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SH*TBIRD! How I Learned to Love The Corps

This true story appears in my book “SH*TBIRD! How I Learned to Love The Corps” and illustrates how our Drill Instructors kept us on our toes. The longest month of my life was my first three days of boot camp. It seemed virtually impossible to say anything to a DI that was correct in his eyes, unless, of course, you were agreeing with his assessment that you were possibly the dumbest, most worthless specimen that had ever crapped between a pair of boondockers. This was one of the first things we learned. In fact, sometimes there just wasn’t a “correct” answer.

We had found out within minutes of arriving at MCRD that just about any infraction, whether real or imagined, was punishable by death. Well, maybe not death itself, but you still thought you were in Hell. Actually one DI told us that it wasn’t legal for him to kill us but there was no statute keeping him from making us wish he would and just get it over with. So, when a DI asked a question a wrong answer would usually be accompanied by summary judgment and punishment.

Either the second or third day – with so little sleep you couldn’t tell when one ended or the next started – we were in formation waiting to do something or other. Not wanting to waste any time our DI kept us at attention while he meandered between the ranks raising hell with first one boot and then another.

He was in the process of chewing on a recruit in the rank in front of mine when a guy to my right, instead of holding “eyes front”, let his eyeballs shift to the action. Big mistake! The DI forgot about the guy he had been working over and charged through to confront the miscreant.

“What the f**k were you looking at, Sh*tbird?!!” He’s got his face shoved within an inch of the recruit’s face.

“Sir! Nothing, Sir!”

“Bullsh*t!! You were looking at me, weren’t you?”

Busted. “Sir! Yes, Sir!”

“Why were you staring at me, Sh*tbird? Because you like me? Is that it?”

The recruit is nervous now. “Sir! No, Sir!”

The DI straightens up, the anger replaced by a quizzical look, a little hurt in his voice. “What do you mean, you don’t like me? Why not? What’s not to like?” He lifts his arms up, palms up and turns a circle. “Is it the way I dress?”

Now only a fool is going to criticize that uniform. “Sir! No, Sir!”

“So you like the way I dress?”

“Sir! Yes Sir!”

“And there’s no other reason you don’t like me?” A little edge is back in his voice.

“Sir! No, Sir!”

The Sergeant smiles. “So, you do like me?”

“Sir! Yes, Sir!”

Now a snarl. “Well, likin’ leads to lovin’, a**hole. And lovin’ leads to f**kin’! Do you believe you’re going to f**k me, you worthless piece of sh*t?!!!

Thoroughly confused, the recruit croaks “Sir! No, Sir!”

The Sergeant is shocked again. “Why the hell not? What have I done? What happened to likin’ and lovin’? Do you think you’re too damned good for me?”

The boot’s head is spinning. “Sir! No, Sir!”

“So, you DO think you would f**k me?”

“Sir! No, Sir!”

A malevolent look comes over the Sergeant’s face. “Well, you got that right, sh*t- for-brains! If anybody around here is going to get f**ked over, it sure as hell ain’t going to be me. And the next time I see you eyeballin’ this…” and he sweeps with both hands down his body, “instead of having your eyes forward where they belong, I will f**k over you and there ain’t gonna be any romance in it! Are we clear?”

“Sir! Yes, Sir!”

Like I said, no correct answers.

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G. Willard MCRD PI DI - May 22, 2020

With all due respect Cpl Searcy, I went thru boot in MCRDSD and NOONE had it tougher than any man who did his recruit time in any of my platoons at MCRDPI in ’70, ’71, ’72. They were ready for anything when we handed them their Eagle Globe and Anchor because they had survived the fire.

L/CPL Kevin B Mollica - May 22, 2020

Here is mine, Parris Island, SC November 1983 Platoon 1002. While working on our “Right shoulder arms” my DI S/SGT Brown realized that my rifle wasn’t at the correct angle. So he processed to fix the angle by introducing my rifle to the side of my head with one quick sharp movement, causing me to see stars. Unbeknownst to DI S/SGT Brown our platoon commander was right behind him. He asked S/Sgt Brown if he had just hit me in the head with my rifle. ‘No sir’ was his reply. The platoon commander then called me over and asked if I had been hit in the head with my rifle by S/SGT Brown. Of course my reply was ‘Sir No Sir’. I’m no fool. Semper Fi !

Norm Spilleth - May 22, 2020

Great book! Great memories. The tie that binds all Marines.

Allen Metner - May 22, 2020

While doing close order drill the DI became frustrated with our performance so he tells all of us to drop trou and huddle together and walk toward the barracks. As were moving he tells us to stay close together and he that he wants us to meander around on the parade field while he marched in front of us holding the platoon colors. When we met another platoon marching on the parade field he made us moo as loud as we could and he would loudly comment that if we wanted to march like cattle then we had to act like cattle. We did this all across the parade field meeting way too many other platoons along the way. Platoon 144, Parris Island, June 1965.

Waldo Searcy, Cpl USMC - May 22, 2020

You Shir_ Birds Brothers of mine, we had it worse in 1958,MCRDSD.

James Kanavy - May 22, 2020

Almost word for word of an exchange in my platoon. I also recall downing 2 bottles of “Ewe Juice” (Louisiana Hot Sauce) after answering a question with YOU while asking permission to make an emergency head call! Semper Fi Marines

Don - May 22, 2020

In reply to S/Sgt. M.L. Gregor 1180—-.

JAMES DOLAN - May 22, 2020

Platoon 2014, Foxtrot Company, MCRD San Diego. The year was 1981. For us, it was “OH, WE JUST WANNA EYEBALL THE AREA, HUH” Or it might be “WHY ARE YOU EYEFUCKING ME PRIVATE?”

Gunny48 - May 22, 2020

“You queer for my gear, Boy!!!?!”; “Who gave you eyeball liberty, maggot?!”; “Hippity hop…Mob stop!” (and many more. Parris Island 1969. Semper fidelis)

G. Willard MCRD PI DI - May 22, 2020

Amazing that recruits always, in retrospect, knew what we were doing and why. Actually, it was more like, “EWE, EWE?? A ewe is a female sheep recruit! Do I look like a female sheep? Do you know what you do with a female sheep private?? You **** a female sheep private? Do you want to **** me private???” Blood in my eyes, jugular veins bulging, spitting in your face with garlic breath, ranting, all the while bouncing the hardened like a brick (we won’t tell you how we did that) brim of my Campaign Cover off the bridge of your nose, daring – just daring! – you to twitch so I could finally kill you…or so you thought, just like you are now (you’re laughing now Marine, but you weren’t laughing then). Then we’d go off duty and go by the NCO or Staff NCO club and suck down a beer, all the while laughing our asses off at who had struck the most terror that day. Semper Fi, Do or Die! © 2017

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