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
220XXXX
1966 – 1970
RVN 1968 – 1969

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

49 comments


  • Norm Spilleth, Cpl. , 1960-1964.

    First and only cattle car I recall was the one a bunch of us squeezed into on the ride over the Pali from Pearl Harbor to Kaneohe Bay on the day we started our two years on the rock in “61”. Standing with our sea bags and rifles, looking through the slats of the trailer and my first sight of Diamond Head in the distance and a beautiful island girl with long black hair wearing a muumuu walking barefoot along the road. Oh yeah, this is paradise says I. Palm trees, green mountains, white sandy beaches and hula girls. Never happened. Reality was the Huba Hubba Club with Gina the Italian Volcano down on Hotel Street and fifty cent Mai Tais at the e-club whenever we could get Liberty. Fond memories.


  • Robert Fournier 2nd Bn. Platoon 232 Semper Fi Marines

    Ah “cattle cars” I remember them well but they were not at MCRD-PI. I only saw and rode them at Camp Giger, NC after 16 weeks at Paris Island. Oh and “yellow foot prints” had not been painted at Yamasee Train station. If they were we never got to see them as we arrived at 0200 and were hand delivered to the Bus by Marine MP’s. Then on to the “Iron Mike statue” for our in processioning in what was then called Casual Barracks. Standing, facing the bunk beds, no sleeping in the bunks, or else, one recruit found out the hard way when a PFC came up the the 2nd floor we were and tossed him to the floor. So I was born on 30 June 1957.


  • DON ZELL

    i was born sept. 8th,1959,place of birth,mcrd san diego,,,what did i do?,,,would never do it again,wouldn,t have missed it for the world,,,,,made many trips back over the years to attend various graduations and just be around my brothers and regain my youth for a few days.tremendous experiance,,,no one can take the pride from me.missed vietnam but took a little trip to gitmo in 62.


  • Almendarez (Al), David, Honor Platoon 111, MCRD, San Diego (61)

    When I got to MCRD, I was screwed up and I’m glad we didn’t get our DIs for about two days. I barely remember getting my hair cut or bucket issue and linen. We were assigned to work details and just policed around receiving barracks, gave me time to get my head clear. Had some great DIs. Memories are plentiful. SEMPER FI


  • Bob Masse

    I arrived at Parris Island on Jan. 22, 1948 and I remember it very well, even though it’s been over 65 years ago. How did I get old? Always a Marine.


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