Recently there have been two letters relating to discipline for putting hands in pockets in boot camp. I just wanted to add my experience to the pot. But first let me give a little of my background:
I was drafted into the Marine Corps during the Korean conflict. At the height of the conflict there apparently were not enough volunteers to meet the need so the Corps resorted to the draft. The draft for the Marines started on 1 August 1951 and I was drafted on 6 August in Indianapolis Indiana and shipped by train to San Diego. We arrived at the receiving barracks late on Friday afternoon and slept there over night before being assigned to a platoon (228). On Saturday we were issued all of our clothing, bucket, etc. and instructed to dress in Utilities (the herringbone twill, solid green ones with stenciled logo on the pocket) and boon Dockers (rough out, ankle height). These utilities came from the manufacturer with a stiff paper tag stapled to each and every piece of cloth that went into the garment. We were told not to take off any of these tags until told to do so. We also had to pull our covers (caps) down to our ears, I guess to let everyone else know we were green boots. One day, after chow I had fallen back into formation while we waited for the stragglers and I reached into my pocket to remove one of those pesky staples that was digging into my leg with every step and my drill instructor saw me from some distance away. The punishment was for me to fill my pockets with sand, sew them shut and wear them that way until he told me I could empty them. After three days I quietly emptied my pockets and hoped he would not notice. Eventually he did notice but I explained that I understood it to be for three days and he let it go.
Even though I was drafted into the Marine Corps I was treated just like any other boot and later was given schooling, etc. just the same as if I had volunteered. That may have changed after the higher ups got wise to the fact that by the time these draftees finished with schooling they did not have enough time left to serve in Korea. However, I am just as Gung Ho as anybody else and maybe more so. I did not succeed in producing any Marine Corps children. I do have one son that is a graduate of the Naval Academy and is now a Navy Captain (25 years) at SHAPE Headquarters in Belgium and another son that is a helicopter pilot in the Army (20 years), I have two granddaughters at the US Naval Academy now and a grandson who is a Corporal in the Marine Corps at Quantico VA. So you see I really do have a military family, even if they are not all Marines.
One other thing: All this chatter about earning the “Eagle, Globe and Anchor”. I cannot remember ever hearing anything about that back in the early 50’s when I was in nor have I ever heard anything like that since until I started getting this newsletter. I never thought it was any big deal, they were simply emblems we wore on our uniforms. I don’t think the average person today treats it any different than that. I cannot see any problem with parents or relatives wearing these emblems in support of their Marine Corps service members.
SSgt Merton Bushong
(Active 1951-1953, Reserves -1959)