By: Tearlach Sinclair
I arrived in the United States in January of 1968 from Scotland and enlisted in the Marine Corps in May of 1968. I arrived at MCRD San Diego on 9 June 1968, and after being up all of the night before embarking and all of the day, too, arrived at the base at about 2100 hours. As we came off of the bus, we were met by Marines in Campaign Hats who all seemed to be yelling at us at the top of their lungs. We finally got the idea and proceeded to get on the yellow footprints. I was on the line closest to the yelling Marines as the line surged back and forth, all of us trying to get our own set of footprints. The lad in front of me stepped on my foot and caused me to stumble into
the lad behind me, who promptly fell onto the lad behind him. Suddenly I was the focus of all of those guys in the Campaign Hats and they were all yelling loudly at me. Finally the yelling tapered off and one Marine got right up in my face and screamed “What are you doing, you piece of sh-t? What are you doing in my Marine Corps?” I looked at him, feigning surprise and said in a heavy Highland accent “Marine Corps? I thought that was the bloody bus to Disney Land!” There was total silence as everyone, it seemed, was staring at me. Then the Marine who had asked me those pointed questions, screamed again, right in my face, ” Get down on the ground, you piece of sh-t! Are you a f-cking comedian? Are you a funny guy? Start doing push ups until I tell you to stop! Get down now!” So, as all the other recruits were being told what to do, I was face down on that tarmac doing push ups and was made to stay there long after the others had gone on to begin processing into the Marine Corps. Finally I was allowed to get up and two of those Marines ran me, screaming all the way, through my processing. I was the last one through everything and had the accompaniment of those two “escorts”. If I learned anything that night, it was that Marine Drill Instructors did not appreciate a sense of humor in a piece of sh-t.