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My Summer of 1969

My Summer of 1969

DISCLAIMER

Recruit training in the Marine Corps has historically had a reputation for the use of obscene language and the physical abuse of recruits. What I am telling is what I saw and experienced. Another Marine of my generation or earlier would concur with what I re-live here. Some would say that what I tell has been overblown over time. All I can say is that I can’t make this up! For me, recruit training was the most stress filled experience of my life.

MAKING THE RACK

That mental videotape machine of mine did not record every minute I was at the recruit depot, just the moments that made an impression on me. And there were a lot of them.

I remember it was getting near dusk. The DI’s gathered the platoon together to show us how to make our bunks (rack) military style. After they demonstrated how to do it, they undid the bunk and then had a couple of recruits get in front of the platoon to try and do it. What a joke. They immediately began to screw it up and the DI’s start screaming at them.

One of these fellows starts to cry. I remember our Platoon Commander going over to this kid and acting like he was consoling him, when suddenly, he slaps him across the face! There was an immediate “gasp” that came from all of the recruits. I had heard that this sort of thing could/would happen, but to see it, that’s another thing. Then, our assistant DI, a thin wiry staff sergeant whose name I never cared to remember , looks at us with this evil grin and says “you ain’t seen anything yet! After your physicals, the real beatings begin.”

It’s time for lights out. After many attempts of jumping into our rack in a timely way to satisfy the DI’s demand for precision, they finely turn out the lights. I’m in a top bunk. I’d never slept in one before.

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Comments

Larry Mancini - December 5, 2022

Went thru Parris Island Platoon 176 May to July 1969. Any other Marines out there from Platoon 176? Drop me a line at mancini22@comcast.net.

Carl J Mankowski - September 14, 2022

May 69 mcrd San Diego plt 1092 gunny clipper and ssgt king what a wild ride

Craig McGlinn - August 28, 2022

Can anyone else from the summer of ’69 in San Diego recall/confirm whether or not we were all on an accelerated training? I remember comments that boot camp was condensed from 12 weeks to 8 weeks, but none of the usually training requirements were omitted; were there 35 training days? I got to MCRDSD on 16Jun1969, and we graduated 26Aug1969; we reported to 2nd ITR, Camp Pendleton on 27Aug1969 (my 18th birthday!) and left on 19Sep1969. If I remember correctly, the reasoning was that “the Corps needed more warm bodies in Nam”…

Craig McGlinn - August 28, 2022

My best friend, Carl, and I, we’re on the yellow footprints in San Diego on 16Jun1969- Plt 2111, Series 2109, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion. Our initial reaction was the typical “holy shit, what did we do?!” I can vouch for the vulgarity and “beatings” (our platoon was informed that these were “uniform adjustments”, NOT beatings… Bottom line, I believe we were/are all better Marines for everything we endured. Definitely a life changing experience- for the better. I wouldn’t trade it for anything… Semper Fi

Rick Ginn - April 4, 2022

I left Fort Worth Texas forSan Diego 8 May 1969. We arrived shortly before 2400. We were processed and assigned Platoon 3087. At sunrise we were shown how to make our racks. My senior DI was GySgt Alvarado. I can’t remember the staff sergeant’s name but he was about 6’5” built like Sly Stallone with his serial number tattooed under his wrist watch which he worn on his left hand. He took us to 5 movies during training and seldom made us run. He’d get us dressed for a 3-5 mile run and watch us just out of sight behind fences to the Navy training facility and halt us and tell us to break out the knowledge. After about 30-45 minutes he’d march us back for whatever was next on the agenda. Sure wish I could remember his name. I ran into him in 1976 in 1976 on Okunawa. He was an E-7. I was an E-6. Also has Ken vile duty with Gy Alvarado sane year. The Corps changed my life by teaching me self discipline both mentally and physically. My father-in-law was one of Carlson’s Raiders. CharlesVictor Cook.

Clarence Lee - January 12, 2022

Message to Clint Don a July 1969 we were in the same series sister cartoon I was in PLT 1099 our PLT guide was a big Samoan named Pritchard.I thing your guide was either Berry Or Estrada who was a platoon on a man

Clarence Lee - January 12, 2022

I entered MCRD San Diego may 29,1969 PLT 1099,sgt Barnette,sgt nunnery,Sr gunnery Artist.Graduation July 1969. staging camp margarita OCT 1969.got blue tagged because of de-escalation in Vietnam,sent to Barstow California,got west pack June 1970, assigned to Charlie 1 1/7 LZ Baldy until they shipped stateside.Then Fox 1 2/5 got hit march 3 1971 state side March 10 1971.Re enlisted in Army reserve retired E-7 23 years

Clarence Lee - January 12, 2022

I entered MCRD San Diego may 29,1969 PLT 1099,sgt Barnette,sgt nunnery,Sr gunnery Artist.Graduation July 1969. staging camp margarita OCT 1969.got blue tagged because of de-escalation in Vietnam,sent to Barstow California,got west pack June 1970, assigned to Charlie 1 1/7 LZ Baldy until they shipped stateside.Then Fox 1 2/5 got hit march 3 1971 state side March 10 1971.Re enlisted in Army reserve retired E-7 23 years

Rick Smith - December 23, 2021

i was there Dec 1969 MCRD PLT 1168? Stg Desantes Ssgt Brarnsal and Gunny? Dont remember his name was told at that time no more hitting but lots of PT and yelling. My next door neighbor growing up did the year books for the platoons he knew all the drill instructors…just a VERY little advantage…one afternoon coming back from sickbay he pull me in his office for a quick smoke, so he could let my mom I was doing ok. Oh and surprise I was in most pictures in the annual…which I have lost.

Ddmaujoe - April 17, 2020

Parris Island August 1969 plt. 1034. what don’t kill ya will make you stronger! Simper Fi.

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