This past October I went on a 3-day bus tour of Parris Island sponsored by the Marine Corps League, Sgt Jason M. Ileo Detachment 1147 of Centerville, MD, along with a few other detachments from Maryland. There were about 40 Marines who went on the trip. We had a great time seeing first-hand all the training the recruits undergo in becoming Marines. It brought back a lot of memories for me. One of the proudest moments for me was seeing 509 Marines graduate. This really reinforced my belief that the Corps is in good hands.
The real reason I decided to go on this trip, along with my boot camp brother, Marine Ken Webster, Platoon 358, he belongs to Anne Arundel County Detachment 1049, was to celebrate our 50th year since graduating from Parris Island. Our graduation was on October 23, 1962, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. We all thought at the time that we were going to war with Russia.
I would have to say for me that the highlight of this trip was meeting up with our Drill Instructor, Sgt. Leonard Patchin. I looked him up in the Marine Corps Association Membership Directory (see photo) and found that he was living in Port Royal, SC. We met him for dinner and had a very special time telling sea stories and getting to know him all over again. He was still in great physical shape and could, if necessary, run our b-tts all over the Island.
He gave us a special tour of the Island where we got to see our old Third Battalion barracks before they got torn down. We then went to see the new Third Battalion barracks. They are really modern looking. He took us over to tour Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Elliot’s Beach and other forgotten places; there were a lot of changes. My real reason for wanting to see Len again was to personally thank him for all he did for me. He embodies, to me, what it takes to be a Marine.
I have belonged to the Marine Corps League for the past 22 years and have met so many great Marines, and made lots of friends from all over this wonderful Country. I have received awards and honors along the way, but I couldn’t have done any of this without first becoming a Marine. I told Len I couldn’t have achieved any of this without his guidance, leadership, and discipline. I owe this Marine so much and will never forget him.
We all were especially glad we had the opportunity to renew our acquaintance, only this time not as a DI and recruit but on equal terms as one Marine to another. In the photo from right to left: Severn, Patchin, Webster.
All in all, this was an outstanding trip for me, and one that I will never forget.
Marine Corps League