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Emergency Head call

By: Bob C. Hookham

At Edson Range, everyone gets to take their turn “pulling the butts”. I was assigned a target about a dozen from the right side. And of course, the Heads were all the way on the Left end of the butts. The DI assigned to the group of targets that I was in was SSgt Martinez (Sr Drill Instructor of one of our sister platoons and would be considered a Light Green Marine from South of the border). One of my Drill Instructors, Sgt Fischer was assigned to the group of targets only a few targets down. The Private that was assigned to the same target as me needed to take a leak, so he did the proper thing and asked the SSgt Martinez if he could make a head call. Here is how the “conversation” took place:
Pvt: SIR, Private requests permission to make a head call, SIR!
SSGT M: Is this a ‘mergency head call?
Pvt: SIR, Yes, SIR!
SSgt M: Are you sure this is a ‘mergency head call?
Pvt: SIR, Yes, SIR!
SSgt M: I donno. I don beleive you.
Pvt: SIR, Private really needs to make a head call, SIR!
By this time Sgt Fischer heard the comotion and decided to join in.
Sgt F: Wheres your siren?
Pvt: Sir?
SSgt M: A sireen, you need a sireen!
Pvt: Sir, I don’t have a siren, sir.
Sgt F: A siren, you know – WHHRRRRR, WHHRRRRR.
Pvt: Sir?
SSgt M: Sireen, a sireen, I wanna hear your sireen.
Pvt: whhrr whrrr
Sgt F: No louder, LOUDER!
Pvt: WHrr WHrr
SSgt M: Good. Now where is flashing light?
Pvt: Sir?
SSgt M: A flashing light. you need to have a flashing light. (putting his fist on top of his head, with his thumb down, opening and closing his fingers. Sgt Fischer also mimicing SSgt Martinez.)
Pvt: (putting fist on top of his head and mimiced the gesture)
Sgt F: Good, Good.
SSgt M: You need to have your sireen going. Let me hear your sireen.
Pvt: (With his hand on his head, fingers opening and closing) WHHrrr WHHrrr WHHrrr
Pvt: (Hand still on his head, fingers opening and closing) WHHRRRR WHHRRRR WHHRRRR
SSgt M: Good. Now you can go. I wanna hear you all the way!
PVT: (headed down the full length of the butts – Flashing light and siren)

Bob C. Hookham
Plt 2024 – 1981

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Kevin Keener - May 20, 2020

1977 PLT 1101 a Sgt. Martinez did the same thing to one of our recruits in the back classroom during “brass drills”..just curious, short pencil mustache, liked to click his zippo lighter to announce he was near? A favorite saying was “Jou privatez are peesing me offfff. Jou are going to be in da pits before the end of da day if jou don’t knock it off….

Kapena - May 20, 2020

Ditto! Our drill instructor said we were below MAGGOTS! To call us MAGGOTS would be an insult to the MAGGOTS! He said that we were below mud! Too funny! MCRD San Diego. HOLLYWOOD!

Kapena - May 20, 2020

To add, you think on average maybe 1minute to pee, adjust and done? Try 60 recruits from a position of attention in front of their racks running to the head taking a leak into just 6 open urinals running back to your rack and locking it up. ALL IN JUST 60 SECONDS! ONLY IN THE MARINE CORPS! HELL YEAH!

Bob 1381 - May 20, 2020

Platoon 215, 1966….On one occasion, of my fellow recruits had to make an emergency head call when we returned to the squad bay from the “grinder”. I don’t know if he couldn’t just hold it or if he was afraid to try and go without getting caught. In any event, for some reason not none by me, he used his canteen as a urinal and got caught by one of our DIs. Every Marine should know what followed. For the rest of the day, no one but him, was allowed to make a head call……..Bob 1381..Vietnam 1966/1967.

Bo Orichowsky - May 20, 2020

Had a similar expirence in boot camp at PI. We had undergone final inspection just before graduation and I was one of the few recruits who passed. Those who did not do so well had to stand at the head of the barracks during SSS time wrapped in their towels with Dopp kit in hand. DI started to lay into them about their poor performance and I’m waiting in front of my bunk for word to hit the head. Well, all of sudden my stomach starts growling! The exchange that follows is not exact as it was in ’75 but it went something like this: me: “Sir, private request permission to speak with the Drill Instructor, Sir”, DI: WHAT???, me: “Sir, private requests permission to make an emergency head call Sir”, DI: Oh yeah, how bad you gotta go?” me: “Real bad sir!”, DI ” Real bad? ” me: “Yes Sir, really bad Sir”. DI “Really, really bad?” me: “Yes Sir! as I stood there squeezing my butt cheeks and cringing. DI smirked and gave permission. Still squeezing my butt cheeks as hard as I could I waddled off to the head. Needless to say there was some mild laughter from the rest of the platoon despite the fact that they were doing disciplinary time. Platoon 2006 – Dec. 1975

John Efferen - May 20, 2020

P.I. July ’72; Plt 368… same basic concept except young shitbird, maggot, civilian scumbag urinated whilst running laps behind the racks in the squadbay.

He was PT’d without mercy for not having the strength to hold and executing release w/o proper prior approval.

Gotta love it

Frank Walker - May 20, 2020

SHITBIRD???? Must be a PI thing. “MAGGOT” was the common term used for all recruits at MCRD, San Diego. Of all my experiences in almost 21 years in the Crotch my fondest memories are of boot camp.

To my DI’s; SSgt (E-5) Carter (Retired MGySgt), Sgt Steed (Retired LtCol), Sgt Lanversight (hope I spelled that right) (KIA RVN) – my enduring thanks and appreciation for what you instilled in me which has been my guidance for my entire life.

Semper Fidelis
Frank Walker
Plt 341, 3d RTBn, SDiego – 1962
SSgt, CWO-3, Capt – USMC

Jim Barber - May 20, 2020

Bob, please contact me at I would like to add your story to my collection for possible publication in my next book. My first book, “SH*TBIRD! How I Learned To Love The Corps” has over 90 funny stories of boot camp experiences contributed by Marines from all over the country.
Semper Fi

Jim Barber - May 20, 2020

Kapena, try “SH*TBIRD! How I Learned To Love The Corps” Very funny stories submitted by Marines from all over the country about their boot camp experiences, including at the range.

Gunny - May 20, 2020

This is the stuff that makes The Marines better than everyone else

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