Relating to Discipline

Sgt Grit;

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)

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

20 comments


  • Craig Roberts

    The Corps also drafted during Vietnam. In early November 1965, my squad was guarding a bridge near Hwy 1, just south of Da Nang. There were three bridges along a dirt road that used to be old French railroad tracks. Bridge One was the big black steel bridge that crossed the Riviere du Torraine (Da Nang River), Bridge Two, about 500 meters down the dirt road that split off Hwy 1, crossed a wide stream that connected two rice paddies (and was a USMC engineer steel bridge), and Bridge Three was a old French concrete bridge about 500 meters farther down the road. Each of our squads in 2nd Platoon, Mike 3/9 had a bridge to guard for two weeks. I was on watch one day and I saw one solitary Marine walking down the road toward us from Bridge One at sling arms. I was on watch and couldn’t believe a lone Marine would be walking down the road by himself! And at sling arms? The area was infested with VC of the R69 Main Force regiment and they had snipers (not very good shots, thank God!). When this young lad arrived I asked him what he was doing and he said he was looking for 2nd squad as he was assigned to us. I said “you’re lucky you didn’t get your ass shot off! Who are you?” He explained that he had just got out of ITR (Infantry Training Regiment–now called the School of Infantry at Pendleton), and was shipped out to Vietnam with other boots. AND he and several others were draftees! I couldn’t believe it. Draftees? In the Corps? He said that when he was drafted he was at the Induction Center and they had everyone line up and count off 1 to 10, then “Every tenth man take one step forward! YOU ARE NOW JOINING THE MARINES!” Draftee or not, Ken was a good Marine and a man that could always be trusted to do a good job, and we’re still in contact to this day. L/Cpl Craig Roberts, USMC 1964-68, LtCol. USA 1973-99.


  • A. Troy Morris Sgt. USMC 1964- 1968

    I was in the Corps from 1964 to 1968 and served with alot of Draftees. They were Marines and that was all I needed to know. I had the highest respect for them. They obeyed the law of the land and served their Country and their Corps, when others fled the country to get out of going to Viet Nam.


  • Terry Betts

    In reply to Larry Verbitsky.
    The Marines also drafted during Viet Nam. In boot camp, the DIs tried to get the draftees and the reservists to change their enlistment to 3 years.


  • Terry Betts

    Ssgt Burshong talks about is clothing issue. I was at MCRD in 1965. At that time we wore yellow sweat shirts. We had to earn the right to wear a utility shirt with the top button buttoned. We had to earn the right to every change, which included blousing our boots and finally getting to wear starched utilities.


  • David S. Martinez

    I was at MCRDSD from Oct. through Dec. 1967. I took a break from college and volunteered even though I was a sole surviving son and not draftable. When I was born in 1946, My Uncle Tony had already been a Marine two years and continued to serve for another twenty-eight years! I knew I had to serve in the Corps at some point. Plan had been to graduate and go to OCS. However, during my sophomore year more and more of my high school friends were serving in ‘Nam. Some dying or being wounded there and coming home not in best of shape. I could not in good conscience continue the college party life. My mother finally signed the waver that allowed sole surviving son to enlist and I reported to the San Antonio induction center. While at the center, the draftees were herded into an area and names were called out: So and so, Army; so snd so, Navy, etc.. When so and so Marines we’re called there was a collective: “Ooooo nooo!” and some “Aww sh*t!”s. Being a volunteer and having some college behind me, I was put “in charge” of two draftees till I turned their paperwork in upon arrival at the San Diego airport. We stayed close friends through boot camp. Another boot camp buddy was there because a judge had given him the option of Marine Corps or prison for manslaughter charges!


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