Our Marine Brotherhood
Though it's been thirty years that I retired as a Marine I found my Platoon 3331 year book, secondly it's been fifty years come September that I as you and counts of thousands after us arrived to challenge our body, mind and spirit and to having it broken down so that we could be taught courage, poise, self-confidence and pride of belonging to the worlds finest by earning the title Marine that no one can take from us. These words written at the side entrance to the Receiving Barracks do represent our fighting spirit as a Team and Our Marine Brotherhood.
Can You Pick Out The Marine?
Can you find the Marine in this photo who has an attitude?
Our Drill Instructor Was Creative
In Boot Camp our drill instructor was creative - he appointed one Jewish Marine - one Catholic Marine - and one Protestant Marine - to be his Advisory Board to make decisions! It was in essence Blasphemy - but - Hey! it released tension for the Platoon. He would say I need to see the 3 wise men immediately - and the three would run to the post they were told to go to. If someone screwed up - which was all the time - they would listen and the DI would ask them what they should do? Needless to say they were abused in a comical way - and when we laughed we all had bends and thrusts - duck walking - and a host of other exercises to do - like push-ups, sit-ups, and a few other exhausting things that the DI would think up.
One Marine was called the Series Sea Lawyer - and the Series had one usually a Sh-t B-rd assigned to this detail - as well as each platoon had a screw-up assigned a humorous moniker - when the Series got together and the one DI in each platoon who loved to torture us all had duty - it was the perfect storm so to speak - we had no chance to survive - as these clowns were definitely - no common sense recruits - and they reacted like Gomer Pyle would with tainted logic - we laughed at the stupidity and we suffered. (But it was a learning curve with no right answer.) Most of the questions we were asked were doubled edged answers - and we were never going to win - but we learned to think a lot better!
The DI's were a lot smarter than us - and the few recruits who thought that they were smarter than the DI suffered - and sometimes we all were in the same boat. Ergo, the DI and the Marine Corps had a limited amount of time to train you to work together as one unit - and especially encouraged the few Marines in each platoon to think correctly to benefit the whole bunch of us. I remember one or two Marines who were natural leaders - and squared away - and always comprehended what the DI wanted us to do - and they weren't smug or pompous - but had the common sense - not like most of the recruits.
What I am saying is - you have to get along with your fellow Marines and pull together - even if you did not respect the guy next to you - it was a lesson in survival. When we finally got to our respective Duty Stations we choose our friends from the new people we were surrounded with.
In boot camp, some Marines came from broken homes - some were abused - some were neglected - some never had 3 meals a day - not all of us were fortunate to live with love and care by whomever raised us. And after Boot Camp we were United States Marines - and we had Pride and believed in ourselves.
Some towed the line and we were proud to serve with them - and some let the demons of the past come out - if they were surrounded by caring Marines - we talked a lot about who we were and what we left behind. Some Marines sent most of the paycheck home to members of the family in need. Once a week at Cherry Point I went out to eat - and one day I asked a fellow Marine if he wanted to come with us - he declined with some lame excuse - and I found out he was sending money to his family - that was really in need - the next week I took him out with us and paid for him. I was not rich - but sometimes you did things that seemed like the right thing to do.
Sorry to go on and on but most of the ones who read this will agree with me.
Cpl USMC 1963-1967
Smallest Units In The Marine Corps
When it came to assignments in the Corps I never caught much of a break. Out of boot camp I got Aviation Ordnance School. (not many civilian uses for that knowledge). I finished 2nd in the class but never used the skills. When I made my 1st muster with H&MS-24 at Cherry Pt., the Capt. asked if anyone could type. I meekly raised my hand and spent much of the rest of my time in the Corps as an ordnance clerk. When MAG-24 was moving to Hawaii in the Spring of '68, I put in to join them. While waiting for orders there, I became a replacement for a Marine who's dad was already in 'Nam and told his son to refuse the orders. Good by Hawaii, hello Vietnam and with half the normal leave time as the orders had already been cut. When returning from 'Nam, my buddies and I put in for every west coast duty station we knew of. They got El Toro and I went back to CP. A couple of months back and I finally got a break. I was offered a TAD assignment to NS Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. This had not been considered great duty. I guess I was just the right guy, at the right time with the right group there.
