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My Summer of 1969

My Summer of 1969


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.


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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Marlena Silva - April 4, 2024

Anyone party at the Johnson house?

Ronald Molash - January 23, 2024

Assigned to Platoon 2140 upon my arrival July 28, 1969. My drill instructors were SSGT Hernandez, SSGT Gavel, and GYSGT Montgomery. The oldest recruit was 26 and I was one of the few 17 year olds in the platoon. I barely qualified with the M14 but I could outrun everyone in the 3 mile run. We graduated on October 2, 1969 four days after my 18th birthday.

Robert Parks - January 20, 2024

I was in plt 1181 in SEPT 1969 anyone else?

Thomas Dunn - December 12, 2023

Carl Mankowski

I was in Platoon 1092 MCRD in May 1969

Jerry Steele - November 28, 2023

I was at pl in April 6,1969; trying to find anyone was there during that time.
Went to Vietnam October 1969 2/7 marines. Hit me up

Jesse Newsom - May 28, 2023

Trying to find anyone who knew joseph newsom, 3023 1969 camp pendleton or has a graduation boom that can scan photos for me, his book was lost in a Fire

R Warner - January 28, 2023

Plt 2023 at PI 1969. Arrived 8/1/69. Graduated 10/6/69. I was designated the “Scribe” during forming, and remained in that position until graduation. What I do remember most vividly during “forming” is, literally, being hanged by a DI who used my own belt to do so because I didn’t have military alignment on my belt buckle; I missed a school circle that was conducted 30 minutes before because another DI had taken me into the DI’s office to instruct me on what I had to do as the scribe. The shock was enough to set me straight on what I had to do to make it off the Island in the shortest time possible by not being setback and picked up by another platoon. I was the only Jewish recruit in my platoon, which was a problem for my DIs because I wasn’t what they expected; a college boy with a GT of 143 who turned down officer training when it was offered to me during forming, a body builder, and a sharpshooter (even though I was blind as a bat). P.S. I’ve maintained military alignment on my belt buckles since, including as a trial lawyer for 40+ years. Semper Fi to all.

Rolando Garcia - January 23, 2023

Reply to Jerome nix, I was plt guide to
Plt 1146 during that time. Came in second to Slim he was fast and long legs. Had a good time with all of. Contact me looking for other members. Gy Lopez Bobo and martinez

John Duncan - January 12, 2023

Was in Plt 2109 1969 got there 16 June 1969. Was in the same series as Craig McGlinn. Was 19 at the time.

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

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