Determined to Earn the EGA

Determined to Earn the EGA Admin |

At the age of 17. I left home to join the MARINES.So I could help my mother.I was sent to MCRD. Parris Island SC. My hometown is Columbus GA. It’s an Army town you might say its the home of Ft.Benning Ga. The 101stairborne rangers train here this is where we train foreign officer’s in the school of the Americas and the world’s largest infantry school.General George S Patton Jr.had a home at Fort Benning during WWII.So it seems strange that I would want to join the MARINES coming from an Army town but I knew I wanted something more to challenge me.I didn’t know at the time how much of a challenge it would become.At 17 when I joined I went in weighing around 250 lbs. So before I could receive regular training I had to drop quite a few pounds.So I was sent to a place I’ll call the fat farm where we did nothing except P.T. Physical Training I had no clue to what I was about to endure. From the time revelry was called till taps were sounded, we had P.T. when we went to chow whether it was morning, noon or night it seemed like we were just allowed to look At the food and maybe smell a little of it. because being on the fat farm you were there to lose weight and I surely lost every pound that I was told to lose.When I was allowed to start my regular basic training I had got into pretty good shape so I thought. I was sent to 2nd training battalion things were really tuff for me I kept wanting to give up but for some reason earning that title of Marine keep me going until the week before graduation.when the unthinkable happened the day before my accident we were running 100 yard wind sprints when all of a sudden my left leg started hurting so bad I wanted to cry but I managed to hold back the tears I had never encountered so much pain I thought someone had a torch and was holding it to my leg . We then proceeded to run back to our barracks my squad bay which was on the top floor of our building I knew those steps I was going to run up would be my downfall, to this day I can still feel every step I climbed.My Senior DI. Sent me to see the Dr. I was told I just had bad muscle cramps .when I came back to my barracks the pain had eased up some but no one caught the hairline fracture I got from running wind sprints.The next morning we were to run the obstacle course, on the very first obstacle that I approached is when the unthinkable happened I attacked it like I had done so many times before but this time the obstacle won I had broken my left leg both bones the tibia and fibula.At that moment of my break, I had so much adrenaline in me that I could Cleary see my leg was broken from it shape that it was. I knew my leg wasn’t supposed to look like that, for the life of me it didn’t hurt the DI seen it and made everyone get into formation while I laid there screaming let me finish the obstacle course. I can see the DI’s face now how he looked with amazement at what I just said. I didn’t realize at the time that adrenaline wears off but I soon found out when I arrived at the Naval Hospital in Sumter SC. Before the Dr. Straighten my leg out he said to me recruit don’t you know your leg isn’t supposed to look like that that’s when the adrenaline wore off the Dr. started pulling on my leg the pain was so intense I started screaming so loud I’m sure the whole hospital knew I was there with a broken leg .I actually passed out from the pain they could have given me everything for pain but it wouldn’t have done any good anyways from the severity of my break.So now I’m in the hospital with a broken leg they inform my mother that I’ve been injured in a training accident so she comes to the Naval Hospital to see me.When she last saw me I was fat and out of shape. I was standing at the foot of my bed leaning on crutches when she walked right past me. I said, momma, where are you going? She turned around and it took her a moment to realize who I was when she finally recognizes who I was she started screaming they killed my baby, they killed my baby a nurse had to come calm her down. So after my mother found out they hadn’t killed me, she went back home and after about 2 weeks they sent me back to P.I. where I went to a place called MRP Medical Rehabilitation Platoon when I arrived I was in a long length cast so as you can imagine how I had to get around there were recruits their with broken arms legs and all other things I still can’t explain but we had a DI their that was not going to let peoples injuries get in the way of Physical training so recruits w/broken legs we had to do push ups the one w/broken arms did sit ups no matter why you was there recovering he found something that you could do physically. I was their so long that I got to go home on leave. When I returned back to basic they wanted me to take a medical discharge and I refused so they finally sent me back to training except this time I was sent to 3rd recruit training battalion I started out on Mar 5 1974 my birthday when I returned to duty it was 1st week of 2nd phase .So again to state I arrived at P.I. Mar of 74 my birthday when I finally graduated Dec 17 of 74 to 9 weeks of training turned into 9 months but with nothing but determination I Finally earn the title MARINE. Now 43 yrs later I’m telling this story I’m still as proud today at 60as I was when I was 17 because when i earned the EGA EAGLE GLOBE &ANCHOR I. became not only a MARINE but a man and as for the time I spent at P.I. I’ve never heard of anyone being their longer than I. Really hope you enjoyed my story . to all my Brothers & Sisters Marines I just want to say SEMPER FI DEVIL DOG’S Carry On.


