I arrived at Lindbergh Field San Diego on Sunday 27 December 1972. No one was there to meet or greet me so I found a SD policeman and asked him how to get to MCRD. He told me to wait out front of the terminal and he made a call to MCRD. I waited for about an hour and had several of the long haired types drive by and try to get me to “get the h_ll out of there” before it was too late. After waiting and wondering for the hour or so, a green Dodge van pulled up and the driver was the finest looking female (WM Sgt) I had ever seen and would ever see in my career. She told me in a very nice manner to get in the van and I did. While driving over to the base we talked about all types of things I would soon experience. She let me “burn a couple” (Marlboro) , but as we approached the gate to MCRD she told me how to field strip the butts and get rid of them. She dropped me off at Receiving Barracks and I saw my first YELLOW foot prints. I was directed to by the Sgt. to go inside and wait and someone would be with me in a little while. I proceeded to lean against a wall, and soon had a short and very angry SSGT jump up in my chest and proceeded to tell me to get the (deleted) off his bulkhead!!! Well I wasn’t too dumb and I figured real fast what a bulkhead was and stood at what I thought was attention. And I learned I wasn’t doing that correctly either. To cut to the chase now, I and a whole bunch of young men that had arrived on Saturday (I was the ONLY arrival on Sunday) were moved to a barracks and assigned a bed that I soon learned was a rack. We didn’t pick up or get picked up by our Drill Instructors until 2 January 1973 so we did a lot of swabbing and cleaning of the barracks. We were issued our sea bags and clothing, told to box up our personal clothes, got a haircut, etc., during that time. If memory serves me correctly, Our DI’s, Sgt. Schweigler, Sgt. Van Bibber, and Sgt. Jamieson picked us up very early on the 2nd and all h_ll broke loose. I don’t have any horror stories to tell about our 12 weeks in their care, but I was jacked up a few times for failing to do EXACTLY as told. All my DI’s were VN vets and they taught us well. They said they didn’t know if we would go to VN but they were going to teach us to survive if we did. I didn’t go to VN as I was a reservist (about half of our platoon was I think) but they made me a better person anyway. I do know that Sgt. Jamieson was a “short” American Indian and I had never seen any one his height jump straight up in my face and give me “love-tap” like he could. When we went up the road to Edson Range we were issued M-14’s and I learned to love that weapon. In fact I have the M1A now cause I loved it so much. I shot expert every pre-qual string but on qual day I blew it and got a toilet seat. I still insist that it does snow in Southern California cause I froze my young butt off that day. Shivvering doesn’t help in qualification with a rifle!! Anyway, I could go on for a while and I suppose I will close this out by asking anyone out there that was in Platoon 3156 to holler back. Oh yeah, Plt. 3156 took final drill comp and we were herded over to the mess hall and told by our senior DI to “drink the soda machines dry!!!”, and we did………then paid for it by doing bends and thrusts until the DI’s got tired.
Memorial tattoo for my son.
So you think you want to become a United States Marine.
If just anybody could become a Marine, it wouldn’t be the Marine Corps as we know it now and for the almost 241 years since its beginning on November 10, 1775.
What the Marine Corps will promise you in the beginning are 12 weeks of intense training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, or Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina.
When you mentioned that you had a Drill Instructor by the name of Cpl P J Phelps (Peter J Phelps) who was a Brit. This same P J Phelps was the NCOIC of the recruiting station where I enlisted. When I returned from boot camp I stopped by to say hello, but Phelps was now 1st Sgt Phelps, and was transferred, so I never saw him again. It is a small Marine Corps. Oh yes that was in Dec 1976.
I have heard “thanks for your service” a lot of times. I always reply with your welcome. The other day I was walking around the U of A campus in Tucson, AZ. I was wearing my Vietnam Veteran hat I got from Sgt Grunt. I heard the thanks from a lot of students. One student came up to me and said “Welcome Home”. We shook hands and talked for a bit. His dad came back about the time I did to all the protests. It almost brought me to tears. So if you see a Vietnam Vet give him a Welcome Home! It feels good!
The mongoose and pet puppies stories made me go back and look for this pic that my uncle Sgt. Major A. M. Solis sent home to my grandparents in 1965. He had written a note on the back saying it was his little horse he had gotten to save a lot of walking. He never told me what happened to the pony. He was also there later with VMCJ 3 and on a later tour with VMO 2 before retiring. We served at the same time frame but not in Viet Nam. I was assigned to F4 Phantom squadron VMFAT 101 after radar school at Millington NAS in 1969. Supposed to have been a 6 month OJT assignment before orders to Nam. Well after I was on the job trained as radar tech I stayed on at El Toro MCAS training F4 pilots and rios to go to Nam but us avionics snuffies couldn’t buy a ticket over there, too many people already coming back.
I would like to give one of my junior DI’s a plug. His name is CPL E.M. Mello, and he was anything but mellow. I was 17 years and 20 days old. He made quite an impression on me. Quite a few impressions. My first recollection of us getting close and personal was on our second or third day of forming. Our platoon was the first in the series so we had to wait awhile (9 days) for the rest of the maggots to show up. We were standing at attention in front of our racks reading our Little RedBook (not Chairman Mao’s). Continue reading “CPL E.M. MELLO PLT 312”
Saw photos of 3rd Battalion barracks demolition. I was there Jan. 1961 with GySgt Davis, SSgt Chavous and SSgt Binette, and Platoon 302 “S” Co. It seems so long ago.
Hello Sgt. Grit! I was browsing Facebook the other day and came across a shared post of a ring someone found, I do not know the person who originally shared the post so I snapped a screen shot of it. It reads PLT 1088 with what I’m assuming is a graduation date of 11.27.13. I hope the owner is found!
Wanted something to symbolize my deployment to Iraq and returning home in one piece. Basically saying I conquered Iraq. So I got an eagle ripping a scorpion in half.