SSgt

By: Tom Furry

I joined the Corp right after my 17th Birthday in August of 57. I went through processing in Cleveland Ohio and then our group went by train to PI. We got off the train at Yemassee and a Greyhound Bus was waiting. Piled on for the ride to PI. When we arrived we went to Receiving and that’s when the fun started. We all remember Receiving and getting off the bus and there were no yellow foot prints. I remember when the bus stopped and the door opened this screaming tornado wearing a Campaign Hat instructed us to get off HIS bus in no uncertain terms which we did rapidly. We formed into 3 rows of tall corn on HIS deck. Our group leader had our paper work which one of the DI’s took and as it was about 3AM we were put to work doing menial jobs as our DI’s wouldn’t set upon us till later. I was wearing a sport coat which my Mother insisted I wear when I left home and one of the DI’s spotted me and said “Here, you look like a college man” and where upon he gave me a push broom and told me to sweep down. I think we were given breakfast at some time but I’m not sure of exactly when.
We started out as Plt 256 which I was not with very long as I was a “fat body” at 198! Ha! I wish I weighed 198 now but that’s another story. Anyway, I got sent to the “Strength Platoon” which was a FUBAR as I should have gone to the “Fat Body Platoon” but it was full up so I ended up in Strength. The only difference as far as I could tell was the fat guys were on a diet whereas strength could eat all we wanted. Didn’t take me long to figure out that I should be on a diet too.
We did PT all day long. In those days fat and strength were in a barracks out by the rifle ranges
and we did our PT behind that barracks. There was an oval asphalt track behind the barracks with a grassy center. We would do PT and then take a lap, PT and take a lap all morning long, break for noon chow then back at PT and laps till supper time. We took showers and got ready for supper. That was the day at that time. Have no idea what goes now!
Anyway, after 20 days I passed the PFT and transferred out to Plt 276. In those days the Corp was forming a Plt a day.
So, I arrive at Plt 276 which as in what was called the 3rd Bn area, I think. May have been the old 4th Bn area. After 63 years some memories fade.
Anyway I was dropped off in front of a Quonset Hut and told to wait. As I waited I could hear cadence being called and the sound of double timing feet. They were weaving in and out of the rows of Quonset Huts and after about 10 minutes or so they came around to the front of the hut where I was waiting and the DI looked at me and said “Who the fuck are you”? I squeaked out “Pvt Furry, Sir reporting as ordered”. He said fall in at the rear. As I did he yelled “Double Time” and off we went. That was my introduction to then SSgt Robert Rubachko! The finest Marine I ever knew. He retired as a Major but that’s another story.
To be continued if I can find this place again.
One thing I would like to say is being a Marine is a state of mind! I imagine Soldiers, Sailors, Air Men and Coast Guards all feel the same way about their Services. Could be wrong.

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

14 comments


  • G. Willard 0311, 8651/0321, 8511,….

    Andrew: Why do grunts love you engineers? Simple, a bullet won’t go thru that D-9 blade. Not an original, heard that from some of my uncles from WWII talking about seabees.


  • G. Willard 0311, 8651/0321, 8511,….

    Cpl Gardner:
    Every year Drill Instructors hold reunions, one in SD and another in Beaufort (P.I.). You MIGHT be able to post on the reunion site. Don’t anyone be offended if you don’t get a response, but in a two year tour in those days we could go thru 2,000 recruits, counting drops and pickups.
    Laughing my a** off with all of you noticing how many of these boot camp memories resonate thru the ’50’s, ’60’s, and on. SEMPER FI!!


  • Andrew Gardner Cpl 1371

    Know your pain. I had the pleasure of a month long stay at “weak body” platoon in Feb69. Fat body platoon was on the other side of the barracks, all across from the rifle range. Same routine as weak bodies other than their diet. I was sent to 2nd Bn, Plt 231, where upon arrival, a Cpl showed me my bunk, and was told to stand at attention until the Drill Instructor showed up. It didn’t take but a few minutes until I heard a voice in the Co. office say “Where is he?” Shortly after that I was face to face with then SSgt C. Reid, never did find out what the C. stood for. For fifteen minutes or longer, I went through an interrogation of who was I, what were you doing here, are you a spy, and who knows what else he could ask me. The main thing said was he didn’t like me, but I could make him like me if I did what I was told to do,like I was taught to do, when told to do it. The next few weeks were a blur as time went by. SSgt Reid became GySgt, and we graduated Apr 29th, 1969. I have never found out what ever happened to GySgt Reid, but I hope he did well, as he was a fine example of a Marine Drill Instructor, and a leader.


  • Donald J McKeon

    I followed you a few months later being a member of Platoon 167, graduating in Oct, 1958. I also took a train to Yemassee – however, we spent about 18 hours in a building across from the depot waiting for our entire platoon to arrive. There were bunks in the building and we were allowed to sleep. As you might have expected, about 3 am, the lights came on, metal trash cans were thrown across the floors and we were instructed to board the Greyhound buses waiting for us. Like many heading to the Island we arrived in the middle of the night. I understand there is or was a yearly reunion for those that went through Yemassee on their way to Paris Island. The very first thing I noticed when getting off the train was the smell of the swamps nearby. Being from the north I was also surprised to find “white only” bathrooms and drinking fountains at the train station


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