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That Special Moment in Boot Camp

Parris Inland in the summer of 1968—the summer of love for hippies on the west coast. However, not so much for Platoon 296 on Parris Inland with Sgt. Morris—not even close! We had completed about half of our training when recruits started coming in from being recycled. That’s when we learned that the Drill Instructor Sgt. Morris told us the truth about doing our entire enlistment at Parris Inland if we couldn’t get our “sh-t together” and move on Camp Stone Bay (for 03’s). I know there are Marines out there who can confirm the fear factor we were feeling. I mean, I was barely 17 and wanted to see women again before I got too old to appreciate them. But I digress, it’s 0300, the alarm goes off for a fire drill in these very old wooden barracks. We all turn out in formation with our buckets in toll and wait. Sgt. Morris was one of the meanest men I have ever known and I worked 30 years as an Intensive Probation/Parole Officer after I got out. Anyways, Sgt. Morris called one of the “new” guys out of formation and instructed him to sing for everyone. After some words with him, the new boot started to sing in a beautiful voice that was so clear and rich—-“Yesterday” by the Beetles. MAN! Sgt. Morris didn’t say another word. We were dismiss back to the barracks—there was no fire. You could almost read everyone’s mind—-we were back home holding on to that girl who promise never to leave us. I graduated from Parris Inland just about 49 years ago and can still hear him sing that song and think how appropriate it was. Foot Note: I was told that the recruit was KIA in V.N. ( or seriously wounded) and Sgt. Morris continue to use a tent pin on recruits and was court martial for abusive behavior (that was the rumor so I can’t swear to it)
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Sgt T.K. Shimono - May 22, 2020

Jim Barber has written a book about life and times while in boot camp at MCRDSD and MCRDPI.. He is writing another book about boot camp and is seeking more stories. His email address is Contact him and he will tell you how your story can be added to the new book. Contact your VFW and American Legion posts, and magazines. Semper Fi.

Robert H Bliss - May 22, 2020

In reply to Sgt Robert L Sisson.
Hey Sgt. Sisson, your platoon. was on the right and mine was in the left side down stairs. I had trouble remembering the platoon number but thought it was 296. Your message help clear that up for me. Thanks brother. I guess you know what I meant about how abusive “some” of the Drill Instructor were. We had one on a short term bases that was really excellent but Sgt. Morris came back to us. Our Sr. Drill Instructor was going through some serious marital problems so he wasn’t around enough to control Morris. Anyways, we made it and still better for it. Semper Fi brother and thanks for reaching out. Sgt. R.H. Bliss P.S. we were in the same series.


In reply to Sgt. Robert L Sisson.

Sgt Robert L Sisson - May 22, 2020

In reply to David S. Martinez.
No I was in artillery. Though I never worked in MOS. Was attached to security Army engineers sweeping road from Dong Ha to Gio Linh. Then on perimeter at Gio Linh. Extended went to 2/11 FDC. went to 29 Palms Calif. coach on rifle range.

David S. Martinez - May 22, 2020

I was at MCRDSD in platoon 3096, late in 1967. Although there were some memorable cadences, my favorite was from one our D.I.s whose named slips my mind but it consisted simply of: O – E – O, O -E – O!

David S. Martinez - May 22, 2020

In reply to Sgt. Robert L Sisson.
Sgt. Sisson, did you wind up in my F4 squadron, VMFAT-101? Had to ask since there was a Sisson in our avionics shop. I don’t remember if he was in COM/NAV or in Radar where I was.

Sgt. Robert L Sisson - May 22, 2020

In reply to Sgt Robert L Sisson.
I was just looking at my boot camp book. We started training 12 July 1968 finished 13 Sept 1968 Series officer was 1st Lt A. S. Alberts We were probable in same series I was platoon 293

Bulldogman - May 22, 2020

In reply to David Hargis.
I was in PLT 341 in June – Sept 1962. You might have heard our DI’s calling cadence. Hwap. toop, tharee. pray yur leah – over and over.

David Hargis - May 22, 2020

I was at P.I. in 1962. I have a ton full of memories. A lot of funny things that always come to mind. Looking directly across the squad bay at this street guy from New York scared to death. My mantra was Do exactly what they say, watch others screw up & do not do what they did. I was lucky enough to have the right 3 D.I.’s. I had to put a great deal of effort into not laughing at things that others probably couldn’t see the humor in. But I loved it. My greatest memory was the parade deck early in the morning drilling to the most awesome cadences & listening to the other cadences. Boots in perfect unison on the deck. And being led by those surreal cadences. I wish I had a recording of it. I’ll never forget it

Sgt Robert L Sisson - May 22, 2020

I was in Platoon 293 July 4, 1968. We were probably in the same series. Semper Fi. We were down stairs in those old wooden buildings I think Down stairs right side.

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