The Ropes at Boot Camp

The Ropes at Boot Camp

Some of us had trouble getting up a rope – or just being agile around one. One recruit was not fat, but not coordinated either– the poor guy could not get up the rope? The D I took a bayonet and had a few of us get him about 4 feet off the ground- then the D I said “climb maggot?’ The guy started shaking and blubbering- next he D I keeps jabbing him in the ass and screaming at him that he will insert the bayonet up his ass- the recruit panics and starts up the rope. The recruit eventually had to go to sick bay with cuts or slashes on his butt= the Series Lieutenant questioned the recruit about how it happened and told him he would be placed in another platoon and all he had to describe what happened. The recruit said he fell on the bayonet- Recruit became a hero and all D I ‘s went to his support and helped him after that- ( he was a hero ) A few other guys went to sick bay for other maladies- and would not rat out D I’s either. Training tough- but we survived. No regrets- and a shitload of funny stories of how some of my fellow recruits really seemed that they fell off a turnip truck. Some had common sense and little brain power- and others were very streetwise and some were very commonsense oriented. We all worked together= and became United States Marines.
Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!

3 comments


  • GREGORY PAWLIK

    Hello Ed, did you leave boot camp in June or were you there during the summer? I was in 2nd Bn 2130 and the obstacle course was torn down and was being rebuilt. Never ran an obstacle course but still had ropes to climb.


  • Ed Swilling

    I served in boot camp in San Diego in June 1969. I.am from Chattanooga, TN. They were so crowded at P.I.., they sent us southern boys to MCRD San Diego. What a surprise! I can relate because I too had difficulty with the rope climb although I was proficient in every thing else. Our rope was smooth and not knotted. I just couldn’t seem to get the hang of it. One day after the rifle range, my D.I. SSgt Stanley took me to the ropes to practice. We were an honor platoon and he wanted us to be proficient in all the events for the upcoming final qualifying P.T. test. It wasn’t long before I had mastered the rope climb. I appreciated SSgt Stanley giving that time to work on my rope. Semper Fi Do or Die. Ed Swilling Cpl 1969-1971 Plt 3114. If there r anyone who served in that platoon would like to hear from you!


  • Charlie O’Connell

    ROPES….MCRD San Diego, June 1963, Plt 240. We were lolly gagging as a group in the street in front of the ropes which had knots about every 4 to 6 ft(?). We all had a light weight pack on with our M14 slung around the pack. One recruit almost made the top when his hands slipped from the rope. As he fell the rope swung around and a knot caught the bayonet stud on his rifle. As he swung around in the air (by his pack) the DI started laughing and of course so did the rest of the platoon. Soon enough the DI realized that “we” were laughing and called us to attention. Then he gave the order for “forward leaning rest” and to laugh at the same time. He, the DI, kept screaming “laugh girls, I can’t hear you”. Didn’t seem so funny after that. Can’t remember how the guy got down!


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