31 thoughts on “Boot Camp Hair Cuts”

  1. If you’re talking about the recruit haircut, there really wasn’t much to remember. Get in the chair, 5 or 6 long swipes with the shears and it was all gone. Suddenly everyone looked the same, even my high school friend with whom I had joined on the buddy program. I didn’t see him for several weeks, but one night after showers Eddie Bowen and I ran into each other. We were both ecstatic to see one another and really thought that the other must have been killed and disposed of.

    After boot camp & ITR I returned to MCRD SD for Basic Electronics School and began the weekly sojourn to the base barber shop. The shop was a marvel of modern efficiency with about twenty or so barbers and clippers with a vacuum attached to avoid loose locks on the floor. The whole experience lasted about 3 to 5 minutes and only cost a paltry 35 cents. Somehow I knew that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. Semper Fi!!!

    1. For some reason I have to try to post here Master Sargent I always joke that real Marines are Parris Island some say Paris Island however not in SD only SC I pray was a typo

  2. Yeah I remember it well. The day I lost my identity. I actually went home after boot camp before reporting to Millington, Tennessee and walked into my old pool-hall hang out. The boys were there still hanging out. I strutted in, sans hair expecting to be high fiving everyone. I was met with blank stares! Lifelong friends did not recognize me!! At that moment it crystallized in me the total transformation I endured for the last 3 months. I had changed from small town sugar plantation Honokaa home boy hanging out in the local pool hall to something larger than life! Someone who is making a difference in the world, contributing to goodness and justice and right! I not only lost my hair in those 45seconds but my old self! SEMPER FI MARINES!

  3. I remember thinking what the hell am I doing here. I didn’t know if I could make it through boot camp or not but I did after having to do it twice because of medical problems. My dad was in WW II and I believe I made him proud to be a Marine. He came to my graduation.
    Jay S Davis
    Kilo 3/5
    TBS Quantico

  4. I was on R&R in Bangkok in 1968 cashing a check at the Bank of America. I had to show my ID with my boot camp picture. The cute Thai girl looked at the picture and immediately passed it around to all the other girls who all looked at me and started giggling. I know I turned red with embarrassment.

    Mick Blair
    I/3/12 67-68

  5. I remember that night at Receiving Barracks at MCRD San Diego – DI’s yelling, standing on the yellow footprints, and then going into the “barber shop”. I sat down, felt the buzzing on my head, and about ten seconds later there was a blast of compressed air on my neck and another DI telling me to “move, move, move!” As I ran out, I caught a glimpse of myself in the big mirror on the wall. My only thought was “now, I’m gonna have to stay here and make it through – I can’t go home looking like this!”

  6. Parris Island, August 1975. Went in with long hair and it had been cut by my mother at a family going away party the day before I reported for boot. My hair had been down past my shoulders and mom cut it to just above the shoulders. I remember the odd feeling of air on my gourd for the first time since I can’t remember when. My buddy Mike, who enlisted with me, had his cut just before me and upon seeing each other with bald heads we almost burst out laughing but thought better of it.

  7. It was the same feeling i had just before my first jump. as I approached the chair it was like standing in the door and thinking this is really happening. it was a good feeling because i was raised military and now i could see and understand what my dad and his friends shared. Haircut itself was so fast there was no time to think just zip,zip,zip and MOVE IT that fast. 1981

  8. yeah i remember taking the seat. The guy asked how would you like it? , so real casually i said just take it off the ears. I was the first guy in the chair from the bus load of recruits. The guy got pissed .I guess he could joke about it but I couldn’t. So he comenst to using the hair clippers as a weapon to scar up my head. Then he called me smart ass , after all the hair was gone and head was nicked and scraped everywhere he commented agian. Hows that? I replide Oh perfect!

  9. I remember our DI telling us that if we had any lumps, bumps, knots, or moles on our grapes we’d better put a finger on them when we got in the chair so the barber would know. Otherwise, they were subject to getting sliced off just like our hair.

    1. I remember GySgt Wood (Senior DI) saying the same to us in chair…I had a couple of bumps. Pointed them out to “barber” and got out of chair bald as the cheeks of my arse! But no blood and/or scrapes! Unlike some my fellow boots. The beginning of my new life.

