The Day We Were Born

The Day We Were Born

How many of us can remember the day we were born? The actual day I mean. I can with crystal clarity. Tomorrow, 30 June 2016, is my 50th birthday and I remember every detail of the occasion. I was born into the loving arms of my new family members and the legendary yellow footprints at MCRD Parris Island. Oh how well I remember the day. My new father/mother/girlfriend greeted me with love in his eyes, open arms and comforting platitudes. It was a soft, albeit hot summer southern evening with a gentle breeze carrying the gentle aroma of swamp. Ah the memories of all the wonderful things that my new life was going to bring to me. The anticipation was delicious. My favorite and most unforgettable memory of that evening long ago was the screaming inside my head that said repeatedly: “What the **** have I done?” I’m sure we all remember the terror as a new and wonderful awakening occurred. FIFTY years? How the heck did that happen… I was 19 just yesterday.

Anyone remember this picture of our comfortable and welcoming mode of mass transit?

Semper Fi my brothers, sisters and friends and happy birthday to me… I think.

Gerry Zanzalari
1966 – 1970
RVN 1968 – 1969

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


  • Frank Walker, SSgt, CWO3, Capt

    My dad went through PI in 1916. Doubt if they had cattle cars back then. If they did they sure weren’t motor driven. My birthdate was 14 August 1962 when I marched down the grinder at MCRD, SDiego for final review. There were cattle cars at both SDiego and Camp Pendleton. Long, green pieces of crap with wooden benches that beat you to death. One of my DI’s was KIA in Nam, one retired as a MGySgt and one as a LtCol. Served with one of them on Oki with 3dFSR then again in KBay with the 3d Marines, 1st Marine Brigade.

  • henry kaspar

    I was wondering what happen to all the old timers then I noticed your birth date THE OLD CORP Feb 1950 was my BD semper fi

  • Cpl. Cardenas W.J.

    You Devil Dogs bring back memories…I did it…done it..lived it…thx..Semper Fi till we die..

  • Frank Nelson, Sgt 1953 – 1956

    I was born 63 years ago this month. Never saw a cattle car at PI or anywhere else. We walked everywhere we went. Was in “Battle Cry” in Jan 54′ of PR with Hq-2-2. Then an observer Radio Operator on a Helicopter Carrier “U.S.S. Mendora”, HQ-12-3, on Iwo Feb 55′ for the 10th anniversary, I moved around a lot but always FMF. LeJeune, Quantico, Hawaii, Okinawa, Japan.

  • Lcpl Thomas Brown

    I’m a ex marine form Dec 60, to March 65. But as the saying goes once a Marine always a Marine. Would like to hear from other Marines station in Kaneohe Bay, 3rd battalion H&S company.

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