A Marine Can Fall to Sleep Anywhere

How often had you hear someone make that statement? Of course, most grunts
will tell you it’s true because you can never tell where you might stop and set
up in to a position or what you will find to sleep on. Am I right? Allow me to
share couple of examples of situation I found myself in. My friends these are
all true—my hand to God. So you know I’m being straight with you—right?

1) I’m station at Camp Lejeune, N.C. in 1969 with Fox Company, 2/2. Being a
PFC didn’t give me a whole of opportunities to avoid guard duty in and around
our area. It must of been in the spring because the night was very pleasant as I
remember it. I was on the midnight round walking my post in a military fashion
and trying to remember the general orders just in case anyone should happen by
and I wanted to make the next rank before my discharge date. No one did—ever!
I’m making all my necessary facing movement humping my M-14 just like I’m
supposed to. I turn a corner of the building that I’m guarding when I hit a wall
with my face. I manage to fall completely asleep and still walk almost half of
my post before a wall woke me up. I didn’t bother to say anything to the Sgt of
Guard. I was pretty sure he would not be happy about it. But I knew my General

2) I just got to VietNam and went through those three days at An Hoa learning
what was happening in the area (I’m not sure why they kept us those three days
before sending us out to the brush). So anyways, Golf Co. 2/5 was on road
security from An Hoa to Liberty Bridge. I was assign to the M-60 mortars and
share a tent with L/Cpl Hewitt. The very first night in the brush, the NVA/VC
set up a loudspeaker just outside a RVN compound right next to our position. For
those who don’t know, we were not the first country to use a loud noise against
someone. I guess they talked through most of the night—I’m not sure because I
slept the whole time and my new friend, Hewitt, was amaze by my indifference to
it all. To me it seem like a good way to get through this experience called
VietNam. “Just Keep Moving”

3) I’m still in VietNam and still very tired. We just settled down for the
night and for some reason I’m not on the line. Sometime during the night we
start getting hit with mortars and rockets. When it was all done, someone came
and pulled me out of my tent. They explained that they thought I had been killed
or wounded by the attack because I had managed to sleep through it all. They all
seem real concern for me at first but then got real mad at
me—wait?—-humm—were they glad I wasn’t killed or mad because I slept? Who
knows? I guess we all act different during a firefight (or sleep).

4) We’re on a float (Fox Co. 2/2) and participating in Jungle Survival
Training with the Green Beret. We didn’t really get along with them as you might
imagine. Anyways,they had us set up our campsite in an old river and assured us
that it was not due to rain anytime soon. There was rocks and other things you
would expect in a riverbed. We settled in for the night. Not sure when it
started to rain but it came down in buckets. What finally woke me up is when I
started floating around the inside of my tent—I kid you not! Some of guys lost
gear because it floated away. As for me, I recalled my drown proofing training
and how lucky I was to have it. Seriously, the river didn’t get that high but it
still ruin a lot of gear and I had trouble with my feet due to wet boots. I
always thought the Army did that on purpose.

Like I was saying before, I never had a problem sleeping even on ambushes I
would sleep like a baby—just not during my watch.

Merry Christmas Marines and pray everyone is safe during this coming New
Year—Semper Fi

Footnote: From the first story—the next morning we had training in the field
and the Fox Co.CO would not give those of us who had guard duty a break. The
company moved out and we were to catch up after we had some chow and got our
gear for the field. Why me? I was put in charge of getting us all to the
training area. We got together and started to hump to the field when a truck
came by. I talked the driver in to taking us out to the area. The CO saw us
marching in and give me a “that-a-boy” for getting everyone out so fast. He
assumed that we hump the distance after walking guard post all night. I wasn’t
going to tell him what we did—I mean after all! Right?

Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!


  • Robert H Bliss

    This is not the same Robert Bliss who wrote the story. I always thought I was the only until I met another me.

  • Robert H Bliss

    Great story!! Thanks.

  • Dennis R. smith

    When I was in the 5th Marines, 1960 I believe, the regiment always had a 150 mile hike from Desert Training at 29 Palms back to Pendelton. The best nap I ever had was when we “take ten, expect five, get two”, we were going through a dry river bed of fist size rocks, I laid down on those sun warmed rocks and was out just like that!

  • Michael McManus, D. Co 1st Recon

    Back in the “old days” (mid 60’s) I was instructed by an “old salt” that a smart mud marine never stood up if he could sit down, never sat up if he could lay down, and never stayed awake if he could go to sleep. Apparently “carpe diem” (seize the day) applied to the Marine Corps (we just didn’t know it at the time). Semper Fi and Happy New Year to all!

  • Mike VonTungeln

    In the late 70’s returning to CLNC from Christmas leave, the flight went through Fayetteville, NC. Shortly after takeoff I heard two of the flight attendants talking. One asked the other, “Do you want me to start the beverage service?” The other one said, “No, the plane is full of jar heads. Wait five minutes and they’ll all be asleep.” Sure enough most of the passengers were out within five minutes. After that, any time I was with a bunch of Marines, I’d watch to see how long it was until most were asleep. Five minutes was the norm.

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