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I Wandered Around for a While

I Wandered Around for a While

BOY! Do these photos bring back MEMORIES!

Too bad the few remaining huts have fallen into such disrepair. I went to the USMC Scout Sniper Association reunion a few years ago in San Diego and we as a group attended a recruit graduation. Things have really changed since I went thru MCRD in ’64. For one thing, on that grad day the recruits did not march in review like we did back then. They were marched out by platoons, lined up in front of the reviewing stand and just stood there while a Colonel gave a congratulation speech. Then they were dismissed and that was it. (R. Lee Ermey showed up and visited with some of the officers and DIs, then left without even a nod to us).

I wandered around for a while and found my old platoon street in the old 3rd RTB area. There were about a dozen huts there including the one I was in and that was it. All were being used as storage sheds and the ice plants had taken over the Drill Instructor’s Grass area in front of the huts. Not the little neat rows that we had to plant and maintain and rake lines between the rows (to show any boot prints in case someone stepped in the dirt/plant area).

And the head with all the sh-tters lined up… and the showers where the DI’s could “adjust the water temp” at the master control valves… “HOT… COLD… HOT…”


Semper Fi,

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Daniel - April 10, 2020

From MI and went to Dego, arriving on Halloween 67. First night in receiving, then we were in tents, and they get cold at night! Roll up the sides after breakfast. Wind blew dirt into the tents so they had to be swept out often. Once we got utilities, we slept in full uniform, except boots, to stay warm. We got nothing special for the birthday at the mess hall. Went to physical conditioning platoon for 2 weeks and that was a single story, heated building. Next platoon was in Quonset huts. No heat, but not as cold at night as the tents. On Thanksgiving and Christmas we got the holiday meal which was great, but nothing else. Then back to the real boot camp. We were allowed to buy a newspaper on Sunday after church. Had to read it during the 4 hour “free time” then back to the real boot camp. Still a great chance to “relax” a bit. We marched to the base theater for graduation, and were “dismissed” outside the theater for 4 hours of base liberty. I don’t remember passing in review but we may have. Back then a series graduated every day except Sunday. These days I think it is just one series a week. About 2005 I was in CA and went to a graduation. It was really different from what we had, with reviewing stands on one side of the grinder. The announcer asked all prior service Marines to stand at the start of the graduation ceremony. I would have liked to gone to the old 2nd. RTR area, but we weren’t allowed to wander and were restricted as to where we could go. I did get a little time in the MCRD museum. I’d like to go back again but probably won’t get to SoCAl again.

Sgt T.K. Shimono 1959-68 - April 10, 2020

Having gone through MCRDSD Boot Camp, 1st Battalion , in 1959, it sure wasn’t a surprise to see the difference in Boot Camp facilities. When my grandson returned from Iraq, we met him at Main side at Camp Pendleton. I talked to his company commander and company Gunny. One question I asked was why our Marines are carrying so much in their packs, sleeping bags and mats to sleep on (100#’s). Their answer was MOA (Mothers of America). I guess this also resulted in our boot camp training/facilities being changed. My grandson and great grandson ( both former Marines) asked me about boot camp in 1959. I told them that boot camp was quonset huts, no a/c, heaters, 3 minute showers/shaves, etc., short breakfast, lunch, dinner meals . Change happens but has our standards taken a hit?

L/cpl Henry young - April 10, 2020

Quonset Huts, February 1964 until Camp Lejuene October 1964. RVN 65/66/69. 0311/2311

‘Stoney’ Brook - April 10, 2020

Gerald, I had exactly the same experience with the ‘battle jacket.’ In fact, I got hassled at every inspection because the officer or NCO thought I was trying to be ‘salty’. They never believed I was issued the jacket in Boot Camp. It wasn’t until I made Corporal and stood Duty NCO or Guard that I wore the darned thing.

The only more useless item we received was the horse-blanket wool overcoat; it filled our seabag and, since we were either in Okinawa, South China Sea or California, never used it.

‘Stoney’ Brook - April 10, 2020

A few random flashbacks from MCRD circa 1961:

The cement washracks behind the Quonset huts, where we hand-scrubbed skivvies and utilities, and for a ‘special treat’, did step-ups until we puked. On Really Special Days, we did step-ups in field transport packs w/rifles.