Detachment 6, 2nd MAW for most of my 7 months there consisted of 7 salty short time Vietnam vet Sgts. and Cpls., a cool Gunny, and a rarely present 2nd Lt. DET 6 was a support unit for squadrons that deployed to PR for tactical training. (only 1 came down while I was there). We consisted of a motor pool with about 10 jeeps, a couple of 6x6's, and my M-60 crane and bomb trailers, and a flight line trailer where we manifested and supported the 2 weekly round trip Mar Log flights from CP to GTMO to Rosy and back. Our duties averaged a couple of hours a day with lots of free time. I learned to sail and scuba dive as well as working on my already acquired skills in tennis, golf and basketball. We could also take the jeeps to several authorized locations on the island, but we saw that as more of a guideline than a rule. It was pretty much a paid vacation from Oct. '69 to May '70. Also, a lot of young ladies from the Northeast vacation there in winter and were happy to have a couple of crazy Marines with jeeps to escort them around the island. Many great times and memories. I can't find any record of the existence of DET 6 on military sites. If anyone knows of or served in DET 6, I would love to here about it.
Sgt. Eric Tipton 1966-1970
Entrance Marked Fire Water
Remembering a funny happening from Camp Matthews in Nov. of 1959. Some may remember that each tent had a red bucket attached to the wood entrance marked "Fire Water". Well, the recruits tent next to ours had a bucket, but it was rusted out and had a hole in it thereby making it useless for what it was intended.
One of those enterprising young recruits thought why not go over to the other platoon area ran by a Sgt. Bouknight and make an unauthorized requisition of a serviceable unit. Unfortunately, this didn't go over so well and he was quickly apprehended by none other than the meanest DI in our whole company, Sgt. Bouknight.
It was just a coincidence that he or one of the recruits had in their possession a real, live California rattlesnake that they had just caught, along with this newly captured recruit from my platoon. He was made to stand at attention astride his "unserviceable" red bucket while the DI held the snake to his chin, and he was singing to the tune of - my buckets got a hole in it, "The privates buckets got a hole in it, The privates buckets got a hole in it" at the top of his lungs. And I understand there was some sweat pouring off of this recruit for about fifteen minutes while all this was going on. I'm sure he received no further punishment from our DI as that would have been double jeopardy. It was funny, but apparently not to him.
D. McKee, Cpl. '59-'65
Two Recruits Diddy Bopping
Two stories related to boot camp.
I was in Platoon 2108 in the Summer of '69. One of the other platoons in our series had battalion guard so they were walking posts outdoors. One night a recruit sailor from the Navy boot camp decided he had enough. It was just too tough for him or he thought. He climbed over the wrong fence and ended up in MCRD. MCRD SD is between Navy boot and Lindberg Field, San Diego's airport. Every once in a while a Navy recruit goes UA over the wrong fence. I heard that the Marine Corps and Navy had a deal where the platoon who caught a UA recruit sailor got to keep him for a week. He was issued utilities, and went through training just like we were doing. Of course he was a "special case" so the DI's had a bunch of fun. The Marine Corps would notify the Navy they had one of their turds. The Navy liked this since when the recruit sailor was returned he would tell everyone within hearing what was done to him. The incidents of UA recruits would drop considerably for a couple of months until the next one would jump over the wrong fence. I didn't realize Navy boot camp could be so tough that you had to spend a week with Marine boot camp to know how easy you had it.
