I was TAD at the 29 Palms Base Training Tank in the summers of ’64 and ’65. I visited the base two years ago and the same training tank including the lifeguard office was still there, however, they had civilians working the facility. I worked as an instructor and lifeguard the first year and the second year I was in charge of all three pools (tank, officer’s pool and dependent’s pool for enlisted personnel). The reason for the name and strange size of the pool, we were told, was that an earlier base general had sought funds for an Olympic-size pool for the men but the funds were refused. So, he resubmitted a request for a base training tank and that was approved. However, when the plans were submitted and the pool was 50 meters (Olympic size) he was questioned again. So they added three meters to the plans so that the pool ended up being 53 meters long. I swam on the base swim team and when we had meets, the fifty-meter swims were always stopped short by a rope across the pool at the fifty meter mark. To make some of the reservist marines mad, when we ran overboard drills where the men had to practice jumping from the tower, we only made the reservists jump from 40 feet. This was because many of them would boast (at the EM club) of their great jobs and careers when they were off active duty and they thought we were dumb for being full-time Marines. Sometimes I would tell one of them, “You will see me again before you leave here.” However, Vietnam changed my duty in swim trunks to humping with 2-9 as an artillery Scout/F.O.
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