not up to the job. After discussing things with the Major, he decides that he was too harsh on them and gives the recruits another chance.
  • The gym teacher in Medabots is a 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.
  • The god Khnum from Oh, Suddenly Egyptian God opens a class on the art of pottery (his specialty) and he does not hold back. His method of teaching pottery involves him screaming at his students and working them to the bone, and then having them smash their finished crafts and forcing them to start all over again, repeated over and over. By the end of his episode even he's exhausted by his method.
  • An early episode of Pokémon guest-stars a trainer like this, which pisses Ash off—until he sees that the trainer really does care for his 'mons.
  • The Phys Ed teacher in Shakugan no Shana. Subverted: not only does his attempt to break Shana fail miserably, she ends up breaking him.

    Comic Books 
  • Futurama: One issue has the main trio tricked into attending high school. Fry runs afoul of the school's coach, Mr. Deltoid, who forces the flabby, unathletic Fry into doing repeated runs day and night after the students trick Fry into pressing his Berserk Button (namely, students exercising on their own initiative).
  • Kunskapens Korridorer: Olle Barsk is a downplayed example. He can be rather mean to his students, especially if they're not very good at PE. And he can also be a sexist jerk against the female teachers at times. But he can't really hurt anybody, and he will be the butt of many jokes.
  • Wolverine acts like this on the occasions when he's put in charge of training new X-Men. This includes actually attacking them with his claws out during combat training (he's careful not to actually injure them, but it's still terrifying for them and has a tendency to result in him being on the receiving end of Amusing Injuries).

    Comic Strips 
  • Coach John from Big Nate is the pure epitome of this.
  • In October 2013, Curtis gets a new gym coach named Coach Otlowski who seems like this. His language seems to be a PG-rated parody of actual cussing, saying things like, "I've been hired to sweat some chubbery off you oversized junior couch potatoes!". ("Good thing he wasn't hired to be the new English teacher!" muses Curtis.)
  • Miss Rockbottom from FoxTrot is Paige's Physical Education teacher. Despite appearing to be somewhat overweight herself, she is depicted as being very strict, once assigning more than 500 laps around the school track.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Carrie (1976): The gym teacher Miss Collins is portrayed as a Reasonable Authority Figure otherwise, especially when she's dealing with Carrie, but it's a wholly different story when she's punishing the girls who viciously bullied Carrie in the school showers. As punishment for their actions, she subjects them to a week's detention with her after school, under threat of being barred from the prom (which is what she originally wanted to do before the principal vetoed it) if they refuse. There, she proceeds to subject them to an hour of boot camp every day, which eventually causes the Alpha Bitch Chris to slap her.
  • The football coach played by Robert Patrick in The Faculty, at least before he gets mind-controlled by aliens. Afterwards, he's just plain creepy.
  • In The Knowledge, Mr Burgess "the Vampire" is a deadpan drill sergeant nasty, going to great lengths to make candidates feel uneasy.
  • 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.
  • Coach Schneider from A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 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.
  • In Remember the Titans, Coach Boone adopts this attitude to force his players to get over their prejudice.
  • R. Lee Ermey plays an actual coach in Saving Silverman.
  • Serial Killing 4 Dummys: Mr. Grimaldi is the gym coach version: ex-military from the Deep South who treats his students like they are new recruits in boot camp. He is also a Serial Killer.
  • Coach Dinklage (played by Vinnie Jones) in She's the Man starts out as one of these but turns out to be a pretty okay guy in the end, especially when he defends Viola's right to play soccer with the boys based on the fact that gender discrimination is wrong.
  • Varsity Blues has Coach Kilmer in his pursuit of yet another championship season.
  • Whiplash features a variation - Terence Fletcher definitely qualifies and has a vocabulary of vicious insults and physical intimidation methods to rival many of the military examples above, but he's a band director, not a coach or drill sergeant. His hostilities eventually drive one former ace student to suicide. Unlike many of the other examples on this list, Fletcher is shown to be a vicious bully and the main villain of the film.

