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The Motivation Platoon

In 1969 I was living in Minneapolis at the time the first draft lottery cam to be. For those who don’t know about this, it was 365 dates in a large fish bowl. This was news, and was covered by all the television stations at the time. Everyone who was eligible for the draft was watching because if they pulled your birthday you were guaranteed to be drafted and had a direct line to the Army or so I thought. Well I arrived at the induction center several weeks later. After we had been tested for a variety of things we were all gathered in a large room. A representative from the Air Force walked up to a podium in the room and asked for “volunteers” to serve two years in the Air Force since they had not reached their quota for the month. Everyone raised there hand, but only six people were actually chosen.

This same process continued through the Coast Guard, Navy and Marine Corps. When the Marine approached the podium he asked for three volunteers. No one raised their hand! The Marine asked again with the same response. The Marine then announced that he had other ways to get three volunteers. The Marine went on to remind us of the tests we had been taking for most of the day and said he had decided that the people who scored the highest, middle and lowest overall test scores were his choice. My name was one of the three and I was immediately moved to a Marine Corps van in front of the induction center for a short ride to the airport. I was taken away to the MCRD in San Diego. The first couple of days there were much like the person who wrote about “Motivation” article. Mass confusion, no sleep for close to two days and many berating encounters with the Drill Instructors. The next few weeks proceeded much like the first two days but we were allowed to sleep. One of the things we were required to do was “PT” physical training! Doing set ups, push ups, a variety of other things including running were part of the agenda. I was what would be called a nerd today and a weakling back then. I weighed 175 pounds and was six feet four inches tall and had never participated in sports of any kind. After a couple more weeks with me always being the last one to complete all the physical exercises I was move to a place called the “Motivation Platoon”! If I thought it was rough in regular boot camp the Motivation Platoon was ten times worse. There was never a minute of the day that we were idle except when we were studying the Marine Corps Manual, at Church, or sleeping. When awake were either doing exercises of some type or we were running. We ran and ran and ran, nine miles a day, rain or shine. Three miles before breakfast, three miles before lunch and three more before supper. The Motivation Platoon was originally formed to help recruits that were over weight to loose the weight and gain some muscle, then return to complete the rest of their boot camp experience. Since I was the skinny weakening I didn’t have any excess weight to loose, all I needed was muscle. When we went to the mess hall for chow the rest of my Motivation inductees ate greatly reduced rations, while I was forced to eat double rations. And I gained the weight, lots of it. I returned to a boot camp platoon weighing 250 mean lean pounds. Boot camp was a breeze and I also made the rank of Lance Corporal at he rifle range by shooting in the top five recruits. After that I was trained as a radio relay operator and was on my way to Viet Nam! The rest is a whole another story.

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Hubert Beverly - August 27, 2022

On September 9,1967 I reported to San Diego. The motivation platoon was used with recruits who were overweight or had a poor attitude and did not want to be there. In my platoon 2069 we had at least three recruits who were assigned to that platoon. They dug holes and filled them over and over. Semper Fi!

Edward Gatka - August 20, 2022

Our DI sent the entire port side of the barracks to one day motivation. Thank God I was on the starboard. He did this because he didn’t think our close order drill was quite up to par. This was summer 1975.

Peter Liller - August 16, 2022

I was at Parris Island (Platoon 277) from July-September 1972. Motivation Platoon had nothing to do with overweight or weakness…It was all about motivation for lazy guys or guys who got into trouble..They also had “1 Day Mot”, which was used once and and a while for a scare tactic for others. I remember calling it “Conditioning Platoon” for guys overweight or weak… There was also “CCP” or “Correctional Custody Platoon” for guys who took swings at Drill Instructors or bad actors…

Mike Hawke - March 12, 2022

As a member of Platoon 1033 @ Parris Island 1 Aug 66 until 27 Sept 66 I was not assigned to visit “Mr. Moto”, however most of the recruits were. Senior DI D.W. Streagle started sending 3 recruits each day to Motovation Platoon. After about 80% of the platoon had been motivated, the rest of us observed the effect the the day at Motivation Platoon had on the recruits upon their return to our squadbay. SSgt. Streagle did not know my name until we received our MOS assignments. Most recruits were assigned to be rifleman. When he called my name and announced that I had been assigned to data processing, he said “Who is this? Get up here. Why don’t I know your name?” I had never volunteered or raised my hand once during boot camp. I served with DPI 28 (Data Processing Installation 28) at Da Nang. I got discharged 5 days early after returning from Vietnam. I am proud to have served honorably as a United States Marine.

Brian Hillery - March 9, 2021

Responding to Chuck Downey. I remember you from Pensacola. Didn’t you drive a brown Riviera and we went to New Orleans a couple times with Boudreaux ?