Later on in the Fall of '69 I was in Field Radio School at MCRD SD. We lived in the Arcade along the north edge of the main grinder. One evening 3 or 4 of us were going on liberty in civvies. When we reached the bottom of the ladder we noticed about 4 men in civvies and a couple of recruits between them cutting across the grinder. This was a big no-no. So we stopped to see what was going on. When the other group met us the men in civvies said they were in electronics technician school across the grinder. They were on their way for liberty when they saw
these two recruits diddy bopping down the middle of the grinder. When they were apprehended, these recruits told a tall story how they had just finished "12 weeks of very hard Marine Corps boot camp" and were on their way to go on leave. When asked where their leave uniform was the recruits said it was in the sea bag they were carrying. The way they were dressed, they had been in boot about 24 hours or so. Freshly shaved heads, very wrinkled utility trousers, gray sweatshirts, and tennis shoes. These recruits didn't realize we were all Marines. Ironically
they were headed towards the main gate behind base Hq. When we started to escort them to the MP shack, somebody saw a MP truck driving towards us. We flagged it down and gave the recruits to the MP's with the story. After they were in the bed of the truck, one of the recruits started to say something and one of the MP's used the step side to come up to the recruits level and gave him a good reason, right in the chest, to sit down and shut up! When we walked by the MP shack on our way off base we could see in the window these two recruits standing at attention with their noses against the wall. As you can imagine, you wouldn't want to be in these recruits tennis shoes when their DI's got a hold of them.
Cpl, USMC, 1969-73
The Senior Drill Instructor
We had a drill instructor in boot camp named SSgt. Knutson. He was the senior drill instructor. This was in the Summer of 1969. He was very, very funny... at least to me. I already had a B.S. degree in education and was from Texas. I served as the platoon secretary and the pharmacist as I had been a pharmaceutical detain man before joining the Corps. Everyone knows what happens when you smile or broke any facial expression other than looking straight ahead. Well one morning, the first week of boot camp SSgt. Knutson sent a private to check the toilet, not in those exact words. The private yelled back, "Sir, the toilet is clear - Sir!" We all charged the toilet. We had enough time to take a leak and then go to the door to leave the toilet. SSgt. Knutson said to clear the toilet. Well a private Halverson thought he would have time to take a seat and do a #2. Knutson goes into the toilet and said private I said clear the toilet. Halverson's trousers and skivvies were around his ankles. Knutson grabbed a broom and started beating the private severely above the head and shoulders. I was where my peripheral vision allowed me to see all this happening. I had an unbelievable time trying not to crack a smile. I still visualize that 47 years later.
Sgt. Richard Hunt
1st Marine Div.
Viet Nam '69-'71
We Did PT Until TAPS
Platoon 277, November of 1965 - next to last week of boot camp we were on mess duty. I was assigned to the pot shack and we were close to the bake shack. One of our fellow platoon members managed to 'appropriate' a full sheet tray of cake. Needless to say it was consumed quickly by everyone in our area. When our platoon commander SSgt Elmore arrived to pick us up around 2100 and take us home we quickly got in formation and began the march back to our Quonset huts in Echo Company, smiling inwardly that we managed to get away with it. We knew we were in trouble when we got close to the wash racks and were given the command to "column left, march!" towards the sand pits. Upon arrival SSgt Elmore grinned and barked out: "You girls thought you got away with eating all that cake, didn't you? Didn't I tell you I have snipes everywhere?" We did PT until TAPS.
MSgt Gene Hays
Glory To The Corps
Some time in October or November of 1952, we of Plt. 529, 2d RctBn had been at Parris island for about five or six weeks. It seemed that marching had become a way of life so firmly drilled into our lives (no pun intended) that it would be an automatic function when moving from point A to point B. I swear we woke up around 0500 every day for our first month and marched until long after the sun sat in the west. At least it seemed like that. In any event, marching in step became "the way of life" for the movement of troops.
Leaving the messhall to return to our barracks (the old wooden ones) one day, I blacked out. I was out like a light for a short time but evidently never missed a step. Why I blacked out I don't know, but I did hear the cadence. Had I missed a step, our Sr. DI, SSgt W. S. Johnson, would certainly have seen me since he had the eyes of every eagle in America. I've always wondered to this day, some 64 years later, how far I walked in the dark that day.
I guess all that drilling SSgt Johnson had us doing was beneficial as we graduated in December of 1952 as Post Honor Platoon. Incidentally, I contacted SSgt Johnson, now First Sgt. Johnson (Ret.) about four years ago and made a special trip from Georgia to Iowa to meet him in person and thanked him profusely and from the bottom of my heart for all he did to and for us during those super rigorous days of boot camp. He now calls me every 10 Nov. to wish me a Happy Birthday. Thank you SSgt Johnson, a Semper Fi to you Sir and Glory to the Corps!
