Captain Marvel

While in boot camp (San Diego) in 1958 a recruit in our series smuggled some blanks back from Camp Mathews. He was standing guard duty one night when a drunk DI returned to the area. The recruit challenged him in the proper procedure:

“Who goes there” in which the highly inebriated DI responded; “Captain Marvel”. The recruit responded: “Captain Marvel FLY OVER to be recognized”. The DI took another couple paces only to be halted with the command: “I said, Captain Marvel, FLY OVER to be recognized”. Still no response except the DI took another couple paces and was halted with the strong command: “For the 3rd. and last time, I said Captain Marvel, fly over to be recognized”.

Needless to say, the DI started walking again only to be confronted with 2 blank rounds being fired by the recruit. The DI tore through 4 Quonset huts turning over the pot bellied stoves and falling numerous times over foot lockers. We never saw that recruit again and rumor was an order came from RTR that no Drill Instructor was to come into the recruit area intoxicated. We also heard that DI joined AA.

Al Brodbent

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


  • buzz alpert, Sgt E5, 1969 to 1966

    I went through boot camp in June of 1960 at Parris Island and they beat our butts all the time. And I got my share. I didn’t need anyone to motivate me and I did whatever I was told to do, but I had a bad habit of laughing when they screamed at me. I got some ‘extra attention’ for that. Of course that is part of the regimen and I never complained about it.. The first day in boot camp my senior drill instructor, SSgt Davis really went on and on about what great DI Sgt. McKeon was and maybe he was just conducting the Ribbon Creek night march because that was standard training. I’ve known the answer to that. Sad what happened. I have a good size newspaper article on that incident that I saved a few years ago. Semper Fi to all you Marines.

  • Billy Myers

    Ribbon Creek. April 8,1956. Parris Island, South Carolina. Six Marine recruits drowned when taken on a night march as punishment by SSgt. Matthew C. McKeon. This incident led to the end of “Swagger Sticks” and the introduction of the “Smokey Bear” wore by Marine Corps drill instructors. I went through Boot Camp during the summer of 1960 at San Diego. Platoon 363. The Drill Instructors still thumped us and group punishment was the norm.

  • W. C. Klemm, Jr.

    First line, fifteenth word: “blanks”.

  • gary Nash

    To Walter Perry, CWO4: I think you mean Ribbon Creek, not Little Creek. Gary Nash, 0302, RVN 5/67-2/69.

  • Ray

    Captain Marvel was actually pilot flying A-6s and was shot down in February 1968, but he was a Major at the time.

Leave a comment