  10. I remember sitting in that chair on 1998 December. First thought in my head was “Sh## just got real, no turning back”.

  11. It all happened so fast. It was like a 30 second haircut. I don’t recall actually getting a good look at myself until the next morning. (Boy, that was a shock!) But I do remember the very strange sensation of my head sticking to the pillow when we were finally able to hit the rack.

  12. 1969, arrived late, around 2300 into San Diego. Got on the bus, but still can’t tell you how to get from the Airport to MCRD….eyes forward and frozen in that position.
    Yep, point to any bumps on the brain housing group, past that, not allowed to think….only respond to commands.

  13. My favorite uncle was a WW II Marine, so I got a lot of advance tips that made boot life a little less stressful. Arriving in S.D with a fairly short crew-cut was the first step.

  14. Several of my uncles and older cousins were Marines. They pre-trained me to march, call cadenence and other good advice. I had my hometown barber skin my head a few days prior to Diego. Big mistake! Pissed off the D.I. , so I was doing extra PT until he got tired. 110ct63.

  15. Sep. 11, 1989: San Diego: Similar experience to everyone else’s. DI yelling at us on the bus. Standing in the yellow footprints. Standing in line for the haircut, (“asshole to belly button”). Barber looked at me and said: “Don’t move!!!” Strangled me with the apron. Vacuum attached to the clippers. Hair gone in less than 10 seconds. Ripped the apron off of me and literally shoved me out of the chair. “Next!!!” I remember one guy in my platoon didn’t listen when the barber told him to not move, and he walked out of there [almost] literally needing stitches. Drill Instructors yelling at anyone who looked anywhere but either straight ahead, or at the floor. 32 years ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday. Oh. And just like Mike Cushing, I couldn’t begin to tell you how to get from the airport to MCRD SD. Ironically, (and this is for those of you who went to Paris Island), the only thing that separates SD airport from MCRD, is a chain link fence. But I still couldn’t tell you how to get from one to the other. But the one thing I can’t remember, is what time of day or night it was. I want to say it was dark out, but that doesn’t mean anything.

  16. What I remember more than the first haircut was that odd, somewhat pungent smell on Parris Island. I don’t know if it was the overhead steam lines , but after 40 years I can still smell it in my mind! Semper Fi brothers and sisters and God Bless our country and our troops!

    Mike Kunkel
    Cpl, 0331
    Lima 3/8, 81-85

    1. Yeah I still remember that “smell”, marshlands, mix of salt/ fresh water flowing in/out with tides. Steam pipes maybe, but I suspect they must be gone by now. It’s been 50 plus years since I was standing at “yellow foot prints” by First Battalion, off the “Hound” to begin first day at PI.
      Semper Fi!

  17. Later that day or evening, after the haircut, we got a head call. For the first time in my life, I didn’t recognize the guy in the mirror. That was truly an odd experience.

    MCRD San Diego, 1996 – Platoon 1081

    Semper Fi, gents!

  18. 3 o’clock in the morning, 1st day, in Receiving barracks, lined up in the passageway, shuffled along until you got to the end of the line, shitcan with plastic liner, Troop handler grabbed the back of my neck, shoved it the can, 4 swipes later, pulled me upright, threw me up against the opposing bulkhead and said get moving maggot. Ah, the good ol’ days on PI.
    Vince ’79-’90, 2111, USMC

  19. Aug. 1970 on a 3 day train ride to S.C. headed for boot with 7 in the buddy system. We got very bored and shaved our heads with the sanitation kits provided by the salvation army in prov. R.I. Arrived in Beaufort train station and was arrested by MP’s (all 7 of us) for UA and later charged for destruction of government property (our heads). Made it to the barber shop and man……. everybody was pissed us.
    And we never saw each other again. lol

  20. The only difference from my barber shop experience was that the DI called our heads (gourds instead of grapes)👇any mole, lump, bump or protrusion!!!

  21. Hell, what are you talking about??? That guy was there cutting my hair in February ’69 when i went through!! 😉

    CWO4 Dudley J Garidel, Jr USMCR [Ret]
    17 February 1969 – 1 August 2004
    Semper Fidelis!
    Non Sibi Sed Patriae!

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