Sgt. 1952 - 1958
Not Playing With A Full Deck
I arrived at MCRD San Diego on 6 June 2000. My platoon was greeted by two of the largest and meanest Drill Instructors I had ever seen... this was to change in a few days when we left the Receiving Barracks and were handed over to our rabbid Senior Drill Instructor SSgt Kyles, and his ferocious pitbulls, JDI SSgt Boykin, JDI SSgt Krause, and JDI Sgt Alcarez. Since we all know how the initial days of Boot Camp begins... I will spare you details of my experience.
Fast Forward to the third week of training... By this point you kind of know each of your fellow recruits a bit better, as well as who your natural born leaders are, who your PT studs are, who will live and die on the quarterdeck, and most importantly - who is not playing with a full deck. The less than a full deck recruit - every platoon has at least one, maybe two, and if your platoon has three - you are sure to be the strongest, most fit recruits on the depot from all of the time you will spend doing what they have coined as "getting smoked".
Our two recruits were named Lopez and Krichon. Lopez was lost from day one. He was the guy that made you wonder how he ever passed the ASVAB. One night, while we were all in the rack - dreaming to the music of shower shoes going back and forth to the head, Lopez decided to do the unthinkable that would not be realized until the following morning. 0515 - SSgt Boykins is pacing through the squad bay firmly telling his rack dreaming recruits that when the lights come on we are going to be moving like lightining to get on-line, count-off, make our racks, get dressed, and hydrate for the day's activities by downing three full canteens. 0530 - LIGHTS! LIGHTS! LIGHTS! As you guessed it, we moved like lighting through orders 1, 2, 3, and 4... then came the good stuff! One canteen down, two canteens down, and then it happened... SSgt Boykin realized that all 71 recruits were hydrating as ordered except for recruit Lopez. SSgt Boykin centers himself on Lopez and inquires as to why he is not following the orders he was given. If you have a weak stomach, you might want to skip to the next paragraph now. Recruit Lopez replies, "This recruit was afraid to go to the head last night, so this recruit p-ssed in his canteen..." Never in my life have I ever felt like laughing and throwing up so much at the same time... but I dared not do either with out the DI's permission.
Now on to recruit Krichon. He was a timid soul. The JDI's had it out for him from day one. He lived and died each day on the quarterdeck. He hated the JDI's and deep down inside I think that they felt the same way about him. He reminded us a lot of private Pyle from "Full Metal Jacket". One day he finally decided to let one of the JDI's, SSgt Krause, know just how he felt. We were at Camp Pendleton, and we were cleaning our rifles in preparation for checking them into the armory. Since we were a week and a half from graduating, While cleaning our rifles to perfection, SSgt Krause asked Krichon if he had a girlfriend back home - to which he replied, "Yes, Sir!" He then asked, "Well, is she going to come and see you graduate?" Krichon again replied, "Yes, Sir". Upping the ante, SSgt Krause asked, "So are you going to introduce her to me after graduation?" Recruit Krichon replied, "No, Sir." Instantaneously the entire platoons eyeballs raised to see what would happen next. SSgt Krause asks, "Why not, (with a devilish grin on his face), I'm a really nice guy?" Now let me warn you, I cannot make the sh-t up. Recruit Krichon says, "Because, I don't like you, Sir!" Needless to say we all got a good, hearty laugh out of his reply, SSgt Krause and the entire platoon. Not to mention, that SSgt Krause got the last laugh when we all got taken to the pit with our newly cleaned rifles, got smoked, and then came back into the squad bay to start cleaning them all over again. Moral of this story is to never think that just because you are so close to graduation that it is okay to lose your bearing or that there will be no painful consequences for your smart azs remarks.
Semper Fi Brothers and Sisters!
