Real Rifles At Parris Island

Real Rifles At Parris Island

At Parris Island in August of 1960, we still had the “REAL” rifles (M1 Garands) with stacking swivels. The stacking swivel actually had two very important uses. Number one was to enable the weapon to be stored in the upright position when hooked to two other rifles in a “teepee”. The second was as a motivator as in “All right girls, gettum’ out by the stacking swivels”, which was used by our Drill Instructors when somebody was out of step in the platoon. On this command we had to hold the 9.5 pound weapon straight out from the body by the stacking swivel between the thumb and forefingers of both hands. On a hot August Parris Island grinder, it wasn’t long before the strongest among us was in serious pain trying to stay in an upright position. The stacking swivel was indeed a very important part of Marine Corps lore and the source of sea stories. I hated to see it go.

Cpl Norm Spilleth
’60 – ’64

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


  • Carlton King

    we had them on m14s when he yelled stack arms

  • James Sanders

    I got to PI in July of 61. Platoon 144, D Company, 1st BN. Outposted on Friday, October 13. Been my lucky day ever since! I agree, we didn’t have OOH RAH back then.

  • John Engel

    John Engel July 14 2019. We got to PI end of 58’ starting platoon 109. Yeah I know what you are thinking “ OLD SCHOOL “, well I guess it was. Old school type training also. We were giving m1 that we’re still wrapped in cosmoline with brown wrapping paper. What a mess to clean up..the DIs were kind enough to give us some steel wool to get the roughness off the stock.good huh ?. Yes it was one heavy weapon & we were taught to respect it. We only had a couple men that had a problem trying to qualify,but the range officers helped them without bullying. I did well & came out with a expert badge.had that rifle till I went to aviation school. Hated to loose a good friend.

  • Dan Colclaser

    I joined the reserves in high school in Pgh. and did the meetings and a summer camp at LeJeune prior to going regular. Hit PI 1Oct54-18 Dec. Had shot the M1 a lot prior so DI said you only need to qualify and made me the right guide so I carried the guidon the whole time😁. Shot 245 on qual day in the rain. 4 didn’t qualify. DI made them stand, put their covers on backward, look up into the rain and shout we’re s— birds from Yamassee until they were hourse. Never did figure that one out.
    Long story short. 1980 I decided to buy an M1 thru the Civilian Marksmanship Program. Got brand new Springfield, still in cosmoline for $90. Started a Maryland Marine shooting team and shot at Quantico on a regular basis where I got to meet Sgt. Hathcock. He was out of the Corps by then but still came to the meets. He would pick up a rifle fire a couple rounds to get his dope and then proceed to put 10 in the 10 ring, from 1000 yards! Amazing.
    I had my rifle customized by a Staff Sgt. who was an armorer for the shooting team. Full National Match with .25MOI. Shot 10 years in a lot of matches. Rifle was better than I😬😬😬. Still have it. Been offered $2000 for it as Hathcock had fired it!

    Semper Fi

  • aardq

    Went through ITR in Feb of 68, and we were told that we were the first M Co to draw the M-14 as the previous M Co has M-1s.

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