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I arrived at MCRD San Diego, 18 years old from the midwest and we were gathered together and issued a sweat shirt and a cover (hat) fitted to our head with a full head of hair, a pail and a brush. Then we went to the barber shop and all our hair was cut off, the cover became to large for our heads, but went down over our ears. Our DI’s shouted out the word “Shit Bird” I had never heard that word before, but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I was one standing there at attention, cover over my ears, a pail, a brush and a sweat shirt, still in civilian pants and shoes. Not sure of the timing, but we were marched to the quanset hut where we would spend 3 months and with the pail and brushes we scrubbed everything from top to bottom, in the meantime being sprayed by water type fire extinguishers by the DI’s, who were shouting some brand new words that I had never heard before…I had not been a prissy person, but I was shocked at some of the new words we heard and learned.

WOW – guess it was a kind of shock treatment, We then were marched over to get our issue of clothing, locker, and we were constantly bombarded with the opposite of love and affection! I buried my smile in a 4 X 4 hole I dug in the sand, no longer intentionally smiling – If we filtered out the new words the DI was uttering, there would not have been very much said.

What a time from being a Real Shit Bird to 3 months later when our Platoon marched at our graduation, all so very proud to graduate from being a recruit to becoming a MARINE! that was in 1953 and now at 81 years old I am still Proud to be a MARINE! No longer a shit bird! Semper Fi


Parris Island late 1956 Platoon 297, 5th Bn. Senior DI T/Sgt R. Sumpter, Jr. DI Sgt. Vido. 50 years later I treated my Sr DI (32 yr. Retired Sgt/Maj) to a steak dinner. He called me “Vince.” I said Sir, Yes Sir. He laughed, I didn’t. I never heard before that I was a “maggot.”

Vince Fischelli,

I got to PI in July 1969 and the culture shock was immediate to every one of us. I thought my DI the epitome of excellence when he referred to one of my fellow recruits as “The Slimy Afterbirth of a Cockroach” Only a Drill Instructor could be that creative! Nothing , not even whalesh!t, could be lower than that!

Mac McCauley,

We (Plt. 375, PI, fall of 1962) were all trying to get the hang of USMC language (deck, cover, bulkhead, mess hall, etc.). Early on, a recruit came out of the mess hall uncovered one day and when the Senior DI asked him where his cover was he said “Sir, the private left it in the chuck wagon, sir!” ‘Bout the only time I can remember SSGT Rivers smiling. Semper Fi.

Cllff Lawson,

In reply to Sgt. Larry Stoneking. Plt 355.
Almost better that they can quit, isn’t it? They would suck at being a real Marines! Let their moms keep them, because remember, before there was boot camp, there was Mom. The making or breaking sometimes begins at home.

Proud MoM,

In reply to John Carr.
John,im 51 was on the Island in 84 and at Lejeune up until 87 drinkin the water.I now went to VA for health care if somethings hits me healthwise I’m letting the gov pay for it considering.When did u experience these health related issues and what else besides kidney cancer?I hope for better health devil dog and pray for all our brothers we lost at Lejeune due to their negligence.

Cpl Herrle,

Honor Platoon 202 July 4, 1953. Thank you Sgt Montgomery, Cpl Morrison and PFC Pallot. At 17 headed the wrong way, save my life. At 81 now I am grateful to you and to the Marine Corps.Semer Fi!

M. A. Mondragon,

Sounds like P.I. in 53 except the hole we dug was for funeral of a sand flea someone killed.

Frank Paravatoo,

1960 plt.246 honor platoon in the series. My favorite DI words were slimy dog shit. Of course being from Texas, we received special treatment. Our senior DI was Gunny Beebe fine squared away man. MCRD was a great life changing event but not a big shock to the son of a Marine. My dad was in the 1st Div. and spent 2 years in China.

Cpl. Wayne W. Carlin,

In reply to Cpl Jim.
Cpl Jim: I was at PI Jul 7, 1961 to Sep 27, 1961, Plt #339. Looking for my grad book or someone who could upload my Dress Blues photo. Were you there at that time and in that Plt.?

Thearle J. Lacey, Jr. 1970XXX,

In reply to Herb Schulstadt.
A lot of Marines at that time thought an 8 week boot camp was always the way it was. It was reduced but when I have no idea. I was in Plt 361, April 8th to June 5th, ’68, 4 weeks at SD, 2 weeks at the range, then 2 weeks back to SD.

Jimmy Bandarek,

Looking for grad. book Plt. 226 Spring 1858 or photo of myself GERALD J. LAVELLE.


In reply to Charles w. McKellar.
Semper Fi Mustang.

Jim Mitchell,

In reply to Wayne Whitehead.
Platoon 318, PI, in July 51, got heat stroke, hauled off to Beaufort Naval Hospital for a week, transferred to Platoon 324, graduated there. Would love to hear from old buddies from 318. Was an Army brat, got a crew cut and practically memorized the Guidebook for Marines figuring I’d get a jump on boot camp. Damn DI’s weren’t impressed, but sure impressed the hell out of me. Love the Corps to this day, regret I didn’t make it a career. Semper Fi and to hell with that new Corps Oorah stuff—GUNG HO’s the word!!!!

R G Rycraft Sgt(E-4),

MCRD 1959, one week after high school grad. On the foot prints and to quanset huts and time at camp Mathews, with platoon 334 then to ChuLai with force Logistic Support motor transport. July 1960 transferred to. MCLFDC Camp Pendleton working with MCLFDC And Discharged.

Jerrry D Lee,

In reply to Cpl Herrle.
Cpl Herrie, I lost my left kidney Oct 1986. I also have problems with my right kidney and a nervous disorder. The Va is now paying out on these claims. Pull up Camp Lejeune Water Problem and it tells you the ailments that the water caused. There are several types of cancer on the list. I wish you the best.

John Carr,

In reply to Jimmy Bandarek.
Could have sworn it was longer then 8 weeks got to MCRDSD 7 NOV 68 have to get my boot camp book and look it up. I was 17 at 18 was in the Nam. Do not know witch was scarier. Good night MAGGOTS

Joel Dube,

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