Arriving at Parris Island

By: Bob Fajardo

Three of us got off a Grayhound bus at the front gate of Parris Island at 0200 the morning of March 24, 1965. The guards laughed at us. One of them, a Lance Corporal, said something like, “You’re gonna regret this.”
A pickup with an OD canvas cover framed over the bed loaded us in the back and we headed for the receiving barracks.
Some recruits had been there for days because recruiting was slow at the time. We were picked up about three hours later, our heads shaved, showered, got uniforms, M-14s, bucket issue, and herded by at least 4 megaphone-loud Drill Instructors across the parade deck to 1st Battalion.
One recruit tripped over his bootlaces and spilled everything onto the parade deck. He was immediately confronted by a Drill Instructor and named Private Crazy for the length of his PI residency. The squad bay steam radiators had the temperature up to about 95 degrees. Platoon 120 would be on the island for 13 weeks because it took two weeks to form a company before training could begin. We drilled and ran and did PT and “learned how to fall” for those two weeks, and swept the company-wide competitions until graduation.

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8 comments


  • Bob 1381

    Rudy….I called my local draft board and the lady told me that in two weeks I would be in the ARMY. I told her that I wouldn’t and she said “YOU WILL”. Then I said “I’LL SHOW YOU”. Then I went to the closed Marine recruiter and enlisted. After going through receiving at PI and getting all of our issue we were taken to our barracks to meet our DI’s. As the DI’s that got us off the bus and through receiving, etc. introduced our DI’s they backed out the end hatch. There was about 2 seconds of complete silence and through the center hatch busted one on the biggest Marines that I thought that I have ever seen along with two other DI’s, not as big but just as mean. After a lot of screaming, yelling, cussing and pushing us around (among other things, I thought to myselt “BOY DID I SHOW HER”!!!!


  • Harry 1371

    Hey Bob, I know the “Foot Prints” were there. That was my first order “Off the Bus and on the Foot Prints!” Now as far as the color? I did not know until some point later they were Yellow. Could have been rainbow colors,really didn’t matter that night. Harry 1371


  • Bob 1381

    Harry…….Like I replied to a previous story about Yellow Footprints: With all the yelling and screaming, cussing and shoving we went through getting off of the bus at the PI 2nd Bn Receiving Barracks in 1966, everybody was in some stage of shock. Those footprints, if they were there, could have been yellow, pink, purple, or blue. Their color was the last thing on our minds……Bob 1381.


  • sgt T.K. Shimono

    contact Jim Barber email: bootcampstories3@gmail.com He is wrote a book about boot camp. You may want to contact him. He is on book 3.


  • Sgt. Robert L Platoon 293

    I left Pittsburgh with bout 20 other guys, I was 20 years old and most of the other guys were younger. I had worked in the steel mill for years and thought I knew EVERYTHING. There were also a couple other guys in there 20’s also. While we were in the bus station waiting to get picked up 4 of us got drink on our asses. BIG MISTAKE. When we arrived at PI the drill instructor was yelling and screaming get on the yellow foot prints. I had no idea what the hell he was yelling about. Lucky for me one of the other guys got me on the foot prints. I thought what the hell did I get myself into. Those first few days were hell. I still keep in touch with one of those guys that was also drunk that night.


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