New Words

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

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


  • M. A. Mondragon

    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!

  • Frank Paravatoo

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

  • Cpl. Wayne W. Carlin

    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.

  • Thearle J. Lacey, Jr. 1970XXX

    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.?

  • Jimmy Bandarek

    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.

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