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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10 comments


  • Sgt T.K. Shimono

    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 jimdbone@gmail.com. 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

    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.


  • SGT JOSEPH M CROWLEY

    In reply to Sgt. Robert L Sisson.
    I WAS IN PLT 294 WHICH WAS 292 SERIES.F COMPANY 2ND BN.PLTS 292,293,294,295.SEMPER FI.


  • Sgt Robert L Sisson

    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

    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!


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