Boot Camp & A Bit After

When I first arrived at MCRDSD at 2330 hours, on 16 Nov. 1961, I can remember one thing. Two other recruits and I arrived and we were told to “take off everything that you were not born with and …” put our clothes into a locker and put the key, on a shoe lace, around our necks. We stood there. I was naked and the other two guys still had on their underwear. A Marine yelled at them and their underwear just disappeared. They did not take them off, their underwear just disappeared.

I never had a bowel movement for several days after arriving. I do not remember getting an erection during boot camp, which is unheard of for a 20-year old. (Yes, I was the old man in platoon 390).

I went to 2nd ITR and was in the same company (Company A) as Phil and Don Everly (brothers who were Rock & Roll singers in the 1950s.) We got liberty every weekend. They got some of their friends together and put on a Hell-of-a-show following the training and just before we got our “boot leave”.

Following 2nd ITR & leave, I returned to MCRDSD for training as a Radio/Telegraph Operator (MOS 2533). While there I went to find my old DIs. I found them and was invited to chat with them in their Quonset Hut. We talked for about 10-minutes. I learned that the Senior DI (S/Sgt Cunningham) was finishing up getting his CPA degree and the Junior DI (S/Sgt Dent) was finishing up his BA Degree. I learned that all of the other DIs that I had were also working on their college degrees.

When I got up to leave, S/Sgt Cunningham and Dent shook my hand, thanked me for coming by, and politely told me to not do it again.

The greatest thing I learned from Marine Corps and its Boot Camp is that there is nothing in the civilian world that I cannot deal with and over come. That includes the leukemia that I have. I may die with it but I will not die from it.

From 15 Feb. 1962 (Graduation Day – the day I became a Marine) on to Infinity, I will always be a United States Marine.

Once a Marine, Always a Marine!

Jim Brower

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


  • Wayne Beverly

    Did you know the Newman twins from Texas?

  • George L Kudlinski

    I arrived MCRDSD 8Dec61 and to this day I cannot locate anyone from PLT 2001. The only Marine I found had passed to Guard Duty in Heaven, his name Doral (DOBIE) Gillis. SGT Morris was the hard ass DI and S/Sgt Bozel was a little tamer, although they both knew they had a rough time ahead forming Marines out of the TURDS they were given. If anyone out there from 2001 61-62 get in touch.

  • Timothy J. Crabb

    I arrived on Jan 29, 1969 to MCRDSD and after getting onto those…. yellow foot prints I said to myself “Oh boy what have I gotten myself into”. Well, 99% of us survived boot camp (PLT 2019) and were very proud that we were now United Sates Marines. To this day 48 years later some of the best times of my life were in the Corps, and still proud to have served my country as a United States Marine. If I could, I’d go back in the Corps tomorrow. Now, I would not be able to run as fast as a 20 year old Marine, but I’ll match my marksmanship and critical thinking skills up against any one of them. I was 0311 and damn proud of it. The leadership skills I learned in the Corps helped me in the world outside of the Corps to make me the person I am today. I can still hear my dad when I told him I joined the Marine Corps…”You did what, now that wasn’t very smart.” The brotherhood of the Marine Corps, nothing else like it! Yes… “Once A Marine, Always A Marine” P.S. My Dad, God rest his soul was very proud that his son was a United States Marine!

  • stan jacobs

    Anyone out there from recruit platoon 253, PI, 8/17/57? Arrived by train from Albany, NY [a first-time experience itself for 3 teenagers from the Catskill Mts. of NYS.] Got the usual warm greeting, and immediately learned a few key rules: listen up; speak only when spoken to; the DIs are all-knowing and get complete respect; move,move.move; regardless of who or what you were, you are now a T.U.R.D., to mention only a few. This was just after the McKeon incident, change was “in the air”, but all it meant was the DIs were more careful knocking the ignorance out of a ragtag bunch of civilians. I [and my 2 buddies] had grown up hunting, fishing and camping out, so qualifying, etc. was easy. My rifle was an International Harvester, #5113166; The Corps was transitioning to the M14 in 1960, could have bought my IH for $87, didn’t, and paid $800 for a fine Remington [with accessories] in 1975. Trained as a 2771, ground communications technician, an interesting but easy MOS, I spent most of my hitch with 155 howitzers, 2nd Field Artillery Group, FMF. [you call, we maul]. With the rank change in 1959, made corporal twice [E3, then E4] . Grateful for the experience, it was primarily responsible [99%] for turning an aimless, irresponsible teen into a successful adult.

  • Scott browning

    Never forget the yellow footprints late at night, yelling DI yellow sweat shirt,utility trousers white tennis shoes marching arm in arm to our hooch ply 124 mcrd 1965

Leave a comment