Thank you sorry it took so long to reply but time never stood still for me and I will be 61 in March and I’m more Gung Go !! Now than when i went thru basic. Before I was Honorable discharged I broke that same leg. Trying to slide down the rails like the navy guys do during general quarters when I was aboard the USS Harlan County. And to beat that I joined the Marine reserves in 81 went to California for mountain warfare. Training slide down a 60 ft embankment and jam that same dam leg was on crutches for 2 months so I finally stoped training and left the Corp so I could heal but maybe1day I’ll post a pic of my left leg. They way It was set it still looks Like it’s broke after all these years on. a couple of occasions I’ve pulled pranks on friends where I fell down and screamed my leg I broke it the looks and reaction I git when I jump up and say I’m still going work is simply priceless

Raymond Wadkins,

This is a great story of what a true Marine is about. You had chosen your career and had the determination to bring it to a close. The day of graduation from training was the greatest day of my life because I learned there is no male or female Marine, but only a MARINE.

Edna (Sarge),

SEMPER FI,I went into Boot Camp at 205lbs and came out 165 lbs.Mom and Dad both Marines.Dad Retired (Mustang). I was Born in Quantico and would never give up on being A MARINE. Proudest Day of MY 63 years, Graduating from Boot Camp.

Martin Weckerly,

Semper Fi!! I’m proud to call you my brother. You showed a lot of determination and grit. Not sure I could say I would do the same. I’m glad I didn’t have to find out. We had a guy come to us in second phase from the physical conditioning platoon who had been there a few months. He had lost something like 50 – 60 pounds. The flesh was literally hanging off his arms and body he had lost so much weight.


I remember my feet hurting real bad. Like maybe I had stress fractures in the bones of my feet. You obviously had a worse situation but I remember keeping my mouth shut in fear of medical finding a reason to put me in a rehab platoon and prolonging my stay. 13 weeks was long enough. Ooh Rah to your persistence and determination! A lot of us may have given up.

David Garcia,


Edward C. Mitchell,

I too spent a long time as a recruit. After 3 weeks of training was sent to naval Hospital for 3 months (pneumonia). When I went back to MCRD had to start at day 1 of training 1972 Feb.-Sept

Celestino Aja,

Semper Fidelus, young Marine. You have the heart of a warrior, the stamina of a bear, and the determination of a proud U.S. Marine. Always wear the title proudly as I and others still do, until death.

Daniel Fields,

took a greyhound bus from vancouver british columbia to everett wa. in spring of 1966. nearest marine corps recruiter. as a canadian citizen i was primed & prepped & photographed for my green card i.d. plus plane ticket to san diego, M.C.R.D. there’s an old saying, honesty is the best policy. in my case, not so much. having put in my records that i was a former member in the royal canadian airforce added a certain amount of pain from my D.I’s. marching out on the grinder one day with the whole unit, we where told to all sit down, upon which they yelled out my name, then front & center. i was then instructed to perform close order drill solo, by myself, with a special caviat. i was to perform it canadian airforce style. to my horror & humiliation i did. the drill instructors laughed uproariously. canadian close order drill is quite alien to american style. much more aligned to british, if you get my drift. but then i had an epiphany, cleared my mind, focused & executed a near perfect performance, to the point where the drill instructor realized than i was getting the upper hand in my foreign marching technique. taking pride in my former military marching style rescued me from what could have been a real nightmare. statistics have verified that over 20 thousand canadians came south in the mid & late sixties & enlisted in all branches of the u.s. military. there is a vietnam memorial wall in windsor ontario, canada attesting to that. still wear my u.s.m.c colors on my ball cap with pride, residing in anacortes wa. these many years later. SEMPER FI.

harry bierke,

Outstanding job of hanging in there and making the Grade. I was also injured in boot camp. Toward the end of 2nd Phase, I was detailed to fill the back of a six-by with 200 pound racks. Two of us were in the back of the truck while two other recruits handed the racks up to us. When the truck was filled on one side, I was alone grabbing the racks and sliding them up and back. Eventually I couldn’t bend my knees and felt a terrific pain in my lower back when lifting the last rack. The D.I. sent me to sickbay where the Doc said I had strained my muscles. He gave me a day’s bed rest but my D.I. dissuaded me from laying down with a threat of being recycled. There was NO WAY I was repeating 8 weeks of boot camp so I was running that night and for the next 4 weeks. I should have hit the rack though, in hindsight since I later found out I had ruptured 3 disks in the L4-L5 region and over my 12 year career, it just got worse. After 11 years, I had surgery, I was retired and now am constantly in pain. I’ll never regret becoming a Marine, I just regret listening to that D.I. because it changed all my plans and my life, permanently. Semper Fi, Devil Dog.

James A. Howerton II,

Semper fi, brother

J.R West,

This attitude is what differentiates Marines from the rest. Semper Fi and God Bless. Platoon 217, March 1961

Jon Crawford,

Semper Fi Brother, I was in platoon 363 the Summer of ’74. I got a pneumonia shot while at the rifle range (experimental from the University of South Carolina) and 19 of us got pneumonia. We had to walk from the rifle range to mainside (on the weekend, no buses). They took one look at us and put all of us in the hospital. Luckily it was during the week of mess & maintenance so no time was lost in training. I came back to PI in ’76 and served 2 years as a DI in 2nd Batt.

Mike Fields,



SEMPER FI Brother. Never give up on your dreams.

Patrick McBride,

You are a perfect example of the perseverance required to “earn the title of U S Marine”.

Jim Kanavy, Cpl, 0311/0231,

Leave a comment