Plt 2070, H Co
I Started Yelling And Screaming
My first assignment back about '56 after having made "Gunny" was to an Infantry Battalion. I reported in to the Sgt. Major who advised me that I had to go to Pickle Meadows for cold weather training. I quickly advised him no way in H-ll was I going for training having been at the Chosen Reservoir - I had all the job training necessary. He accepted that (I did go later as part of a Battalion Exercise) assigned me to a company, the companies where billeted in rows one above the other. I reported to the Company Commander who advised me that one of the platoons had failed the company inspection the previous day and suggested I go check them out and make sure they were ready for his forth-coming re-inspection. As I walked into the platoon area the guys where all flopped out on their bunks. I started yelling and screaming - soon had them all out picking up butts, sweeping the street etc. After a bit, a young PFC came up to me and said "Sarge" I think your company is up there - meaning the next level up. I replied, this area is a dump keep cleaning and headed up to my company area with a very red face.
In Proper Military Fashion
In late July or early August of 1964, myself and two other Marines were in HAWK Missile CW Radar school at Fort Bliss, Texas. My best friend and I had done something bold and inadvisable that had resulted in a "request" for our presence in the office of the Army Captain who was in charge of the barracks. Tom and I marched into his office, snapped to and reported in proper military fashion. "Sir, PFCs Downen and Arvoy reporting as ordered". The Captain looks at us and says in a rather sarcastic manner, "Don't Marines salute a superior officer?" Never having been a shrinking violet and having no filter on my mouth, I responded "Sir, Marines do not salute when uncovered and never wear a cover indoors unless under arms." (or words to that affect. Gimme a break. It's been 52 years.) The Captain didn't seem to know quite what to think of that so he just grunted and got to the business for which we had been summoned. We (PFCs) had taken over an unused two man room, cleaned it up and moved in without asking permission. (we had been living in the open squad bay with the rest of the enlisted personnel) The Captain decided that since we were already in there, we might as well stay. Surprised the h-ll out of me but stay we did. The Army SFC (E-7) that was senior man in our class, laughed his azs off. He was a good head. I think he liked it when we called him Gunny.
Oderint dum metuant
"Let them hate, so long as they fear."
Fill Us In On The Details
Here's our ITR photo 1968. We had 1 Marine that lost his cover on the way to have photo taken. You can see him under the bleachers with his helmet on. Can't remember who he was. Maybe he will see this and fill us in on the details.
Paul Lindner I have info on Pvt. Michael DiRienzo enlistment date 7Dec21. You can contact me at email@example.com
I was in platoon 196 in 1957. After chow one evening our JDI had us doing close order drill. He was yelling, "keep your butt down, no your kanting it", and all the rest of the drill.
We had a Private named Fee and he was marching along, when the JDI yelled out "down on your butt private!" Private fee commenced to sit down on the ground. We couldn't help but laugh, including the JDI. I don't remember getting yelled at for laughing. Just couldn't help it. That was one of the few times we laughed in all of the thirteen weeks. Not long after that little episode the JDI disappeared, never to be heard from again.
One of our Drill Instructors spotted a private dancing in the butts during firing practice accompanied by "ditty bop" music. The range personnel had an old drive-in movie speaker rigged up in the butts. The Drill Instructor asked the private if he liked ditty bop, the private said "sir, yes sir!" At that, the Drill Instructor had the private dancing on the walkway in the butts for the rest of the day non-stop. That was the last time for ditty bop at the range for any of us.
Platoon 105 in 1963 at Camp Matthews.
Sgt Mike 1963-67, RVN 1966-67
It's been 50 years, so I don't remember if I observed this or if someone told me about it. None the less, from my four years, it is the best. The story goes, a private answers the phone in a less than military manner. The angry voice on the other end immediately asks to speak to his superior. The private then says, "I have no superior and d-mn few equals!", hung up the phone, and made a hasty retreat to another part of the area. I have waited in vain all these years for someone to ask to speak to my superior, but so far it hasn't happened. But like all good marines, I am ready if it does!
Dale R. Rueber
Sgt. of Marines
I was in Plt 307 from 1/69-3/69. My SDI was S/SGT Brown, ADI SGT J. I. Justice, and SGT R. F. Pornavetts. SGT Justice's favorite saying was "pain has no memory". SGT Pornavetts saying was (I will tell you, no one in the platoon slept well when he said this) "THE BLACK GLOVE WILL STRIKE TONIGHT". Still get nightmares on that one.
Semper Fi, Marines.
