Does anyone remember the POU platoon located in the 2nd Battalion???

I was a young man from the eastern shore of Maryland. My buddy and I always wanted to be Marines. On 28 June 1962 we signed up on the 120 day plan. I was 17 at the time and had never done much but play around. We left for P I on 25 Sept ’62 and arrived in Yesmassee SC at night. All of us know what happens from that point. I was a scared kid but wanted to be a Marine so I could do anything. On 26 Sept. we were picked up by our D I”s and headed to Plt 375. On 31 Oct ’62 my DI put me in his car and took me to the POU unit located in the 2nd Battalion. I wasn’t sure what was happening and he said i wasn’t keeping up with the standards that was expected.

I wasn’t in very good shape and couldn’t keep up with a lot of the PT etc. While in POU everyday doctors would talk to us and asked if we wanted to get out. That was the last thing i wanted. on 6 Nov 62 I was set back to Plt 379. From that point forward I was a different Marine. I became the DI’s “house mouse” and did everything and more that was expected of me. Upon graduation on 9 Jan’63 my DI said he had put me in to become a Marine guard at NSA at Fort Meade.In those days no one even knew what NSA was. After 14 months in C L N C and making a Med cruise I was cleared and sent to Ft. Meade Mare Guard Att.I was there for 30 months and got out a Sgt.in Oct.1966. One of the proudest things i ever did was to become a U.S. Marine especially the way I had to do it. Semper Fi always.

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41 comments


  • Bill Collins

    I was at Parris Island from 5 March 1957 until 30 May 1957. I was in PLT. 69, D Company, 3rd Battalion. At that time there were three special platoons. One for overweight recruits. The platoon guidon flag for the “fat boys” platoon had an elephant on it. Next there was the conditioning platoon for those who could not pass the strength test and third was the Phycological Observation Unit (POU) for those who could not take the mental stress. For a short time my platoon stood firewatch for the POU platoon. I remember hearing a lot of sobbing during my firewatch rounds. Members of the POU platoon were required to stay on the Island for 30 days before being sent home with freshly shaved heads and weird looking cloths. We were marched over to where they were boarding buses and made to watch them leave. After seeing those pitiful looking people, each of us silently vowed that we would leave the Island feet first before being sent home in that condition. If the intent was to keep people out of the POU it worked.


  • JACK D HANSON

    In reply to Bill Jackson.
    Right on Bill, just as you described I was in the fat farm in 66 spent 30 days there and was sent back to another platoon. However I did graduate boot camp but I could never climb the knotted rope. In 70 I finally masted the slick rope and was I proud. thanks for the memory lane


  • Bruce Hoovis

    I was in the 2nd Battalion P I in the fall of 1960. POU was the Psychiatric Observation Unit. In essence it was for those who had difficulty coping with the mental stresses of boot camp. Or just flat out out had mental breakdowns. I do not remember it it being a motivational unit. It was literally a Cuckoo’s Nest. They did have motivational units and strength building units. We had one recruit in our platoon ended up in POU and assuredly he had some serious issues. POU was the exit door from the Corps for those who had serious mental issues.


  • JACK D HANSON

    In reply to Bill Jackson.
    Right on Bill, just as you described I was in the fat farm in 66 spent 30 days there and was sent back to another platoon. However I did graduate boot camp but I could never climb the slick rope . In 70 I finally masted the slick rope and was I proud. thanks for the memory lane


  • Bulldogman

    What I was told while at PI in the summer of ’62 was that if you were sent to POU and you weren’t crazy, you sure would be before you got out.


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