December 1961 I flew from MI to O’Hare where I met two more prospective Marines, both Canadians. We arrived at Lindberg Field in S.D. around Midnight, with nobody to pick us up. I remember looking around at the beautiful night and thinking how lucky I was to get away from the snow. We were picked up by a very pleasant Cpl with a high-back pick-up truck – no yelling or drama. Then – the Yellow Footprints, and the drama commenced.
L/Cpl RJ Blett Platoon 2001

RJ Blett,

I was thinking the same dang thing!! Harry

Harry 1371,

In September of ’74, we were at the A.F.E.E.S. station in Los Angeles when the bus showed up to take us to M.C.R.D. There was alot of talking and the usual macho talk from a few of the guys about how tough they were, how easy it would be to kick the D.I.s asses, etc. When we pulled up to the gate at M.C.R.D., our bus driver kindly warned us that we should stop talking until the bus stopped and the D.I.s got on. Some of those guys didn’t listen (What a surprise) and when the receiving D.I. boarded our bus and started his loud and memorable speech, you could have heard a pin drop. The first place we went was the chow hall for some baked chicken, mashed potatoes, watermelon, and water. Then it was off to haircuts. After haircuts, it was off to supply to get your grey plastic box and receive your initial issue. One of the recruits was so scared, that he pissed himself and four of the D.I.s swarmed him like flies on a cow pie. Never saw him after that. An experience that all Marines remember until the day we get re-assigned to the foot beat in Heaven. Semper Fi Marines and Happy Birthday! OoohhRaaahhhh!

Daniel Miller,

Aug. 3 1959, arrived San Diego via train,after getting on the bus the Marine in charge of all us long hairs, quiet and politely asked for all the windows to be closed. As soon as they were closed he changed from mr nice guy into one loud screaming Marine. I for one wondered what I had gotten into. But would not trade that time at MCRD for anything. Loved laying in my rack hearing taps played.

Marlon Helton,

Looks like they have air conditioning?? Our bus in ’69 was a School Bus…and to this day, I am still unable to tell you how we got from the San Diego Airport to MCRD…my head and eyes were locked totally forward.

Mike Cushing,

I have had the benefit of doing the bus routine at MCRD in March of 68, what an awakening that was. In addition having lived in SC and flying in an out of Savannah GA, I also got to witness many a recruits being greeted by their DI at the airport. I always smiled to myself when thinking about whether these new Jarheads had any idea of what was about to happen, but I always stood talk knowing they were about to become some of our nations finest!!!

Sempi Fi!!

Tom Golden,

The first thing that was on my mind, was what the hell did I get myself into. To this day, when I greet another Marine, I smile and say wow once we stepped on the famous yellow foot prints are life was going to change. The other story, I spoke to a Marine who was in a nursing home where I work part time. He was about my age 66-67. He started crying, so I asked him why, when he told me when he was told to get off the bus he stayed on and tried to jump out of the bus window to get away, then a few DI’s that seen him beat him so bad and that was the start of his training , (do what your told)

Reinhold Woykowski,

On Halloween, 1967, 40 + of us landed at Dego , and I was the man with the records. I found two Marines at a podium type desk and told them who I was and where the rest were. A Sgt (non-DI) had me lead the rest to him, and he took us out side and we got on a green school bus. Then it started! It was like throwing a light switch, from nice Sgt to DI attitude.

“No talking on my bus! No smoking on my bus! No chewing gum on my bus! If you’re chewing gum, get rid of it, and I don’t mean under the seat. Swallow it!” I knew my life had just changed.

The rest of the ride was in complete silence. The bus pulled up outside a building (the barber shop), then, “When you get off this buss you will see yellow foot prints. Find a set and stand in them, and no talking. Do you hear me?” We weekly replied “Yes, sir.” “DO YOU HEAR ME?” “YES SIR!” we yelled. “Now get off my bus!”

Talk about being in a state of shock. We stood there and they had the first 8 go into the barber shop to get haircuts. 4 in the chairs, and one in front of each chair waiting our turn. I remember a guy in a chair that had shoulder length blond hair. In less time than it takes to tell about it, his hair was on the ground and he was out of the chair. All I remember is that it felt like I just sat down when the barber yelled, “get out.” My head felt cold standing in the night air.

I was definitely in a state of shock.


After departing the airplane I flew in on, we were loaded onto a 6-by and then came the yellow foot prints!
A life changing experience for all of us for 13 weeks of intense training but I remember it for life!
Semper Fi

Al Plt 376 San Diego ‘64,

Flew in to Charleston SC and then a bus to PI .Not sure what time it was but it was late at night. as soon as we past through the gate it got real silent. do remember the footprints Do not know how long we stood there. Harry

Harry 1371,

On the East Coast in July of 1961 new young men arrived by train at Yemassee, S.C. On the train during the long trip from Baltimore and other stops it was all fun & games on our train car mostly full of 17 & 18 year old guys. Then it was everybody off the train at zero dark thirty and get on the buses waiting for us at Yemassee. It was a long quite ride in the dark to Parris Island with a Sgt barking orders while he paced up and down the bus aisle. All the young men sat in silence with most really not knowing what to expect but we all knew our lives were about to change in the next 13 weeks. Little did we how much………
Semper Fi Marines !!!

Glen Bradshaw Cpl E-4,

Bus? I distinctly remember a cattle car picking us up from San Diego Airport!!

Ed Giddings Sergeant of the Marines 1969-1973,

STILL remember MY FOOTPRINTS-2nd row-4th from the left! MCRDSD May 69 at o’dark thirty! Sgt 1st MAW-CH53 Crew Chief/Avionics-69-75 Semper Fi


This is a memory seared into every Marine’s brain housing group regardless of when or where they entered the Marine Corps. My first assignment after boot camp was with Comm/Elect School Bn, MCRD San Diego. Our barracks was located in the arcade just to the west of receiving barracks. Often, after an evening of “Cinderella liberty,” we would see a bus or van pull up to receiving, and we would run up to the second deck and quietly watch the Drill Instructors work their magic. You couldn’t make any noise or racket, as we found one night that the DI would not hesitate to jump on our ass. Great fun at no cost when you were only making $72 a month as a Pfc. Semper Fi!!

MSgt Edd Prothro, USMC Ret. 1964-1984,



If I remember right, we (the recruits) were not in a bus but a cattle car, it was sort of like a bus but it had wooden seats and benches and when the “bus” was waved through the gate all the chatter stopped. When the bus stopped next to a parking lot that had yellow footprints painted on it, a couple of Marines in uniform (who had gotten a ride on base with us apparently) got up out of their seats, wished us a pleasant evening and departed, and then the fun started.

Duane Peterson,

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