Boot Camp Story by Bill Ashworth Admin |

I was in Boot Camp at Parris Island in 1955 we started out in the wooden barracks 1st bat. The Sr DI came in and said we were moving the 3rd Bat we moved in Quonset huts then we went to the rifle range we had the M1s while we were at the range one of our JR DIs cured me of smoking we were in Quonset huts after lights out like I said one of our JR DIs caught a guy smoking and the DI his name was Sgt Hatchel he told us to get out scrub buckets he marched us to the head and told us to light up I told him sir I don’t smoke and he told me tough sh,t one of the guys gave me a cig.  And we had to put the bucket over our heads and smoke the cig. And cured me from smoking.

Bill Ashworth CPL E3 old Corps 1955 to 1964, PLT.138.  I was in the Reserves in 1954 went 2 weeks summer camp I loved it so much when we got back I went in the regular CORPS thanks Semper FI

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


I was in Boot Camp at MCRD San Diego in the fall of 1958, Platoon 382. We went to Camp Matthews for Rifle Training. One morning we were marching to the range in the predawn darkness. It was a mile or so to the ranges and we were marching at route step down one side of a valley, On the far side of the valley another platoon was marching up the hill to the ranges and they broke out singing the Marine Corps Hymn. Suddenly without a word being spoken I could hear everyone in our platoon stand up straighter, lean back and start our marching strut, with no cadence voiced we fell into step as if our DI was calling cadence. We were still at sling-arms but we were in our own minds passing in review. It was at that time we all felt as though we were joining the Brotherhood of Marines. The DI only made a few comments like, “Lean Back”, “Strut”, and “Heels, heels, heels”. This lasted while the platoon on the far side of the valley was singing. That morning was magical, I can still feel that thrill up my spine when I recall the incident.

SSgt Gary Ray 1958-1968,

You know Dave, I actually think that’s what carries guys through more than any other thing! It’s almost like you can feel all those past Marines beside you every time you think you don’t have anything left in the tank to carry on, you press forward because you don’t want to let down the buddies in your platoon and all those history making Marines that went before you! Great analogy!

Jerry Tomaschik, Cpl, USMC ’81-’85,

I was @ PI Mar-Jun 1955 Plt #26. I thin Sgt Hatchel assignment to our plt was his first. He was a “Hard Ass” indeed. Ran into him couple of yrs ltr @ Quantico,and we had a nice conversation. I think he was surprised to see I was a Sgt also. Semper Fi

A J Graber Sgt 1955-1959,

We had a Junior DI by name of Sgt. Hatchell for Depot Honor Platoon 74 1 July 1955 to 25 Sept 1955. Sgt. Hatchell was a hard ass as mentioned but could count cadence. He helped makes us Marines with most of the credit going to S/Sgt Donald Campbell (later retired Major Donald Campbell). S/Sgt. Campbell was a Marine’s Marine and we probably would have followed him to hell. It was a great moment when he told us he would take any of us in a fox hole with him in combat. Never forgot that.

Jim Connor,

MCRD San Diego 080166-110066, the DI Sgt Shumpert had a recruit smoke cigars he got under the bucket, it does make an impact.

Robert Wang,

I had a S/SGT Hatchell for a Jr DI also. Platoon112 February 1959. The others were Wondolowski, Fear and Burke. Hatchell and Burke were hard azz.

J D Lawrence,

I went to PI on Oct 13 1955. I was in Plt 155 and my No starts with 155 the first No’s on my rifle were 155 and no I never won any lotto money with those No’s. Good time to be a Marine 5 yrs and no war. Chuck

Chuck Moseman,

I just got back from my grandson’s graduation from boot camp at MCRD San Diego. Third generation Marine. I graduated from there in 1967. Plt. 1012. (Vietnam vet. ’69/’70) My son graduated from there in 1987 (Desert Shield vet). I don’t know where my grandson will go but when he does I know he will carry on and be one damn fine Marine. SO PROUD!

Sgt. Terry E. Summers,

Thanks for sharing …. my son is leaving for boot camp, Parris Island, in 3 1/2 hours…. this is a very hard but wonderful day all in one!!


I joined the Corps because my uncle got killed in Okinawa and my brother went to Korea so in 58 – 62 I m 17 and at Parris Island! WTF did I do was the first thing I said after stepping into the yellow footsteps and meeting our DI s for the first time. What an eye opening but after going to 1st Bn B co. And getting settled I was glad I was there because I was following in the footsteps of my family. It was the greatest experience of my life and at 76 still proud to say I m a Marine.

David Ravanesi,

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