Bound and Determined

Bound and Determined

It was in the late summer or early fall of 1963, when at the age of 17, I got my parents to sign the consent form needed to enlist in the Marine Corps. With the consent form and pocket full of promises from the local recruiter I went down to Whitehall Street in lower Manhattan, NY to join up.
During my physical exam the Army doctor, who looked like he was about 80 years old, mixed up my paper work with the poor guy standing next to me. This guy had rheumatic fever as a child and should have been classified 4-F.Unfortunately he got my 1-A classification and I got the 4-F classification.
I was not a happy camper! To let everyone know they made a big mistake I shouted, cursed and threatened everyone around me until I was given the “bum’s rush” and escorted out the door.
Not willing to give up my quest to join the Marine Corps, I waited about two months and went to a different recruiter and started the process all over again. Remember this was the pre-computer days and you could get away with it.
On the day of my physical exam I had a different doctor. I passed the exam without a problem. As I was mentally congratulating myself I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and was stating at a chest full of ribbons. I’m 6”1” but I had to look up about six inches to see a face that belonged to a very large MP. Behind him was an even larger MP. I was informed that I was about to be arrested for fraudulent enlistment. Of course I denied I was ever there before and tried to convince them they were mistaking me for someone else. One of the MP’s laughed and said that I made such a big stink he actually put a photo of me on his wall in the MP office.
After some desperate negotiations on my part the OIC at Whitehall Street told me to come back at 7:30 AM the next morning with an overnight bag. He told me I was going to be shipped over to Governor’s Island for a series of exams to see if I would pass a more stringent physical exam.
The next morning I boarded a ferry boat to Governor’s Island. There were twelve passengers going for physicals. Eleven of them were trying to get out of the Army and I was trying to get into the Marine Corps. I never regretted getting on that ferry boat.
Fast forward from that point on….I went to Parris Island in the first week of January 1964….made PFC out of Boot Camp…..and was attached to the one of the first combat units into Vietnam- 1st Battalion 3rd Marines in 1965.

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18 thoughts on “Bound and Determined”

    1. I had a good friend who from 11th grade on wanted nothing more than to become a MARINE. Larry took the physical and flunked. He tried again a few months later flunked again. He said he would sign a waver they said no. I just had breakfast with Larry a few weeks ago. We are both 69 years old and he told me to this day that is the biggest let downs of his life not getting into the MARINE CORP.

      1. I fear our USMC will become victim to politic correctness and our high standards will be dumped to allow women in where only men need to be allowed.

  1. When I was 12 years old I had a stomach problem and lost 3 pints of blood internally. I went to enlist in the Marine Corps after being out of High School for about a year. I had had a big fight with my Father who was a retired Marine Major. When I took the physical, being honest, I put down what had been wrong with me when I was 12. I was classified 4F. I went home and my father sent me to Willmington, Ohio where my brother was stationed in the Army. He pulled some strings and got me in the Army. I served my time and
    got out. A year later I signed up for the Marine Corps because I had a honorable discharge. Of course I did not tell them about my stomach problem Served in Vietnam f967-68. I/3/9 Went on to make a career out of the Corps and retired as a First Sergeant. I wanted to be a Marine from the time I could walk and talk and I finally did it. Semper Fi

  2. Had to argue with doctors 45 minutes at the age of 17 back in April 1965. Completely flat footed from birth. Nearly maxed preenlistment test. Told me I was a cinch for air wing, never have to leave an air base. My immediate reply was to head for the door. Fortunately was convinced to turn around and served proudly and well as a 0311 with 2/4

  3. In 1959, (the year I went to The University of Parris Island), there was a form that had to be filled out about Your past and Your families past, (Thank You Joe McCarthy) ,, (sp) ,, to make a long story short, on the reverse side were all the outfits/societies you were not supposed to belong to , (including ALL of Your relatives). During WWll There were two parties in Greece. You were either Nazi or Communist. As I had Two Uncles in Greece during that time that Hated The Nazi party, they joined the other side. In order for me to join The United States Marine Corps, I had to be investigated by The F.B.I. (The first time) I pasted with flying colors. So ,, even back in those years, every thing came under strict guide lines. (The second time is a story for another time).

  4. I, somehow, passed my physical in Chicago with an uncorrected vision of 20/200 and was allowed by an Army Doctor to enlist in the Marine Corps in January, 1957. While at Camp Mathews’ rifle range about half-way through boot camp, I was having trouble even seeing the bull’s eye from the 500 yard line. My senior DI immediately took me back to MCRD for a real eye exam with a Navy Doctor. He was amazed that I was in boot camp and told me that I could just opt-out and go home. By that time, I had made too large an investment in becoming a Marine and I told the Doctor and my DI that wanted to finish boot camp if I could. They were both agreed and I eventually qualified as a marksman with a score of 182 (I think). I never regretted that decision to complete my training and become a Marine. When I eventually got to my unit, A/1/4, at Kaneohe Bay, Territory of Hawaii, several guys thought my dark rimmed glasses looked cool and got a pair with plain glass for themselves.

