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Cool Kids And Salty

Cool Kids And Salty

The green field scarf was part of our uniform issue at MCRD San Diego in the summer of 1962. We were never instructed on what to wear it with, how to wear it or when to wear it. I remember it being kind of silky. Is that my Alzheimer's starting to kick in? Still had it until several years ago or maybe I still do. I recall being shocked that we were required to pay for our sea bag issue and our bucket issue. Sure put a hole in my meager paycheck. 

Like everyone else, I lusted after those Battle Jackets (Vandergrift Jackets) but I also badly wanted a green wool shirt that was worn under the utility jacket. I finally got one while at MCAS Cherry Point, but only got to wear it a couple of times. Wearing one of those made you one of the cool kids and salty.

We were also issued khakis, Summer Tropicals and Winter Greens. Because of the khakis, I was on the wrong end of the worst azs chewing of my enlistment, during CW Radar school, by the Gunny at Fort Bliss. Even though they made you look like Joe Sh-t the Rag Man ten seconds after you put them on, they were comfortable, so this salty young PFC decided to wear them. Wrong decision. Got called down to the Gunny's office and we didn't even make it out of the hall before he lit into me, informing me in no uncertain terms that I had better square my young azs away or it would turn to grass and he was the lawnmower. I stood at boot camp attention and sir'ed him like he was a Drill Instructor and I was back in boot camp. You can bet I got squared away mo' riki tik and stayed squared away for the remainder of my time there.

L/Cpl Lacey asked about favorite duty stations. Mine was Ft. Bliss Texas. It was like living in the lap of luxury. The chow was great, they ate off real plates and the civilian staff picked up your tray when you finished a meal. There were no fences, no gates and no liberty cards. There was no marching to class in formation and quite frankly, one tended to get a little lax. We had an inspection once a month on Saturday morning by the Gunny and some troop and stomp. Gunny tried (and succeeded) to make it interesting by teaching some silent drill to us. I remembered that Gunny's name a few years ago, but didn't write it down so now it's gone again.

Does anyone remember this Rube Goldberg way of marking the brown socks. (picture attached) I don't recall for sure, but I think we marked the tape and then ironed it on the socks. The crazy part is, it worked and the tape stayed stuck even after several washings.

Gunny K – I think our shooting badges were handed out at Camp Matthews after we qualified and before we moved back to San Diego. Your mileage may vary. I could be wrong, it's been known to happen. All Marine Corps emblems were issued along with the uniforms and a card with the emblems outlined so you could mount them on it for the "Things on the Springs" inspection.

The only "brutalization" I remember from boot camp was Sgt Pacheco pinching the cr-p out of me (deserved) for some infraction while practicing for the final inspection. Others from my platoon tell a different story but those are their memories, not mine. I don't know if you would call this brutalization or not, but our Platoon Commander (Sr. Drill Instructor for you boots) made Pvt. Paulussen do a bunch of step-ups before he would let him go to sick bay. Turns out Pvt. Paulussen had a fractured foot, got set back and didn't graduate with the platoon.

Rusty Norman – Re: Pith Helmets. Did some research some months back on the Pith Helmet/Campaign Cover issue. It looks like 1952 or maybe 1953 was the last year Drill Instructors wore Pith Helmets. From then until 1957 when they started wearing Campaign Covers, they wore Barracks Covers.

As a side note, every time I run into a Marine out and about and we start jaw jackin' (usually much to the chagrin of his spouse or my lady friend) I almost always ask if he gets Sgt Grit's weekly newsletter. Thank you Don. No Marine should be without it.

Forged on the anvil of discipline.

The Few. The Proud.
Jerry D. 

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