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New Recruit Motivation 1966

New Recruit Motivation 1966

One of my fathers favorite stories to share was about being a DI at MCRD in 1966. The story goes that the new recruits were brought to an assembly area close to the fence facing the San Diego Airport. All the new recruits had their ill-fitting utilities on and shaved heads so everybody looked the same on day one. Mixed in with the recruits was another DI wearing utilities. One of the DI’s was telling the new recruits that going AWOL would get them shot for desertion during a time of War (Viet Nam was going hot and heavy at the time). Well the fake recruit gets up, says he can’t take it anymore and runs for the airport fence. One of the DI’s happens to have an M14 locked and loaded (with blanks) during the desertion speech. The fake recruit starts climbing the fence. The DI with the M14 yells a warning and then Bang Bang, that was the end of that recruit because he falls to the ground and a life changing impression was made on all of these future Marines. S/Sgt Roger D. Marsh (Ret) is now guarding the gates of Heaven. God Bless America and the US Marine Corps.
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Allan Winkle - April 2, 2020

I was there in August 1967, and our DI’s told us that same story, some lost it anyway.

Cpl J. W. Hornsey Mike 3/1 CUPP RVN 1970 - April 2, 2020

Started Boot Camp July 7, 1969. I was standing on the Yellow Footprints shaking in my shoes about to pee my pants. A Gunnery Sgt was walking up and down screaming at us. A the sudden in front of me he stopped, turned to me and hit me in the stomach the hardest I have ever been hit in my life. I went down and right back up as he returned to screaming at everyone. I do say though that made me try to fly under the radar as much as possible through Boot Camp. You here all the comments about P.I.versus San Diego. I believe that airport being there has a big physiological effect on people. You see the planes leaving and it works on you.

bob colbert - April 2, 2020

MCRD, San Diego , Yellow foot prints, Trying to Hear your DI over the jets taking off , Yeah looking over that fence wondering if you would ever see the outside again? Quonset huts were still there in 1966 when I was there, seem so long ago? SGT Troutman, S/SGT Estrada, SGT Garcia Thanks for what you did all those years ago.

Jim Barber - April 2, 2020

Roger, this would have been a great story to submit for my book, “SH*TBIRD! How I Learned to Love the Corps.” If you will submit it to, along with your platoon number, date of enlistment and your dress blues boot photo I will save it for a possible follow-up book 2.

Al Johnston - April 2, 2020

In reply to Don Harkness.
Don, that sounds like Staff Sgt. Day I knew He liked to pull that kind of stuff. Of our drill instructor Day was the one that enjoyed punishing recruits. The others hit you and that was it. Day would go much further.

Roger S. Marsh - April 2, 2020

In reply to Carl Gregory.
Always good to hear from a Marine that knew my Dad. He made great friends with his fellow DI’s. He always said that being a DI was the most demanding job but also gave him the greatest satisfaction. You can find more about S/Sgt Marsh at Memorial #27721251. God Bless,

Roger Schoenfelder, SSgt. USMC 66-76 - April 2, 2020

In reply to SSgt Wesley A. Kent USMC ’65 – ’73.
The far right pic is Capt. E.J. McDonough, C.O. A Company

James L Howitz - April 2, 2020

MCRD San Diego, We called those recruits, HOLLYWOOD MARINES.

Ron Rehl - April 2, 2020

This story could have or not have happened. I personally doubt it, but it is good entertainment. I was a ‘boot’ there in July 1966 in platoon 3063. The thought of having died and gone to hell did cross my mind. Platoon S/Sgt Rainer, Sgt Sar (spelling?) and Sgt Tucker were tough but with a purpose. The morning our group from Ohio arrived in the San Diego bus station from the L.A. train station it started. Deserting was definitely mentioned and made clear that it would NOT end very good for you. A lot of yelling and no sympathy. It was do or else. Stepping off the bus at MCRD San Diego was the beginning of a whole new and ,at first, terrifying life. Nothing about it was easy. Every thing about served a purpose & was worth enduring, surviving, and learning from. AH, the stinking new and ill fitting uniforms. Let’s definitely not forget the yellow sweat shirts from which we got our new boot nick name. “CANARIES!” We were billeted in the Quonset huts right next to the ‘small grinder’ and as close to the airport as you could get. The sound was deafening at first. The world we had just left was feet and a fence away from freedom. If you dared. No one tried. Some didn’t make it through ‘boot camp’, but those are other stories.

Sgt. Douglas H. Elliott - April 2, 2020

MCRD Jan 27 1966, platoon 234

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