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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

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Wayne Beverly - April 7, 2020

Did you know the Newman twins from Texas?

George L Kudlinski - April 7, 2020

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 - April 7, 2020

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 - April 7, 2020

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 - April 7, 2020

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

Jim Frohriep - April 7, 2020

I also was in Platoon 390 at MCRDSD a year earlier in September 1960. The first night at receiving barracks I lost the key to my locker that was on a shoe lase around my neck. The Marine on duty made me stand Fire Watch all night. When we graduated in December 1960 I also meet Don and Phil (Everly Brothers) at the Ge-Dunk. Semper-Fi 1935…

bruce s bender - April 7, 2020

after boot camp and the first Duty Station- no one to tell you what to do – you are on your own?!! I reported to Cherry Point and went to transient barracks- taken to mess hall– issued a rack overnight- escorted to new barracks – saw barracks NCO- issued a rack and linen- ate again- reported to 1st Sgt. and got overview of what I would do- sent to my first OIC and met Senior NCO – Master Gunnery Sgt. – met a bunch of Marines ( who were not yelling at me for a change!) Now you had to do for yourself- find the right squared away Marines and not be friendly with the trouble makers and the malcontents- learned early on how to read people – most were sincere – but a few were characters. Found 2 who I really got along with – one Marine named Gary- and another Paul- was friendly with others- learned the ropes so to speak. Amazing how shitbirds make it bad for all of us. One clown was going home for a 96 hour pass- and put on uniform with 5 or 6 ribbons and a rifle expert and pistol expert badge- ( found out ribbons were not rated and he was told that he would eventually get in trouble. A few characters in squad bay- short timers who were bad influences- dressed in dirty utilities and ratty cover. I borrowed a block for the cover and used starch on it- with a piece of wood shaped like an octagon- starched utilities – I was proud to be a Marine. got to work area early- before daily muster. worked til I was supposed to- some guys knocked off early when the Gunny wasn’t around. We pulled equipment and supply orders for the squadrons we supported at our Group Supply Warehouse. Some guys at quitting time left orders not filled on desk for tomorrow- and I would stay a few minutes to complete my job assigned. Learned a lot from one S/SGT who was in World WAR 11 AND ALREADY HAD OVER 20 years in- some great stories about his surviving in the Pacific- also- he was Afro American- in as he put in “a colored platoon” – so sad how we had a dark past then. we also had prejudice in our ranks- 99% were squared away and treated everyone equal- but we had a few in al levels of rank structure that hated some group – the craziest was North versus South hatred- as well as a few Afro Americans were singled out by some racist NCO’s. Once I voiced my distaste over one incident- and was quick to find out that people are crazy with religion- politics- world events- etc. made a circle of friends and mostly kept them. One Marine was glad when Nixon Picked Agnew as a running mate. When I asked why he said Governor Agnew was a crook- and now he was happy as he was leaving Maryland- for the White House. Funny Logic.

Vernon Tabor - April 7, 2020

In reply to Jim Frohriep.
I was in Platoon 385 at MCRDSD arriving in October 1961. Finished boot camp and went straight up to Camp Pendleton for ITR in January 1962. Finished ITR in February 1962 I believe. Can you confirm for me that the Everly Brothers took their boot camp at MCRDSD about the same time? I’m almost positive they were there around the same time as me but in a different platoon. In fact I recall seeing them in formation once or twice. I know someone who swears they were with him at MCRD Parris Island. I surely don’t think I dreamed it and I don’t know why this person would lie. Thanks

R J Blett, Jr - April 7, 2020

In reply to George L Kudlinski.
Hey there, George – I remembered your name but admit I had to look up your picture in the platoon book. S/Sgt Bozel made Gunny sometime in ’62 – I think he became an instructor in either Sea School or C&E Bn. I ran into him on base later and got to chat for a while – a very nice guy after all. Sgt (E4?) JD Morris – that’s a different story.

Fredric S. Garber - April 7, 2020

damn, the first time I got leave was my boot leave from ITR. I guess San Diego was different.

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