Paint the Head Green

Paint the Head Green

While going through Boot Camp at S.D. in November 1950, everyone knew we were headed for Korea. What a relief to get to the Rifle Range at Camp Mathews at last, even if we had to live in tents due to the influx of recruits. Camp Mathews was on the East side of old highway U.S. 101 near Leucadia, CA. The first weekend there, the Junior D.I. had us all fall in on Sunday morning and selected 10 “boots” for a working party. Another NCO no one had ever seen before was standing by to take us to our work detail, whatever that was going to be. On his command, we were marched off to the “Easy Range”. At the range maintenance building, we were each issued a bucket of beautiful glossy Marine Green paint and a four inch brush, and told simply, “paint the head”, and the young Corporal left.

We painted the outside of the Head. He did not return. We painted the inside of the head. He did not return. We painted the urinals, the commodes, (including all the seats and porcelain, valves, and handles) the sinks and faucets, the deck, the screens and the windows. Everything was totally “Marine Corps Green”.
He did not return. We put the Paint cans beside the locker, jammed all the brushes in the solvent bucket and marched ourselves back to the platoon area.
About four hours later the DI had us fall in. The Range NCO was there who looked each one of us square in the eye and asked if we were on the working party to paint the Head, and we each individually answered “Sir, No Sir!”
I think the Range NCO came back two or three more times looking for green paint traces. Once to look at our boondockers, once to check fingernails. Neither he nor our Jr. DI ever found out who “painted the head green”.

P.S. A note to now Retired Sergeant Major M.A. Delgado, still living in Oceanside CA; The truth is out. Yessir, I was one of them!

Brad Robinson

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

9 comments


  • Randy Bjerke

    This is the same picture I received. Boot Camp Aug-Nov 1974. The picture was pretty accurate, except that the majority of the Quonset huts down by the obstacle course were already gone, leaving the foundations to be broken up by Correctional Custody or Motivation Platoon privates. We came back from San Onofre and spent a week or so in the Quonset huts by the grinder before going back into one of the “H” barracks. Oh, there was a curb between the drill field and the parking lot that doesn’t show up in this picture, either.


  • Sgt. Wolf aka Bob Rader

    Don’t remember a head in the butts at Camp Matthews. Do remember digging a “cat hole” while pulling targets to dispose of my BM.


  • Sgt. David Kennedy

    Early seventies photo I would say. Went to basic Aug 69 only was two new barracks in 2d Bn, and all Quancet huts along the grinder along with 2Bn mess hall.


  • Al Simmons

    I was in Platoon 68 at Parris Island between July and September 1950, do any one remember the names of our DI’s and any Marines that in H&S Co. 1st Bn. 3rd Mar. Div.that went on maneuvers to Iwo Jima or 3rd Engineers, I would like to hear from anyone.


  • James R. McMahon, GySgt, USMC (Retd)

    Can’t say that I remember the “green heads” at Camp Matthews, but I have fond memories of “Easy Range”; I went through boot camp in April 1951, working the butts, then firing Expert Rifleman on Easy, and then 8 years later, going back to Easy to work the same butts as a SSgt (E5), while assigned to HqBn, MCRDep. My memory chip malfunctions sometimes, but I recall sleeping in tents, even while at MCRDep. My DIs were Sgt. John Medas, Corporal William Ockert and PFC Allen Bipes; actually ended up working in the 3dRTBn after graduation as an 0143, Clerk Typist.


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