Sgt AJ Manos 1/69-1/72
In reference to your call for terms of endearment whilst in the Corps, the following are the ones I remember from boot camp, MCRD San Diego:
Maggots, ladies, slimy, slimy-d-ck privates, and my personal favorite, needle-d-ck the bug f-cker.
On active duty we referred to ourselves and each other as gyrenes and crotch critters; I don't ever recall referring to each other as jarheads though.
Semper Fi Marines,
Cpl Dickerson 1969-1971
One hot August day our OCS Platoon Sgt was off somewhere and left the Sgt Instructor in charge. I guess we somehow 'disappointed' him and when we got back to the squad bay he addressed the platoon with comments: You g..damn ladies g..damn embarrassed g..damn me, the g..damn platoon, the g..damn company, my Marine Corps, in front of God, Moses, and all them other m..... f...ers! I guess he was not happy.
When I was in Boot Camp, at Parris Island, I was in Plt. 138, 3rd Bat. I was standing at the end of my rack and I was reading how to stand at attention - Sgt.Campbell, my Sr. DI asked me what I was doing, I told him I was readimg this piece of paper. Next thing I knew was the whack up the side of my head and I snapped to attention real quick.
I don't know if Ron Goodrich (Newsletter, 8/24/16) was referring to my request for funny boot camp stories or not when he submitted his stories to Sgt. Grit but, if so, please submit them directly to me at bootcampstories3[at]gmail[dot]com. Also be sure to include, Platoon number, date of enlistment, duty station (Parris Island/San Diego) and boot camp blues photo if possible. I have accumulated over 75 stories in a manuscript that is currently under consideration by a publisher. I can still add stories right up to having to finalize the manuscript. If you want to see your story and photo published in a very funny book hit me up quickly. This project has been a joy for this old jarhead and I hope to bring a lot of laughs and memories to my fellow Marines. Only the real names of contributors will be used, not the other subjects of the story and nothing derogatory to the Corps accepted. No problem with salty language as it is sometimes central to a story.
March 6, 1958
Some Boot Camp tales are better left unsaid.
Per Former Sgt. Ted Shimono, I stand partly corrected, I shortened the title to VA Representive, should have been VA National Cemetery Staff and yes they are always present at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.
Calling all really "old salts":
Pictures of Marines through WWII show the cover cocked slightly to the right. What is the story behind this, and when did it stop? (It wasn't allowed in '57.)
Abrams Tank upgrades will give Marines 'Killer Edge'!
See more at - DoD Buzz
In re to Ram Two comment:
Item (c)... "when ordered by a VA representative present." When did you ever see a VA representative present at a funeral. My fellow brother Marine on the RNC Honor Guard, tells me he has never seen a VA rep at ANY military funeral. Just getting the facts straight.
Sgt Ted Shimono USMC ('59-'68)
As a member of the NE Oklahoma Patriot Guard Riders, we are often invited by the family of a military hero to escort to and/or stand a Flag Line at the VA Cemetery, Ft. Gibson. OK. There are up to five services each weekday and a VA Rep attends each and every one. On the first Wednesday of every month, there is a No One Attending Memorial Service for the Veterans laid to rest the previous month, that had no one attending their services. (There are many reasons no one can attend.) The office is closed and all the VA Reps attend the service. The cemetery crew is given time off to attend, also.
JJ "Devil Dog" Moss
Ride Captain PGR NE OK
Best of Chesty:
"All right, Marines! Remember who you are. Nobody ever fought with a better outfit. We're going to get on the beach, and get on some warm ships and eat hot food and get showers. Then we'll fight somewhere again. You're the First Marine Division!"
--Marine: The Life of Chesty Puller, page 5
"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty."
--Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Philip Mazzei 
"Come on you son's of b-tches, do you want to live forever?"
--SgtMaj Dan Daly
"That said, there are some azsholes in the world that just need to be shot. There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, cunning, obedience and alertness, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim. It's really a h-ll of a lot of fun. You're gonna have a blast out here!"
--Gen James N. Mattis
"No One Likes to Fight, But Someone Should Know How."
"Save Water, Shower With A Marine."
"Good Night Chesty, Wherever You Are!"
Semper Fi Marines,