Upon Learning He Had Qualified

Upon Learning He Had Qualified

September 1955 I reported to Boot Camp MCRDSD. First one on the left next to the Senior Drill Instructor. 3 years later I was in DI school, selected as the youngest DI to attend DI school for that time. Many NCO’s were much senior to me, but I made it through DI school. This is a picture of me with one of my platoons. I am on the right. We were the only two sergeants that were DI’s of a platoon, usually there was a senior NCO assigned with us.

Don Brown DI school graduation photo class 4

Don Brown as DI with Plt 257 MCRD SD 1958

It was hard work, we enjoyed it and made Marines out of bunch of crappy civilians. One platoon, we had a group of reservists, with a PhD in Math. Private Ball was intelligent but we were worried if he could pass the rifle range. On the day of qualifications, I told him I’ve never done this, but was going to give him a muscle relaxer pill. It was nothing but a baby aspirin, but it worked. He barely qualified and broke down and cried upon learning he had qualified.

Life goes on. I later was promoted to Captain and retired in 1975. Served two tours in Vietnam.

Don Brown
Captain, USMC, retired

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


  • Donald L Cook


  • Paul Prosise

    Try http://www.yellowfootprints.com/yearbook/showgallery.php/cat/545 or https://militaryyearbookproject.com/platoon-photos/usmc-marine-corps-recruit-depot-mcrd-photos/mcrd-san-diego/1950-59-mcrd-san-diego?page=4 Can not see your Platoon yet, but keep checking them.

  • Chet Ball

    I went thru boot camp in 1955. I was in platoon 129. I arrived on 4-18-1955. My SDI was S/SGT SH Armstrong and JDI was SGT R.L Perry. This is the first post I have seen from anyone going back this far. If anyone has photos of platoon 129 I would be very happy to receive them . Semper FI SGT CBall

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