Slide for Life

Slide for Life

In September 1962, we were on the confidence course, the DI had us in formation, and had us count off by fours. I was a four, and he told us every “4” would come to attention when we were coming down the slide. Now truthfully,I thought “good” because it looked impossible to. So I get going, and I changed a couple of the moves, and I thought, shit I can do this. Well I heard the DI call me to attention, but I kept going, because now I knew I could finish. When I got down ,the DI called me over,and asked for an explanation. Well I gave him a lame ass excuse, ” Sir ! The recruit didn’t hear the Drill Instructor Sir”. I foolishly thought that was it. We Returned to the barracks, and lined up for a head call. About ten recruits ahead of me was passing a hatchway and a fist came out at blinding speed,and hit him square up side the head, and knocked him across the passageway. Now I knew what awaited me for my disobedience. But for better or maybe worse I knew what was coming! I got up to the Hatch, and the fist came out, and also knocked me across the Passageway a lesson learned, but I was glad I had completed the slide anyway!
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  • buzz alpert, Sgt E-5, 1906-66

    I was at P.I. 19 June 1960. I was 5′ 9″/150 pounds and in great physical condition. I could do more push ups, sit ups then just abput any body in Platoon 152. I like staying in shape and still do it to some degree to this day and I’m an old man. A month or so into boot camp we had to run an obstacle course and my senior DI, Sgt. Davis said I would represent our recruit platoon against the other 3 platoons in our company. He clearly explained that if I didn’t win I would have his size 10 up my aXX. I said, “YES SIR” and I meant it. The first obstacle was a log running vertically down the course. They said go and we all jumped up to walk down the log. I immediately fell off and hit the ground. I saw my life ending. 300 hundred recruits screaming at the top of their lungs. I think if I had some Kaopectate I would have taken a swig. I leaped to my feet and up onto the log in a flash. I flew like a bird in flight. I ran like a sprinter down the log, jumped to the next few obstacles and passed one guy, then another and I was nearing the end of the course. The only thing left was the rope climb and it looked like it went to the top of the Empire State Building. I had visions of a size 10 boot kicking me up and over the rope like an extra point in a football game. I left the next to last obstacle in a dead run, sprinting to save myself a butt kicking. I decided I would climb it hand over hand, not using my legs because the last guy was already on his rope and headed up. I dove for the rope Tarzan style, caught it and swung out as I kept climbing hand over hand just as fast as I could swing my arms up. To my amazement I was even with the other recruit and I saw the top piece of metal that held the rope and swung my hand up, stretching to reach it and beat the other guy by a hair. I heard another drill instructor scream, “My turd won!” But Sgt.Davis screamed that I won. I exhaled and slid down that rope like it was greased. Sgt.Davis didn’t say anything to me and I was fine with that as long I escaped the boot. Of course with my crazy propensity to laugh when they screamed at me you can be sure I got many gut punches, slaps on the ear with the DI’s ring, kicks, etc. Like most of us I never said a word and rolled with punches. However, on graduation day, a proud moment in my life, my junior DI, Sgt. Jimmy E. McCall found me after the formation was dismissed to tell me he gave me all that “Special attention” because he wanted to make sure I’d make a good Marine. All that pounding was worth it to hear from a guy I really admired as an American patriot and one heck of a fine Marine. He was only 3 years older than I was at the time. In June of 1993 I sent Sgt. McCall a letter of thank you for putting the grit in my gut and making a man out of me. I did it through the Commandant and he wrote me a very nice thank you note for recognizing what Sgt. McCall did for me. I never heard back from him another Marine, Larry Netter, informed me that McCall made Captain in Viet Nam and passed away a few years ago. I only hope he got my letter.


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