Brian Hillery - March 9, 2021

Parris Island Aug – Nov 1975. I thought I was doing extremely well , right before I got sent to the “ditch” for a day. I shot expert at the range , I scored very high on all my written tests , and flew through all of the PT. I guess I may have come off as a little cocky , so I ended up spending a day in the MOT platoon. Crawling through concrete tunnels with DI’s throwing smoke grenades into the tunnels. Diving into shallow water with a make shift 20 pound rifle made from iron pipe. Crawling through mud and finally reaching the “pit” where we did sit ups in 12" deep mud. I was definitely motivated by the end of the day. We returned to the barracks late in the afternoon literally covered head to toe in mud and gunk. The stink didn’t go away for 3 days. I ended up graduating on time ( I didn’t get recycled ) and actually picked up meritorious PFC out of boot camp. I loved my time in the Corps. To this day I still get a lump in my throat when I stand for the National Anthem. Semper Fi my brothers.

John - February 28, 2021
July 72 what caused me to go to Mot was my attitude which in the second week I thought I had this down and was starting to have an attitude that it’s not as hard as I expected and began doing things that were noticed by the DI who have seen it all. I was on line and they said they had a quota for one day mot for 10 so being curious as to who was going, I kept looking down the squad bay to see who the lucky pvt’s getting chosen. Totally unaware my Senior DI had very slowly I think moved down the side of the bay on the port side and was sitting across from me. When I looked again to see who the unlucky pvt’s were he said “do you want to go to permanent Moot” (1- 30 days) and the assistant DI coming out of no where pulled me out into the bay by my nice clean while t-shirt and said oh he is deffinetly going right? So that night with the other DI who helped the ten of us pack of packs thinking he was being nice to us, but my attitude was pretty much still the same, I wasn’t scared. So the next morning with the sand flies we waited for the cattle car to pick us up. And when we got there I started to see how serious I should be taking all this. Long short without a discription I came back on the cattle with a note saying I faked passing out and needed to be sent back on Mon for per mot, which was really heat exhaustion for real. The guy next to me who had probably either been a regular flier there at mot said to rip the note but off at that point it done what was intended and I said noway because who knows they know everything. When I got to the squad bay and he read the note he had me stand on someones foot locker in the middle of the squad totally trying to embarrass me, saying that I wanted to go home and suck on mommies tit and all kinds of stuff like that. I know that kind of treatment would have really been embarrassing before mot, but after, it didn’t even register with me, I was like so totally motivated and zoned in to being motivated, that all the bullshit that I brought with me, insecurities and habits and curiosities and anything else was was not part of me for the rest of boot camp. I did volunteer the next we had a quota to as the DI said prove I was capable. That mot expirence was for me a breeze me. Not sure when, but shortly possibly that year or so the did away with the Motivation platoon that we saw all the time running basically all around PI and were always told thet was were we were going if we f—ked up, as our reward.
Rick Harris - November 10, 2020

This story doesn’t add up. I was high shooter and 2nd academically in 2nd Bn Plt 214, PI 1975, and got PFC out of boot. Never saw Mote, but some did, and it didn’t have anything to do with gaining or losing weight. All I know is the guys that went came back smelling pretty bad from getting up close and personal with The Ditch. The author is describing PCP (Fat Body Platoon), not Mote.

I gained 20 lbs in boot. No way someone gained 75.

Ken Lancaster - April 3, 2020

I questioned this on another article that a marine was given E3 out of bootcamp and someone replied from his plt. it was true that he gave 110%n everything! I said it took me nearly 11/2 yrs to make E3 then again i was at Paris Island (69-71)

Harvey Rosenfeld - April 3, 2020

Sounds like the Marine Corps I know a continue to love. I was a bit opposite of the recruit in the preceding story. I was a 140 pound high school graduate with no prospects of college due to lack of funds and grades that were short of college expectations. I was, however in excellent shape having run track in highs school and played three years of soccer for my high school. Once graduated I tried the work force but jobs were scarce, at least those with only high school level education, so I finally decided to join the USMC. Off I went to Paris Island, SC. Having a close friend at home who went through the same depot, I was aware of the on-coming onslaught of harassment, and anticipated training. I survived boot camp, Camp La Juneau (ITR) then off to radio communications training in Florida, then, finally, First Radio, Co., Kaneohe, Hawaii for more training and refinement in the mobile vehicles equipped with the appropriate communications suit capable of intercepting and locating targeted enemy’s communications. Soon thereafter I found myself among a few good Marines in South Vietnam being among the first Marine unit in Vietnam; i.e. 1st Radio Company. Our final base of operations in country was in the central highlands of S. Vietnam, until replaced.

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