In Reply to "D.I. Motivation and Inspiration"

The night before graduation, we were getting ready, spit shining shoes, cleaning M-14’s, getting the last of the speeches from our senior Drill Instructor. He looked at all of us with a look we had never seen on his face before. “You’re all going to Vietnam. Do you think you’re tough after what we put you through here? You’ll know how tough you are if and when you hear these five words-“Gentleman, prepare to defend yourselves”. When it actually happened to me,my blood ran cold. Tell that to some 21 year old kid today-they don’t have a fucking clue! I can’t believe that in 3 months it will be 50 years ago-half a century!

Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!


  • Leonard D’Arrigo

    50 years here also, boot camp in PI , 2nd battalion, plt 294 old wooden barracks. We had to wash the squad bay every day in order so it wouldn’t burn up. After testing and training I became a 1371 combat engineer skilled in carpentry, field fortifications, demolitions and airstrip assembling, similar to the Navy seebees. Went to Vietnam in June 1966, landed in DaNang, Vietnam to the sound of Phantom jet engines. Then we were loaded onto 6-bys and traveled to ChuLai , where we heard different engines , CH-34, CH-46 and UHI-E helicoptures. This changed my whole life. We lived in wooden framed hootches covered with tents and the 8 AM temperature was already 110 deg. We were attached to MABS-36 doing all sorts of work around the base during the day ,but at night had the luxury of manning our bunkers when the sirens went off. The village of KyHa was about 1 mile away , so we employed some civilian day labors not knowing that some of them could be NVA sympathizers. I was in country for 12 months and 22 days both in ChuLai and later moving to Phubai. All in all I was in some scary situations but GOD saw fit to keep and protect me. I am proud to have served my country when called upon, not like some who fled to Canada. I resented all those who called us baby killers. GOD bless America and Semper Fi. L/CPL L.DArrigo

  • C.R. Cool;

    C.R. Cool; Was also @ P.I. in 1965! What Platoon & Battalion were you in? Contact me @ if you will. Roger D. Stewart.

  • Lynn B Webster

    I was wounded 50 years ago today (operation cimmeron) God allowed me to live.Thank you Lord.Thank you all that were there to carry me to the med-evac chopper.God bless All that served then and now,F/2/9 3rd MarDiv. July 5th 1967.

  • Joe Rainey L/Cpl 75-79

    I found that kind of odd too.


    In 1969 in the last week or two of boot camp we received a new D.I. that was filling in for another one of our Drill Instructors that was being assigned a platoon of his own. One day this new D.I. told us how lucky many of us were being here. “If this were peacetime, a third of you wouldn’t have made it through here”. I might have been one of them. But later I thought, many of these “borderline Marines” that come in during wartime contribute to adding to the glorious history of the Corps.

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