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!


  • Joe McHoul

    Hey Michael, I know how you feel about your MOS and being “old”. My MOS was 0839 that was titled “shore fire control party” which translated meant we were the naval gunfire forward observers. During the old style amphibious landings we went in with the first wave of Infantry. Our regular billet was with the artillery. Now I find that my entire old artillery Btn. – the 10th marines is no longer in business. WOW ,we are getting old.

  • Tom Garrison,

    Semper Fi Roger Tom Garrison 2207246. No only is the M1 gone but so are MSN’s I hear they now use Social Security numbers for Military IDs.

  • Donald P Manuel Jr.

    The last ITR company at San Onofre to use the M-1 Garand, (and the BAR), in training was Quebec Company in the Fall of 1967.
    I was there when the troop handlers had us change the big rocks around our huts to little rocks. Then they said they didn’t like the little rocks, they told us to bring the big rocks back. What a fun day. By the time we did all that it was too late to go on our very first Base Liberty. Etc., etc. Every day’s a holiday, and every meal a feast. Semper Fi, Mac.

  • Malcolm Forbes

    The M-1 was very good rifle. Mine was an H&R (4669737) that stayed with me for three years, from 1954 – 1957. I was in Plt 464, A Co, 1st Bn, until the rifle range where I got pneumonia. Handed my rifle to the DI at the 500, got into an ambulance to the Beaufort Naval Hospital, rejoined & graduated with Plt 467. Went by troop movement to Geiger, so my rifle stayed with me. Everybody in my squad fired rifle grenades using my rifle. It was dropped and filled with sand which I shook out during a live firing problem – and it still worked! On to Quantico, again by troop movement so I still kept the rifle. Shot expert regularly and I fired on the Quantico rifle team, and at one match at Ft Meade, using the National Match ammo, was plonking in a steady stream of 5’s & V’s at 600 yards. One click of windage would put the rounds to either side of the V-ring. It was just an issue rifle, never got more than the normal ordnance checks before the range. It was one fine rifle and I wish I had it today. It was accurate and rugged. In my opinion the Marines should issue a rifle in boot camp and have the individual ‘own’ it as long as a rifle is their issue weapon.

  • l tokach Former S/Sgt. USMC

    At Parris island 1965 and we where issued the M-14’s [Good Rifle] when we went to Camp Gieger for Infantry Training we where issued the M-1 Garand’s another long shot rifle however the 14’s had a 20 round clip and I believe the M-1’s had 8.

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