I arrived at PI on 19 June, ’60. And my damn inability to keep from laughing kept me in trouble. I got a little better as time went on, but not perfect. I think I just got better at hiding it. I was in platoon 152. SSgt. Davis was the SDI, Sgt.McCall was a JDI and we had several different additional JDI’s. One that was with us more than others was SSgt. Wasielewski. After our platoon he was going to retire and he was very easy on the recruits. It was said he didn’t want any problems that would get in the way of retiring. We were in the 1st BN and one day we were on the grinder practicing 8 man drill. The recruit next to me was Bobby Qualis who the DI’s called ‘Squirrely’, but I thought he was a good man and he always tried hard. We were in formation standing at attention and suddenly I saw Sgt. McCall coming at a hard pace right toward me or, so I thought. When Mac was just a few paces away I figured I had it because I had been grinning because of something the DI said. I closed my eyes, tightened up my abs and prepared to get knocked down. Then I heard a chrome dome (the silver helmet lining we wore) go flying and hit the ground, an M1 hit the ground, etc. Then McCall was screaming at Qualis and I realized I had gotten over. I felt bad for Bobby, but I was sure glad he missed me. Bobby had been laughing I guess and Mac saw it. On another occasion the whole platoon had a heat rash and on the way to the rifle range Mac stopped the platoon and told me to get into the sick bay on the double and get some lotion for everyone. I moved out on the double and politely asked the Navy guy on duty for the lotion, explaining that my DI had sent me in and the platoon was outside waiting. He wouldn’t give it to me. I came back out, got back in formation, and Sgt McCall asked me what happened, looking none to pleased. I said, “the damn swabee wouldn’t give it to me.” The next thing I know Mac whacked Qualis for laughing. Qualis said he wasn’t laughing, but heavin”. That got Mac even madder and he let Qualis have it again. I had never heard the expression ‘heavin’ (or heaving) and I asked several of men from the South and they explained it was an expression that meant you were breathing hard. Guys that was 56 years ago and my memory isn’t what is used to be so square me away on the definition if I am recalling it incorrectly. It seemed Qualis and I were in competition for getting in trouble for laughing. Near the end of boot camp the sand fleas arrived and they were miserable, but as we all know—don’t get caught swatting one of them. For some reason our DI put us chest to back outside the chow hall waiting our turn to enter.. We hadn’t done that pushing up against one another since the first week of boot camp. The guy in front of me had a sand flea crawling on his ear and I could see him twitching so I took a deep breath and blew it off. He whispered ‘Thanks’. I can’t tell you why, but I was grinning. We were stacked so close together that I didn’t think anyone could see me. I was half way to side walk from the front door of the mess hall. Suddenly a DI from another platoon in our series, who was standing between the mess hall door and the first recruit in line, leaned out to one side and said, ‘Alpert your grinning again?’ I wouldn’t dare deny it so I shouted out, ‘Yes sir,’ At which time he said, ‘Boy, you must’ve been laughing when Christ was crucified.’ I figured the best thing I could do was agree with him so I again said yes sir and the men started laughing . He told them to shut up and of course they did. I was surprised I didn’t get knocked around for it, but I always managed to get my share of kicks, slaps and punches so I didn’t feel bad that I caught a break that day. Of course those stories are just a tiny bit of what happened, but I can say with all honestly I am very sorry I didn’t stay in for a career. I loved the Marine Corps and it the best thing I ever did in my entire life There was no one like Sgt. McCall and he made a man out of me and I am forever grateful. I mentioned previously in another posting that 33 years after boot camp I asked the Commandant, General Mundy to forward a letter of gratitude to Mac for me and he did. I am only sorry I never heard back from him. Mac was a stand up guy and a great Marine who was as squared away as anyone could ever be in the Corps. Semper Fi and good health to all of you Marines out there and God Bless America.