A Marine can fall to sleep anywhere.

How often had you hear someone make that statement? Of course, most grunts
will tell you it’s true because you can never tell where you might stop and set
up in to a position or what you will find to sleep on. Am I right? Allow me to
share couple of examples of situation I found myself in. My friends these are
all true—my hand to God. So you know I’m being straight with you—right?

1) I’m station at Camp Lejeune, N.C. in 1969 with Fox Company, 2/2. Being a
PFC didn’t give me a whole of opportunities to avoid guard duty in and around
our area. It must of been in the spring because the night was very pleasant as I
remember it. I was on the midnight round walking my post in a military fashion
and trying to remember the general orders just in case anyone should happen by
and I wanted to make the next rank before my discharge date. No one did—ever!
I’m making all my necessary facing movement humping my M-14 just like I’m
supposed to. I turn a corner of the building that I’m guarding when I hit a wall
with my face. I manage to fall completely asleep and still walk almost half of
my post before a wall woke me up. I didn’t bother to say anything to the Sgt of
Guard. I was pretty sure he would not be happy about it. But I knew my General

2) I just got to VietNam and went through those three days at An Hoa learning
what was happening in the area (I’m not sure why they kept us those three days
before sending us out to the brush). So anyways, Golf Co. 2/5 was on road
security from An Hoa to Liberty Bridge. I was assign to the M-60 mortars and
share a tent with L/Cpl Hewitt. The very first night in the brush, the NVA/VC
set up a loudspeaker just outside a RVN compound right next to our position. For
those who don’t know, we were not the first country to use a loud noise against
someone. I guess they talked through most of the night—I’m not sure because I
slept the whole time and my new friend, Hewitt, was amaze by my indifference to
it all. To me it seem like a good way to get through this experience called
VietNam. “Just Keep Moving”

3) I’m still in VietNam and still very tired. We just settled down for the
night and for some reason I’m not on the line. Sometime during the night we
start getting hit with mortars and rockets. When it was all done, someone came
and pulled me out of my tent. They explained that they thought I had been killed
or wounded by the attack because I had managed to sleep through it all. They all
seem real concern for me at first but then got real mad at
me—wait?—-humm—were they glad I wasn’t killed or mad because I slept? Who
knows? I guess we all act different during a firefight (or sleep).

4) We’re on a float (Fox Co. 2/2) and participating in Jungle Survival
Training with the Green Beret. We didn’t really get along with them as you might
imagine. Anyways,they had us set up our campsite in an old river and assured us
that it was not due to rain anytime soon. There was rocks and other things you
would expect in a riverbed. We settled in for the night. Not sure when it
started to rain but it came down in buckets. What finally woke me up is when I
started floating around the inside of my tent—I kid you not! Some of guys lost
gear because it floated away. As for me, I recalled my drown proofing training
and how lucky I was to have it. Seriously, the river didn’t get that high but it
still ruin a lot of gear and I had trouble with my feet due to wet boots. I
always thought the Army did that on purpose.

Like I was saying before, I never had a problem sleeping even on ambushes I
would sleep like a baby—just not during my watch.

Merry Christmas Marines and pray everyone is safe during this coming New
Year—Semper Fi

Footnote: From the first story—the next morning we had training in the field
and the Fox Co.CO would not give those of us who had guard duty a break. The
company moved out and we were to catch up after we had some chow and got our
gear for the field. Why me? I was put in charge of getting us all to the
training area. We got together and started to hump to the field when a truck
came by. I talked the driver in to taking us out to the area. The CO saw us
marching in and give me a “that-a-boy” for getting everyone out so fast. He
assumed that we hump the distance after walking guard post all night. I wasn’t
going to tell him what we did—I mean after all! Right?

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18 thoughts on “A Marine can fall to sleep anywhere.”

  1. Hang me upside down at a rock concert and I’ll sleep like a baby. Had the best sleep instruction in the world. In The United States Marine Corps.

  2. I learned many useful things in the Corps. For instance, I discovered that a Marine can take a perfectly adequate nap sitting on a wooden seat in a cattle car by the simple expedient of resting the brim of his steel pot helmet on the bayonet stud of his M-1 Garand. I’ve not found an exact same situation in the 50 years of civilian life I’ve lived since then but the ability to sleep anywhere, anytime, and on anything has come in handy MANY times.

