Reading the many recollections of Boot Camp has brought many a laugh. A very vivid memory for me occurred on a pleasant Saturday evening at MCRD in April 1963. This particular evening became an “memorable” encounter with pain for Platoon 218.
We had returned to our area after evening mess, and as we stood in formation on the Platoon Street, Cpl Wright (Jr DI), commanded us to commence doing 102 “up-and-on-shoulders” with M-14s. Instantly from somewhere within the ranks came a moan and muffled “s–t”. Cpl Wright, as all DIs would do, increased the number of reps to 1003. “Ah, s–t” was heard to come from another area of the formation. At this point, I realized that Platoon 218 was doomed to a most horrible penalty. Yes, the good Cpl, with menace in his voice, announced, “2003 up-and-on- shoulders”. Silence filled the air, as the shock of reality filled every “boot”!
After about 500 reps, the pain became secondary, and survival took command of my mind and body. Another “boot” in formation in front of me began to sag after about 2000 reps. This so incensed me, realizing that if anyone fell out we would probably all be doing these reps until “h&ll froze over, that I did the only sensible thing! I smacked him on the top of his head with my rifle and yelled that if he quit, I would beat him senseless.
Well, every “swinging d–k” completed the 2003 reps! It was very “enlightening” to each of us. I know that I had a deeper appreciation of life. I have shared this tail of pain with other Marines over the years and each just nods and then shares his own craziest or painful experience at PI or MCRD.
Memories are wonder, even the ones that came with pain and fear, because those are the ones that helped to develop us into Marines!
Bob Lonn, USMCR (Sgt.)