Real Rifles At Parris Island

Diagram of an M-1 Garand

At Parris Island in August of 1960, we still had the “REAL” rifles (M1 Garands) with stacking swivels. The stacking swivel actually had two very important uses. Number one was to enable the weapon to be stored in the upright position when hooked to two other rifles in a “teepee”. The second was as a motivator as in “All right girls, gettum’ out by the stacking swivels”, which was used by our Drill Instructors when somebody was out of step in the platoon. On this command we had to hold the 9.5 pound weapon straight out from the body by the stacking swivel between the thumb and forefingers of both hands. On a hot August Parris Island grinder, it wasn’t long before the strongest among us was in serious pain trying to stay in an upright position. The stacking swivel was indeed a very important part of Marine Corps lore and the source of sea stories. I hated to see it go.

Cpl Norm Spilleth
’60 – ’64

7 thoughts on “Real Rifles At Parris Island”

  1. I am so glad there is a comment section here. Marine Spilleth, when did you arrive at PI. We were basically in at the exact same time. I arrived at PI on 1 July 60 and was assigned to Plt 257, 2nd Bn. I served from ’60-’64 as well, and also finished out as a Cpl. At Camp Lejuene I served as a radio (2531) and radio telegraph (Morse Code-2533) operator, in H&S Co, 2nd Bn, 6th Marines, 2nd MARDIV. I know I’m getting old when my MOS’s either one or both don’t even exist anymore. ( West Hartford, CT

  2. I arrived at PI April 26, 1961 was with the 3rd Bn. for a few days and was set back 2 wks. as I didn’t go to a class and stayed in the Barracks. Is went to Pl.125, 1st Bn. where I met 2 of my hometown friends I talked into joining the Corps. Oh Happy Day. I had my M1 Garand # 2728921 for 3 years and fired 221,223,and 227 then they gave a piece of doggy doo called theM14 and I dropped to 197. Got my Honorable Discharge at Camp LeJeune H/2/6 on July 29/1965. I had to make up some Brig Time in a Red Line Brig at Pearl Harbor. All said I would do it all over today but I guess this “Old Salt” is 73 and probably couldn’t walk from the Yellow Prints Reception to the 3rd Bn. We didn’t say OOH RAH back then but we did have a “Semper Fi”,Mac.

  3. Semper Fi Marines, your stories bring back memories that will never be seen again. I served from 3-61 through 3-67…..Platoon 117… P.I.S.C. with a 1924… service number. Originally from Flushing N.Y. The Corps was responsible for and shaped my life especially in later years. Still have my Graduation photo on my wall and remember all my D.I.’s as if it were yesterday. Stay Safe and continue with the stories….Rich G……

  4. Semper Fi Marine Corps strong,I was in PI in 1975 we had the m16’s but stillh ad it bad there,but not anymore they say that it’s a walk in the park,there is no longer a motivation camp to go through if you’re gettingo it of line ,they are not event throwing gernades there anymore

  5. At Parris island 1965 and we where issued the M-14’s [Good Rifle] when we went to Camp Gieger for Infantry Training we where issued the M-1 Garand’s another long shot rifle however the 14’s had a 20 round clip and I believe the M-1’s had 8.

  6. The M-1 was very good rifle. Mine was an H&R (4669737) that stayed with me for three years, from 1954 – 1957. I was in Plt 464, A Co, 1st Bn, until the rifle range where I got pneumonia. Handed my rifle to the DI at the 500, got into an ambulance to the Beaufort Naval Hospital, rejoined & graduated with Plt 467. Went by troop movement to Geiger, so my rifle stayed with me. Everybody in my squad fired rifle grenades using my rifle. It was dropped and filled with sand which I shook out during a live firing problem – and it still worked! On to Quantico, again by troop movement so I still kept the rifle. Shot expert regularly and I fired on the Quantico rifle team, and at one match at Ft Meade, using the National Match ammo, was plonking in a steady stream of 5’s & V’s at 600 yards. One click of windage would put the rounds to either side of the V-ring. It was just an issue rifle, never got more than the normal ordnance checks before the range. It was one fine rifle and I wish I had it today. It was accurate and rugged. In my opinion the Marines should issue a rifle in boot camp and have the individual ‘own’ it as long as a rifle is their issue weapon.

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