  3. Fell asleep serving hash on the chow line at Camp Geiger in Oct 70 doing mess duty prior to AIT. My buddies tell me that the poor Marine in the chow line held out his tray, and I just stood there with the serving spoon held out. He waited, and finally was waving his hand in front of my face before my buddies nudged me awake and I gave him his portion of hash. Incidentally, I never could stand coffee until ITR. I learned to love it to stay awake because if the mess sergeant caught you sleeping, you stayed up to prepare midrats and breakfast.

  4. The helmet positioned properly makes a great pillow. I was a coal miner for many years and,used my miners hard hat the same way to take a nap. Ahhh.. the things we learned. Harry

  5. With about a month left in Nam I found myself sitting on the back of a tank as we moved in on some VC hiding in a bomb creator. I was the radio operator on the FO team. As we moved in on them, I had my 1911-A .45 pistol cocked as I watched the bushes go by the side of the tank. Next thing I knew my Scout leader was pulling on the radio handset. I had fallen asleep. Even with all the noise and the bumpy ride the lack of sleep over all those months in Nam finally got the best of me.

  6. fell asleep on guard duty in Gitmo in 67 maybe 68 the 2200 to midnight shift. It cost me 7 days in the brig. I was with the Artillery 155 toads. Jack Hanson

  7. I could never sleep through incoming rockets and mortars. Laying in the dark at the first distant “whoomp” always resulted in a hooch full of open eyeballs waiting to see if the rounds were being “walked” in our direction. When they got close we were out, headed to the mud and water filled bunkers. Ah, those were the good old days.

  8. I was tail end Charlie as Fox Co. 2/4’s company gunnery sergeant during a deployment to Norway in 1986. It was bitterly cold, -34F. We were conducting a ski march to get in position against the British Marines. The column stopped and I dropped by pack and sat on it. The next thing I know, I wake up and everyone is gone! But it wasn’t hard to follow their ski tracks to catch up.

  9. My wife never did get used to me falling asleep that fast with that much noise whereever I was. Tried to explain it but…….

    1. This is not the same Robert Bliss who wrote the story. I always thought I was the only until I met another me.

  10. Two instances come to mind. A fellow Marine and I were pulling guard duty in southern California. It was his turn to walk the post when there was a bang in the hanger. He had fallen asleep walking his post and ran into the stinger on a huey. The second was when I was stationed at Camp Pendleton as a back fill for Desert Storm. All of us East Coasters were sent out there and were put up in every dilapidated barracks available. At this point most of those recalled had been sent home but I stayed due to nothing better to do until college started in the fall. Well, it’s my day off and I am taking a nap. I am awoke by my rack being shaken. I wake up pissed off and ready to beat someone for waking me up. As soon as I can focus I realize I am the only one in the barracks. What woke me up was a decent earthquake. I rolled over and went back to sleep.


  12. In the late 70’s returning to CLNC from Christmas leave, the flight went through Fayetteville, NC. Shortly after takeoff I heard two of the flight attendants talking. One asked the other, “Do you want me to start the beverage service?” The other one said, “No, the plane is full of jar heads. Wait five minutes and they’ll all be asleep.” Sure enough most of the passengers were out within five minutes. After that, any time I was with a bunch of Marines, I’d watch to see how long it was until most were asleep. Five minutes was the norm.

  13. Back in the “old days” (mid 60’s) I was instructed by an “old salt” that a smart mud marine never stood up if he could sit down, never sat up if he could lay down, and never stayed awake if he could go to sleep. Apparently “carpe diem” (seize the day) applied to the Marine Corps (we just didn’t know it at the time). Semper Fi and Happy New Year to all!

  14. When I was in the 5th Marines, 1960 I believe, the regiment always had a 150 mile hike from Desert Training at 29 Palms back to Pendelton. The best nap I ever had was when we “take ten, expect five, get two”, we were going through a dry river bed of fist size rocks, I laid down on those sun warmed rocks and was out just like that!

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