In 1954 I left high school as a skinny, weak, and pampered kid and joined the Corps. Upon arrival at MCRD San Diego I got the crap stomped out of me for talking back to a PFC that was picking me up at the airport. After my second week I was made to duck walk completely around the “grinder” because I called my trousers, “pants”.
I am, and always have been, a very slow eater. All through boot camp we were given 15 minutes to march into the mess hall, get our food, eat, and return to formation behind the mess hall. I can’t even season my food in 15 minutes so therefore I was always late for formation. After every meal, either the SDI or the JDI would bounce me off of every wall in the Duty Room for eating so slow. I went through 18 weeks of this and I still eat slow.
I tell people about this and they call it sadistic and cruel. I always tell them that I came out of MCRD a little heavier, in fantastic shape, a definite respect for authority, and a far better person than I was going in. For 18 weeks I feared my DI’s more than death but I later saw that there was a reason for each and every thing that they made us do.
To this day, I still remember, and practice, the lessons I learned in the Corps. The Corps made me a much better person and I will never regret my tour of duty.
Sid C. Gerling
Sgt of Marine