Spit Shined Boots and Boondockers

Yes I remember those days. Boot camp MCRDSD 1959. Being the only Japanese American recruit in boot camp, you can imagine what it was like. Yes I did got thumped by a Jr DI, because his older brother was KIA on Iwo Jima. The senior DI took care of him prior to graduation. My boot and boondockers , dress shoes were always shining When I joined my battalion after bootcamp and ITR, my boots and boondockers were the brightest you ever saw. My platoon sargeant and platoon commander always asked me how I did it. Just told them, spit/polish and a good polish rag. Was like that for 10 years.
Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!


  • Sgt Lon Unsell, USMC

    In the early 50s in Korea, you were advised not to shine your boots.

  • Frank Walker (SSgt, CWO3, Capt, USMC(Ret)), RVN 67-68

    I remember spending hours sitting on my footlocker in the squad by using the small m-nu bottle to bottle shine a new pair of the old rough out boots so they could eventually be spit shined. I also spent hours rubbing linseed oil into my rifle stock to shine it. We kept our rifles in the squad bay back then. I remember contests of who could field strip and reassemble their rifle the fastest plus who could make up the best field transport pack the fastest.

  • Richard Dotson

    If the photo is supposed to be in 1959 it is all wrong. Marines didn’t wear camo utilities in ’59. Also, the boots were “rough side out”. Yes they were still spit shined, but this photo doesn’t look right. — I went thru boot camp @ PI in ’62.

  • John T. Lefker Sgt.

    Yes we done the same thing over and over. I still spit shine my shoes and fold tee shirts and shorts. 1953 San Diego. Still love my Corps and will till the day I die.

  • John w Clemons

    I still love that labor of love.

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