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


  • Rudy Sannicandro

    Hi Bob,
    I arrived the next evening 3/25/65 about 11pm. Bus took us right to 2nd Bn. receiving barracks.
    Never saw yellow foot prints, they just ran us right inside. I must say within 30 seconds of getting off that bus I said to myself “what the hell was I thinking” I guess we were greeted by the same welcoming committee and of course after getting all our goodies the next day, we were also herded across the drill field to 1st Bn. I become part of Plt 122.
    So here I am about 55 years later and I still recall much of spending those 13 weeks at Parris Island. I assume we were both in ‘O’ Co. up in Geiger for I.T.R. I guess everybody remembers their first night at PI and will never forget it. To the DI’s thanks for the warm welcome. I guess that is how folks get welcomed in hell…


  • Muse Mann

    When I arrived on the Island, the biggest human being I’ve ever seen stepped on the bus and told me “very politely” how to get off his bus. Little did I know what was in store for me. 13 weeks later, I walked the parade deck and became one of The Few to have earned the title Marine. I’ll never forget my time on the Island. Hollywood ain’t got nothing on the Island.


  • Harry 1371

    Five recruits left Pittsburgh 10 Oct 67. We flew with a stop at Charlotte and then Charleston.Bus from Charleston right to the “Foot Prints” All a bunch cocky badasses until we passed through the gate. The next couple days are pretty much blurred, It all happened fast. Do know I could not crap for days! Harry 1371 / Plt. 3056 Parris Island


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