    1. BILL When I was give the eye test the doc said…”Read the Chart” and I said…” What chart?” He asked if I really wanted to join the Marines to which I said “yes”. He then guided me to the chart and took out an instrument that had a tiny hole in it and held in front of one eye and again told me to read the chart after reading it perfectly he tested the other eye and I read it perfectly. After I got to MCRD Paradise Island on August 15, 1054 a Navy Ophthalmologist examined my eyes and prescribed glasses. Several weeks later while at the rifle range and ready to shoot, for the first time, prone from the 200 yard line, my rifle Instructor was frustrated and nudged me with his foot . NO he didn’t kick me and asked why I wasn’t shooting. I told him that the target wasn’t up, whereupon he went slightly apesh*t and wanted to know where my glasses were, and went further ape when I told him that I hadn’t received them yet, most recruits receive them their first week. So we figured out a way that I could sight on the number board. I shot a 208, I’ve always wondered if that wasn’t a thirty caliber pencil used to mark the “Shot Spotter”. I got my glasses several weeks later after returning to “Mainside”. While walking back to the Platoon Huts I cried when I could see individual blades of grass for the first time while standing at full height. I had no idea that other people could do that. What an, “eye opening experience.”

  5. We had a guy in our boot camp platoon in late 1966 who had scoliosis. His spin was so bent he couldn’t get his shoulders straight. The major inspecting us at graduation tried to adjust his shoulders but they wouldn’t move. Still graduated. Then there was the guy with asthma who collapsed on the confidence course. He graduated too.

  6. Had a history of asthma and couldn’t see things at a distance well. Told them about it at exam in Oklahoma City in 1950. Someone in the clinic hollered at me. I said were you calling me? He said yes, and you just passed the hearing test. I was accepted into the Marines. Made it thru Boot Camp in San Diego, and ITR at Oceanside. Shipped out to Korea and almost died from an asthma attack in 1951. Navy Doctors and Corpsman couldn’t believe my condition. Shipped me back stateside with limited duties requirement. Made it for another year and was surveyed. I made it just barely. Wish I could have done a better job. I tried! I am proud to have been a Marine and would do it over again if needed.

  7. Since you did not sign a name…I will ask if you were with A 1/3 from Jan 66 -thru March 66. I got transferred there from A 1/4 Chu Lai around Christmas 65 Semper fi and ” Welcome Home ” Jerusalem Israel

  8. I joined the Corps in high school on the 120 delay program,join in school,at 17 ,then shipped out for Parris Island in August 1962. Graduated from boot camp and went to ITR at Camp Gieger. February 1963 reported to K/3/2 at Lejeune. 0311 for two years,then my next duty station was the Marine Barracks at Great Lakes. The Marines ran the Navy Brig, provided some security, and I got some choice duty in the district chaser unit at Great Lakes,we had 10 Marines, and we went out in two man teams and covered 13 States in the mid west. After an extension for VN I was discharged as a Cpl. In 1966. I met my Wife while a Great Lakes and we were married in June of 1967. I went to work for New England Telephone in December 1966. After a few years,I started to miss the Marines,so I went down to the nearest unit,and joined on a prior service contract and retained my rank as Cpl.. They sent me to a Navy Doctor for the physical,and since it was in between drills told me to see him at his private practice office. The physical was good until he checked my BP, and he said it was too high to enlist,I asked him if he could take it again, and he gave me a chit and said to see him at the next Drill weekend. I reported that weekend,and had the chit in my chest pocket,nobody said anything so I was set till the next annual. I kept that chit for 7 years, lied at every Physical,and left as a GYSGT in 1981.

    1. To GySgt. I was in the Marine Corps from 9/65 to 9/69 and except for Boot camp and before I went to Vietnam I never had a physical exam while I was in the Corps. Is this annual exam something new.

  9. My Dad signed for me to enlist in the delayed entry program in January 1972 while I was in high school. I was supposed to go to Hollywood in June, but had a motorcycle accident in late January that needed 2 steel pins in my left elbow. When we went in June to OKC to leave, they examined my elbow and I watched my buddies leave and I went back home. Ready for college, I asked to either take me or discharge me in late July. They took me and I turned 18 in Phase 2 boot camp. I did see my buddies at the chow hall a couple of times, but did not dare talk or even acknowledge them.

  10. You all need to get in contact with Jim Barber, former Marine with 3/5. He wrote a book about the funny things that happen in boot camp. Title of book “SH*TBIRD” How I learned to love the Corps. His email address is : The book is available now.

  11. In 1967, after two years of college party life, my guilt got the better of me and I begged my mom on blended knee to please sign the “sole surviving son” waiver so that I could enlist in my beloved Marine Corps. My childhood hero, Uncle “Tony Solis, had been a Marine since 1944. There was no way I was not going to enlist after hearing his stories while on leave year after year. Stories of the South Pacific battles, Korea battles and now Vietnam Nam battles! I can proudly boast of having served my four years while he was still serving his 30+ years. I never had the privilege of serving under him but we did share a few beers at the eclub at MCAS El Toro! I did attend a Christmas party at a reserve unit he was in charge of before his last tour of ‘Nam. We wore our dress greens. I came out of the bedroom proud of my Lance Corporal chevrons and there he stands with hash marks up and down his sleeves, Sgt. Major chevrons and ribbons and shooting badges that would make God’s jaw drop! I beamed with pride when he introduced me as his nephew to his men! He finally retired as Sgt. Major A.M. Solis in the mid 70’s.

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