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!

29 comments


  • G.J.lavelle

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


  • Jim Mitchell

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


  • R G Rycraft Sgt(E-4)

    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!!!!


  • Jerrry D Lee

    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.


  • John Carr

    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.


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