I've read so many sea stories about bootcamp that I have to share a few now and then.
When I enlisted in about the mid-seventies, out of six-seven other high-school buddy enlistees, only one other brave, misguided soul and myself boarded the bus to Will Rogers airport, (via AFEES in downtown OKC), eventually landing about 10:30 p.m. in San Diego, then on to receiving at MCRD.
Yellow footprints and smokey-hat-wearing, screaming D.I.'s greeted us all, propheteically warned by older, former Marines.
Although the other guy with me was someone I had known since the second grade, it took us both two weeks to barely recognize each other, after accidentally finding ourselves side-by-side during formation one day (even though we had been assigned to the same platoon and series – 3056).
Shocking, to say the least!
At times, I had to keep a smile from creeping across my face at the forewarned script being played out morning, noon and night from the unbelievable antics of other boots, and the response of the D.I.'s.
No amount of Hollywood script-writing or book narratives can even come close to what was witnessed each and every day.
The tradition of becoming a Marine at MCRD, San Diego, is still fresh and clear, even after all these years.
And what a mix of personalities and colorful names in our platoon: two Whites, a Black, a Green, a Redd; rhyming names – Weirson, Pearson; a former keyboardist for rock group Poco; a former stock-car driver; a former Army Nam-vet; a son of a retired Marine Bird Colonel; a Golden-Gloves boxer – just an eclectic mix of boys wanting to be called "Marine!"
Most of our D.I.'s were vets; our series commander was a veteran Recon Mustang Captain; and we were all led by a small-framed, tough old cob, Lt. Colonel Robert Modrzejewski, a small, blue, five-star-speckled ribbon worn above the purple heart and other ribbons riding topside the upper-left breast pocket on his Charlie blouse.
What a time to remember! Every day there was definitely NOT a picnic but those days were certainly memorable! To this day, I still can't tell you what I had to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner the first week there; it was gulped down way too fast, urged on by a pair of spit-shined shoes striding down the middle of the tables, kicking trays and screaming, "Get out! You're finished!"
I'll try to share a few more stories later on.
One memorable chow line quote from then: "Keep the chow line movin', Prives! One scoop o' Jello! Keep the chow line movin'!"