Wimp to Whack!

By: Bob Shepherd

I was the typical high school nerd! I minded my own business, was not very social, and dreaded confrontations from bullies. One particular bully—let’s call him Harry—enjoyed exercising his rather assertive and tough nature against me on several occasions during my senior year (1966). In September of that year, I received my induction orders from Uncle Sam (the mandatory draft was in effect due to the Vietnam War) and I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. I was sent to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, on January 2, 1967 (Happy New Year!). Suffice it to say that during my training I was remolded from a wimp to a man in short order.

The Drill Instructors have a way of doing that! The training was beyond tough, mean, and relentless; somewhere along the way, I’m not quite sure when I crossed that line, I developed a “never again” hardcore attitude against being pushed around or bullied by anyone ever again. After I graduated from Boot Camp and went home on a 10-day leave, the test to that attitude came my way within a few days. The bully I feared in high school crossed my path on Main Street in the town in which I resided. Not knowing I had joined the Marines, he stopped and ridiculed my “ridiculous-looking crew cut.” I attempted to walk around him, and he grabbed my arm. Instinctively, and without a moment’s thought, I grabbed his arm, tripped him to the ground (as learned in my hand-to-hand combat classes), and began a rapid and relentless “machine gun” pounding with my fists about his head and shoulders. Suddenly, my arch enemy’s screams of “stop! stop!” made me cease my attack. I got off him, stood up, and walked away. As I turned my head back and saw a weeping mound upon the sidewalk, I silently thanked my Drill Instructors and the United states Marine Corps for molding me into a real man and giving to me the gift of standing confident and tall wherever go.

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

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


  • Harry

    The guy I enlisted with got a 10 day leave after boot camp before returning to Geiger ITR for 0311 training .I went through ITR than Combat Engr. training at Courthouse Bay ,20 day leave and on to West Pac.

  • Jack Heger SGT. 1953-1956


  • Sgt Robert L Sisson

    The same thing happened to me in a bar. I was in Vietnam April 1969- Oct 1970. I was in an argument with a guy that called me a baby killer and a killer of civilians. I told him I was going to the head and when I got back he better be gone. When I came back the bartender told me he through him out. I thought he might be waiting outside but he was gone. When I went home I told my wife that was the last time I was going to drink off base or I might end up killing someone. At that time only the Marines on base I had anything to do with. That was one of the reasons I was seriously thinking of staying in the Corp. Other Marines were the only ones I could relate to. But my wife was afraid I would be sent back to Vietnam after being over there 18 months the first time. We had a big argument about it and I got out and went back to the Steel Mill.

  • Jim Kanavy

    I went to PI 12 January 1966. I went to Vietnam 26 August 1966 as an 0311. Since then I have not been afraid of anyone or anything even though I probably should have been. After I got home I was in a bar and someone was bothering me. I went to the head and when I got back he was gone. My brother asked me if I was okay and I asked why. He said “I saw he was bothering you and I told him if he didn’t leave I am probably going to beat you up but my brother is probably going to kill you! Sad but true. SEMPER FI

  • Ed Noll

    Victory for the cause of justice is every Marines wish, Semper-Fi Brothers & Sisters

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