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


  • Allan Winkle

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

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