The mini-PX located somewhere behind the theater, because we weren’t allowed near the Real Marines. Double-edge razor blades, Baribsol shaving cream, cans of Brasso; no candy, no soda, no books … Three minutes to ‘shop’, hatch-to-hatch

While in Receiving Barracks, polishing the brass fittings on doors and windows of the offices that faced the Grinder. The years of rubbing had removed the screwhead slots …

Being issued utilities that were three sizes too big (especially the cover that hung over our ears), flat-soled tennis shoes, web belts we weren’t allowed to cut so they wrapped around us twice, and the bright yellow sweatshirt with the big red emblem … which always drew shouts of derision [“You’ll be sorrrry!”] from ‘salty’ Recruit platoons passing with bloused boots and starched utilities.

Joining every religion known to Man, just so we could get some sleep in the Theater on Sunday. I even considered becoming Jewish, to add another hour.

The only movies I recall seeing were ‘Sands of iwo Jima’ and ‘Halls of Montezuma’; we were all Gung Ho after those realistic portrayals of Marines in combat.

Our DIs were tough as woodpecker’s lips and adjusted our attitudes with laying on of hands but were not sadistic or vulgar, as portrayed by Lee Ermey in ‘Full Metal Jacket’

Thanksgiving Day and getting pieces of hard candy at the Mess Hall, stepping outside and being confronted by the DIs who demanded you show each piece; woe to the Maggot who came up short on the count as it cost 50 push-ups for every ‘missing’ piece.

Watching the Sea School Marines doing Close Order Drill: The sound of a platoon with rifles slapping and heels hitting the deck in perfect timing, while a sergeant called cadence like a baritone Jazz singer. Our DI reminding us we wouldn’t make a pimple on the arse of those Marines … “You silly people make Hogan’s goat look like a precision instrument. I’ve seen a soup sandwich that was more squared away than you Maggots. You clowns march like old people make love: Slow and uncertain.”

Paul 0311 67-70 - April 10, 2020

Since this topic is about recruit training I have a question. Does anyone remember recruits from the east being sent to San Diego for training? or , anyone from the west being sent to PI? I could swear we had 1 from New Mexico and a couple guys from Texas at PI when I was there in 67. I have had a few discussions on this topic. One person told me that if you were granted a specific MOS by your recruiter and you were on the opposite coast for the school they would send you to boot camp on that coast even if you would normally go to boot at the closest location . I know it has been said “East of the Mississippi PI,West of the Mississippi Diego” Any thoughts? Thanks Paul.

Jonathan Reeves - April 10, 2020

I went through boot camp August 69 to October 69 in the huts. Policed the area around the grass area for butts fuss or anything else that wasn’t considered Marine Corp issued.
We graduated in khakis on the grinder full ceremony colors,band. Can’t remember if any ones family there,my parents couldn’t afford to fly to MCRDSD. We walked around the base until 4 o’clock when we had to back at the huts to pack our sea bags for ITR the next day.
L/Cpl Reeves
RVN 70 71

Martin Weckerly. SGT 73-79 - April 10, 2020

Huts were there in September 73,spent first phase there lived in the hotels at rifle range and 3rd phase.Remember the “hike to ITS”from rifle range.Platoon 2082.

Jim Barber - April 10, 2020

Thanks for the great photo, Craig. I remember waxing and buffing their old concrete floors until you (I should say “the Private”) could see your face in it. I am still collecting funny boot camp stories for my next book, so if you, or any of the above respondents, have any I’d really love to hear them for possible publication. Check out my first book “SH*TBIRD! How I Learned To Love The Corps!” If you’re interested hit me up at and I will get one to you.
Semper Fi
Jim Barber
MCRD San Diego March 6, 1958
Platoon 324

Manuel Gonzales - April 10, 2020

Thanks for the memories,
I went back for a visit on my 51st anniversary when I graduated. PLT 230, 2nd RTB “G” Co.
Commenced Apr “64” to July 1, “64”. We were right across the obstacle course and parallel to the airport runways. Gomer Pyle was being filmed at that time.
I had just moved to PHX in 2015 and decided to show my sons where I went through Boot Camp.
I’m wondering how you managed to go back to the area. We attempted to go to 2nd training area but were told it was off limits. So we just managed to walk on the permitted crossing area of the grinder. I can’t believe how so much of it has been “let go”. I don’t know why they are tearing it down. Where are they going to train Marines on the west coast?
Then we went to Camp Pendleton. Our oldest son was born there at the Naval Hospital. I can’t believe how run down the area by the lake looks. So sad.
I was very disappointed at the bad condition it has been allowed to go to waste.

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