  • The Asterisk War: In volume 2/anime episodes 5-7, Kouichirou Toudou acts as manager and fight trainer to his thirteen-year-old niece Kirin Toudou. He's emotionally and physically abusive, tells Kirin that his methods are the only way to release her father Seijirou (who was unjustly detained for a Crime of Self-Defense), and is mostly just using her as an Unwitting Pawn to further his career in Galaxy. Ayato Amagiri calls out Kouichirou on his actions, however, and over the course of the arc she agrees she needs to kick Kouichirou of her life in order to improve. Kouchirou decides to atone for his misdeeds by the time of volume 11.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw had Greg’s soccer coach, Coach Litch, whom Greg describes as the worst out of all the coaches (of course, Greg and his teammates’ shenanigans weren’t helping much). In fact, he’s the reason Rodrick doesn’t do sports anymore.
  • Discworld:
    • 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.
    • The sports mistress at the Quirm College for Young Ladies in Soul Music is Iron Lily, who is rumoured to lift weights with her teeth and who runs down the touchline screaming "Get some ball, you bunch of soft nellies!" When Susan meets a Valkyrie, she's struck by the resemblance.
  • 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 Miss Nelson Has a Field Day, Miss Nelson makes use of her Viola Swamp persona to whip the school's football team into shape in time for the big game.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Bad Education: the school ends up with a South African PE master, Mr du Plessis. Among other things, he devises an assault course along South African Defence Forces lines. And wants to bring in Rottweiler and Ridgeback attack dogs to encourage the fat kids to move more quickly.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Glee:
    • Sue Sylvester, cheerleading coach from hell. "You think ''this'' is hard? Try being waterboarded! That's hard!"
    • In the fourth season, her expy, the NYADA dance instructor Cassandra July. "Welcome to Dance 101, freshmen. Maybe two people in this class have what it takes to make it on Broadway. To the rest of you, thank you for paying for my loft in Soho. And if you don't have body dysmorphic disorder in a month, you're not trying hard enough."
  • Douglas Diggleby, PE master in The '70s nostalgia-fest comedy-drama, The Grimleys. He is all too familiar to anyone who attended a British school, of any kind, in the 1970s. A PE master with favourites among the sporty and who despises "the fat, sick, lame and lazy." (i.e., everyone else).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Odd Squad: Coach O, the sole agent in the Athletics and Conflict Resolution department at Precinct 13579, speaks in a gruff and commanding voice and has absolutely No Indoor Voice whatsoever. Although he often gets his sports teams mixed up with regular Investigation agents who are in the midst of conflict due to his horrible memory, that doesn't make him any less threatening, and he manages to unnerve most everyone he interacts with. His debut episode, "Put Me In, Coach", has him putting Olympia, Otis, Orielle, and Oriele (trying to figure out who gets to deliver a power orb to the ruler of Cloud Town) through enough hell that they all collectively agree the entire ordeal is a nightmare.
  • Pixelface: Kiki becomes the coach version of this when she starts teaching the other characters aerobics in "Bling My Droid".
  • Shortland Street did this with a psychotic rugby coach in 2009.note 
  • 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 II 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...
  • In The Wonder Years, Coach Cutlip yells at his middle-school gym—ahem, physical education students as if they were military recruits, sucks the fun out of basketball by being too much of a stickler for strategy and technique, and doesn't hesitate to mention that he has a steel plate in his head.

    Tabletop Games 
  • You know the commissars mentioned on the Warhammer 40,000 tab just above? The ones who keep soldiers in line through sheer terror? With that in mind, just try to imagine how scary the Drill Abbots who train commissars are. They're arms training staff at the Schola Progenium, making them the setting's equivalent to gym teacher at a Boarding School of Horrors.

    Video Games 
  • 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 WW2 battlefield. If you go into his mind again after picking up the Cobweb Duster, you can uncover a long-since tucked away memory revealing that he was rejected by every single branch of the military (including the catering corps) and never actually served in combat. This memory is especially interesting as it's in such direct contrast with the (clearly fictitious) "war hero memory" he proudly showed off 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. His team-up attack, the Nekketsu Guts Cannon, has him turn the other half of the team into a makeshift energy cannon... by pummeling them in the back with his shinai (bamboo training sword) until they relent and fire. They even bow to him afterwards!
  • In Yo-Kai Watch, Sgt. Burly (it's in the name) is an exercise coach/personal trainer who dresses in olive drab workout clothes and shouts motivation at those he's training. However, he's shown to actually be a very nice guy who really does care about helping people get fit, and as a result, his services are extremely popular.

    Web Animation 
  • One RWBY Chibi skit features Nora as this, as she forces Ruby, Blake, and Yang through rather extensive exercises — as a warm-up before the real workout, a practice that put Pyrrha's arm in a sling, Ren in a neck brace and arm sling, and Jaune in a body-cast.

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

    Web Videos 
  • In later episodes of Noob, Saphir is seen asking her guild's new recruit to do menial tasks that include the inventory of the guild's vault, but also training him. It's, however, a little hard to tell if it's a milder version of the trope or because the guy not only skipped the guild's drastic recruitment procedure (that is basically Saphir deciding who can enter or not) but happens to be someone she hates.


The South Essex

In ''Sharpe's Regiment'', a newly minted Captain Sharpe infiltrates the South Essex' boot camp as an anonymous recruit to weed out corrupt officers, experiencing their vile and sadistic drilling practices first-hand.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / BootCampEpisode

Media sources: