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!


  • Sgt Chuck Baker, 73-77

    During mess & maintenance week we rode the old cattle cars from the rifle range to mainside to work…… Parris Island, 3rd Battalion, 5 Oct 73 to 28 Dec 73

  • Moe Moseman

    I was born on Oct 13 1955 PI. PLT 155. My tour guides were CPL ROBARGE JR, S.SGT MONTI, AND SGT ZYGMONT. These 3 Marines will always be there in the background taking me places I never dreamed about. Don’t remember cattle cars. Sea Duty U.S.S. Saratoga and Embassy Duty , Singapore. Never stationed on a Marine base in my 5 years of service. Happy Birth Day to all My brothers.

  • gary

    You must have been a great recruit.In Nov. 74 cattle Car took you to Motivation Platoon or the Fat Farm to name a few

  • Jim Wolter

    26June1969. Remember the cattle cars well. I was pinned on the floor under 750 other recruits. To this day I suffer from claustrophobia. But I would not change anything about my experience. Semper Fi.

  • John Annis

    I remember them at P.I. 1971.1st Battalion Plt.147.Also at Camp Geiger. Not a comfortable ride,but beat marching.

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