A Run for the Head

A Run for the Head

Private Capps had to be the shortest guy in our platoon. Our drill Instructor placed him in the rear of first squad. Capps had a tough time in the beginning trying to keep up his pace up with everyone else. After a few weeks though he was able to keep in step and in stride with the rest of us. Until then, it was a hoot to see him just walking around with his short stride. He didn’t look a day over 9 years old. Put that together with the utilities we had to wear in first phase. Remember? Nothing fit right- all clothing items had only two sizes: Too small or too big. His “too big” cover had a clownish appearance. And those damned yellow sweatshirts- I had a tough time keeping my laughter inside when, standing in formation, I caught sight of another recruit with little yellow fuzz balls clinging to his recently shaved melon. Humor was everywhere.

Into our 3rd week at MCRD San Diego in August of 1964, I drew midnight fire watch one night. While “…walking my post in a military manner…”, I had just completed the first circuit at our platoon’s Quonset Hut when I caught sight of a flash exiting the hut headed for the company head. The flash was PVT Capps who had awoken with a sudden case of the green apple two-step, probably from the pork and beans we had that night for evening chow. Anyway, there he was sprinting for his life with one hand holding his cover in place, while the other had a death grip on his baggy, white, skivvies-clad butt running hell bent for the head.

It was all I could do to keep walking my post at right shoulder arms and stifling a laugh with the vision of Capps running around with a firm grip on his stern end. Lucky for me, the OOD didn’t show up with a surprise visit. Capps must have answered the call that night- I didn’t see him return but, he was standing tall, so to speak, in morning formation.

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2 comments


  • Sgt. Eric Tipton

    I was in Plt. 3106 at PI in 1966. During the 1st couple of weeks, head calls were done on a count down. A group was designated to go while the rest of us stood at attention at our bunks and counted down from 10 to 1. You had better be back at your rack by the time the count ended. Made it very tough to take a dump so many went extra days without. On one of my head calls I peered in while taking a piss to see a turd larger than the size of a brick and apparently to hard to be flushed on the first try. I can’t imagine how the poor Marine passed that thing. Kind of gross but that memory stuck with me as many others are being forgotten.


  • bruce s bender

    A lot of us in Boot Camp had a case of the — ” back door trots” – and it was no picnic as we were in a tight schedule in Boot Camp – and we were supposed to use the head when we were told to go- not when our body said go- Now as Marines of all ages we look back and see humor of this- but let me be frank- as a Marine can only laugh with a fellow Marine about this and other stories. Semper Fi- thanks for jolting my memory to a time in the past that for me seemed like ages ago! We also had a little guy in our platoon – looked like 10 years old small- and the D I would give him the business- and one day this little guy- stomped his foot turned red as a beet and said to the biggest of our 3 D I’s– Sir, you pissed me off- and he stomped his foot again- and his whole body was quivering and shaking++ The platoon thought that the little guy was in for a heap of trouble- The D I walked up to him and looked him in the eye- and we thought he would cry out of fear- but the D I said that this Mighty Mouse of a man had more balls than the rest of the Platoon.


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