The freight trains in the story in Feb 1967 were rockets fired from an island in the river where 1 st Marines, 5th Marines, and 3rd tanks shared a TAOR. I was out on an ambush from 1st Marine Regiment when they were fired. I remember the first time we heard them and thought “What the hell was that?”. Told the 6 over the radio about rockets being fired and he said “They don’t have rockets.” and I replied “Tell that to the guys at Danang,” Coincidentally Dog Patch was vacant that night!
I too went through Boot Camp at Parris Island, but in 1961. My platoon, 144, had excelled in all phases on the island. A marine in our platoon chose to light up and smoked a cigarette while on fire watch during the night. He was caught by our senior drill instructor who had him arrested and thrown into the brig. I was a squad leader and my drill instructor spoke to me as an equal for the first time asking if I felt his action was too harsh for the violation. I was aware his intent was to impress the marine his unapproved action could get him and his fellow marines killed in a combat zone. I was stunned by his request and honored at the same time treating me as an equal as your senior drill instructor at Parris Island had held a rank just beneath your Lord and Savior.
Having gone through boot in 1956 it’s apparent that things have changed today. We were’nt asked to vote on anything, we were just ordered what to do and replied “Sir, yes sir”. I was a smoker and as I recall hearing “The smoking lamp is lit” was the signal for the only time to relax for 10 minutes away from the constant grind. The platoon was comprised of both smokers and non smokers and when the lamp was lit the smokers smoked and the non smokers did’nt. Of course that was long ago before some people thought that they had the right to impose their views on everyone else. I’m 81 today and thank God for when I was born and for the times I was blessed to live in. Semper Fi.
For whatever reason, probably my lack of computer skills, my posting stopped when one new recruit got a tattoo in Atlanta. The rest of the story is as follows: When we got on the bus in Atlanta there were several other guys who were also headed to P I and we picked up a few more at different stops along th way
San Diego ’62 Platoon 158. At the rifle range one recruit (not me) thought he could sneak out after lights out and climb into the rafters in the head and smoke. Well he got caught, the next day, in front of the entire Platoon they put a bucket on his head and another bucket filled with water on the ground. They told him to smoke and drink the water with the bucket on his head. To this day I’ve never seen anyone puke so much, and the Platoon wasn’t punished!!!
I arrived in Parris Island August of ’67, a non-smoker, had never even tried cigarettes. In our initial issue of uniforms/toiletries and such we also received two cartons of Marlboro cigarettes. The cigarettes went into my foot locker.
That first week was mostly drilling to different warehouses to draw 782 gear and the like. There was no need of the entire platoon in the warehouse so the DI called for all non-smokers to fallout for detail, smokers the smoking lamp was lit.
As I remember, it was 12 of us who went into the warehouse to draw and organize the gear as directed. Mid-August, the warehouse was very hot and dusty. The work was not all that hard but the warehouse crew were DI wan-a-bes and made things as difficult as possible.
At the next warehouse we ended up, when the DI called for all non-smokers to fall out for detail, I nudged the recruit next to me and bumbed a cigarette.
I became a smoker.
Paris Island 1963.
The first day of boot camp our DI asked us to vote whether to smoke or not. He explained how smoking would limit us physically because of the PT and of course double timing everywhere we went. Remember, “Hurry up and wait”. And all the other training, the rope clime, log PT,
the confidence course, etc…….
Our platoon overwhelmingly voted not to smoke. Of course I was not a smoker, but was pleased that everyone choose not to smoke.
At the end of bootcamp our DI gave the platoon permission to smoke.
The comment that was made by many was, “Wow, I forgot about smoking until now”.
We were so busy every day with training that the smokers did not realize that they had not smoked for 13 weeks.
Now that’s a way to give up smoking, enlist in the Marine Corps. 😉
Have seen this before, not that way in July 1961 at SD. But, having heard “Hollywood Marine”, there was actually a movie filmed during boot canp with our platoon running the confidnce course in the background, with Tony Curtis as Ira Hayes, think it was filmed as The Last Man, but released as The Outsider. Honoring today one of our junior DIs, SGT E-4 J.J. McCormack from NY. Saw he was KIA in Vietnam as SSGT E-6. Saw him at I think Butler on Okinawa digging ditches as a PVT and told him he was too good a Marine for that, saw him maybe a year later on Okinawa as SGT E-5. God rest his soul.
PI/67 Day 3
He had a Very Heavy Latin Accent, and appeared from out of nowhere.
“I Gon Kill One Of Jew Mudder Puckers An Noooooooo Baaaaaaady
Gon Kaaaaar.” On the nights he had the duty he would get us out the racks an hour or two before Reveille. It was Game time, mostly he would Quiz you on the School Hat lessons, You better get it Right. He clocked a TURD so HARD one night the TURD next to him PUKED. SEMPER FI, LADIES
o800 hours on April 5 1961 , as requested, was standing in front of the Post Office of my home town, waiting for my recruiter to pick me up drive me to his office in Nashville Tn and complete the enlistment process. On the way I mentioned something to him that I heard they harassed you some at P I. He at first acted like he didn’t know the meaning of the word and then said maybe for the first couple days but that I shouldn’t worry about it. Easy for him say. Got to the office and met up with 3 other guys from other towns in Middle Tn. Spent the day doing paper work, getting sworn and killing time . Some time in the late afternoon we were walked to the Railroad Station, given our orders, a couple meal tickets and instructions on how to find the bus depot in Atlanta and what time we better be there. Got to Atlanta early on the morning of the 6th and several hours to kill before our bus time in late afternoon. Passed a tattoo parlor and one of the other guys decided that since we were now in the Corps he would get a Devil Dog tattoo.