Hard way to get to Boot Camp

By: Dan Gibson

Six of us flew from Kansas City in the Spring of 1962 on our way to S.D. MCRD. Our flight took us to Los Angeles and we had tickets in our package to catch a bus from there to San Diego. However, we got on the wrong bus and ended up at the Greyhound bus station in downtown L.A. We didn’t know what to do so I looked up the Marine Corps in the phone book and called the number. I explained our problem to the guy who answered and he said he would send someone to give us a ride to MCRD. What they sent was a Navy Shore Patrol paddy wagon! The the Navy cops shoved us in there and drove us to the receiving barracks. The optics were terrible. The D.I.s must have assumed we had gone AWOL and were captured and brought there. It was a very bad start.

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11 comments


  • C Dan Chenoweth

    I went to PI in the fall of 1957. Two other recruits and I got off the train in Beaufort, S. C. in the middle of the night and we were greeted by two not so friendly Drill Instructors. It was at that moment that I thought that signing up for the USMC may not have been such a good decision. We were put in the back of a duce-and-a-half and drove across the long causeway on to PI on a very dark night. As I looked across the bay to the lights of Beaufort, which was four miles away, I realized that I was leaving everything that was familiar and going into a very serious place. This is what makes PI so different from MCRD in San Diego. There, the airport and civilization were just across the fence even though the training was just as hard and there was no access to the familiar. At PI, I was in the First Recruit Battalion, C Company, Platoon 294. The barracks were the old WW II two-story wooden buildings and they were still just as sturdy and sound as they were when the Greatest Generation passed through PI. Yes, the training was very hard, but I would not trade one second of my time there for my experience at PI. It made me the strong and good man that I have become. My four DI’s became, and still are, my heroes right up to this present moment. Even though I never had the opportunity to thank them specifically for what they did for me, I have been able to speak to other DI’s when I have attended graduations with my wife, both at PI and MCRD in San Diego. May God bless the United States Marine Corps! Dan


  • Paul

    Right on! Also 3rd early 67. We were out there every day the same as the others we just had a better hooch. Paul.


  • Harry 1371

    I remember, not to long ago, someone posted that they were delivered to receiving at PI by a taxi! Not sure about that one. Harry 1371


  • Harry 1371

    Hey Mario. I went to “Boot Camp” at PI and was sent to the 3rd training battalion (Plt 3056) For some reason the 3rd, I think because we had brick barracks instead of the old wooden ones, was nicknamed “Disneyland” I guess the others of the 1st and 2nd thought we had it easier than they did because we lived in brick instead of wood! I still get crap about that! All in fun I guess. Harry 1371 USMC 67-70. RVN 68-69


  • Mario Mata

    I don’t know why Marines who went to P.I. for boot camp feel like it was any easier for us Marines who went to MCRD San Diego had it any easier than they did. I think all D.I.’s go th the same D.I. school and learn the same tactics to use on recruits. I don’t believe they know whether they are going to P.I. or S.D. until after their D.I. school. I believe all recruits who go to Marine Corp boot camp wherever catch plenty hell and it’s no cakewalk where ever you go. I went through in 1969 and I don’t know about modern day Marines but I can be pretty sure they are catching their share of hell too where ever they go. I hear it’s not as bad as 50 years ago but I bet they have their share of stories as we old Marines do. ONCE A MARINE , ALWAYS A MARINE AND NEVER A MARINE UNTILL YOU COMPLETE BOOT CAMP !!!! NEVER GIVEN. ALWAYS EARNED !!!!


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