My name is Gene Crabtree. Retired GySgt (pictured on left). Recently I was asked by Jimmy Dupuy (pictured on right), if I could assist him with folding these two flags. I told him it would be an honor and I would be proud to assist him. He began to tell me the history of these flags. He found these flags in a box that he received after his mother passed away, they were not folded and he wanted to put them in Shadow Boxes. The flag I am holding is his Great-Grandfather’s William Curry Chisolm’s flag. He served in WWI. This flag has 48 stars, his Great-Grandfather passed away in 1926. The flag that Jimmy is holding is for his Father, Joseph Steven Dupuy. Mr. Jimmy served in the U.S. Marine Corps from ’65-’69. I can’t tell you the honor that this gave me and the sense of pride to assist in this Flag Folding.
After reading Cpl Bill Reed and LCpl Art Monterari’s failed salute stories, I wanted to share mine. While stationed at Camp LeJune I was a warehouse supply clerk. There was a LT that worked in the office in my warehouse. Every morning when she would get to work, I would see her drive up and go over to the dock to wait for her to walk by. One morning my OIC was walking in with her, and I said the same thing I did every day, Good Morning Lieutenant. My OIC said how about Good Morning Sir? I then said one of the dumbest things I ever said on active duty, She outranks you so I was not talking to you. I actually stated the Marine Corps policy states when addressing a group of officers, you only address the senior officer, but I could see on his face he heard the first way. To which she said he is correct. Needless to say I was on his sh-t list after that until I left to go to Desert Shield with CSSD-40. I never once in the 2-1/2 years that I worked with her called her ma’am, always Lieutenant. That was one of the most beautiful women I ever met in the Corps.
To Cpl Sadowski’s recent post on Dave Schual passing. Sorry to hear that our numbers are slowly reporting in for their last duty station. The good Lord will take care of him standing post similar to Surf Gate on a foggy lonely post no bigger than a phone booth.
Earlier this month while vacationing in Key West, FL and wearing my new ‘Semper Fi Fund’ shirt my wife and I came upon the Truman Annex and Naval Air Station. The plaque on the wall to my right reads:
October 1, 1977
The first United States Marines arrived in Key West with Commodore David Porter’s Pirate Hunting Fleet in 1823.
Parris Island, October 31st, 1969
It was 3rd Battalion, Platoon 3061’s turn for guard duty on the Bayonet course. For some reason I was chosen for 1am-2am walk, It was chilly, but not too bad in South Carolina that evening, and I was taken to the point where I would meet my predecessor on this post. After a few minutes, the other private arrived, and together we walked the course. Many of you may remember the Bayonet Course. You went down and around a series of somewhat wooded paths, and every so often you would meet the “Enemy.” The enemy being life sized, dark green dummies that we were to “stab,” or butt with the rifles, as we ran by. Kind of a fun time, right?
Well on October 31st at 1am it was a slightly different story. To begin with there was a full moon. And then there was the partly cloudy sky that made it the perfect Halloween sky. Finally, the partly wooded paths cast perfect Halloween shadows on the paths.
The private who has preceded me, and who led me around the course that I was to walk seemed overly nervous for some reason. I think all he really said was, “This place is spooky.” With the two of us supporting each other I didn’t see the problem, but after a turn I was on my own. Hey, I was a Marine Recruit, I can take on anything. But in the eerie shadows of the path things were different. I turned a corned and my heart skipped a beat when someone was unexpectedly standing there in the shadows facing me! It only took only a moment to realize it was a bayonet dummy and I breathed a sigh of relief. —until I turned another corner and repeated the experience.
I know, I know these were inanimate structures and nothing to be frightened of. But on a creepy night, by the light of a partly obscured full moon, your mind forgot all of that, and nearly each time I came across one of the shadowy green bodies in the shadowy, I had a similar experience. I was both embarrassed and ashamed of myself for reacting this way, but on and on it went. I did perhaps ten to fifteen circuits during my hour. And even got to mentally counting out the amount of time for each circuit, both in an attempt to calm myself, and to figure out how much time I had left in this “House of Horrors.” Finally I came to the end/beginning and there was my relief. Never has that word, “Relief,” meant so much! I took a turn with this next victim, and tried to warn him as best I could, knowing that nothing would really help.
Years later, when reflecting on this, the thought came to me that they should make a late night charge though the Bayonet field a regular experience for recruits, but I though the better of it as the experience could not be the same with other comrades so nearby! It was the loneliness that heightened the fear. I have also wondered how many who walked that route in the late night has the same reaction. I know that everyone that walked it that night did, although we rarely talked about it openly after that.
S/Sgt Shuttleworth USMC
1964 I first met my new daily dress: utilities. In about 3 years of crawling around various places in the US and in Asia, I slowly came to understand the inventor of the fabric had clearly HEARD the uniform procuring officer’s request but when he WROTE it down he got it assbackwards. He wrote — Keep Marines warm in Summer and Cold in Winter.
When that thought occurred to me (riding in a damned Helli-Hopper) I chuckled, and ‘Swede’ sitting next to me said “What?”
“It’s all just assbackwards!” I said.
He grunted and muttered “Yeah!”
I just wanted to say that I miss Gunny White, S/Sgt Sanborne, and Sgt. Broom.” Platoon 1142 on the Road”, the shit was on!!! MCRD San Diego July 1969. Tried to go to church on Sunday, but damn the preacher was mean too! He had PFC’s and L/cpl’s walking down the aisles, slapping you in the back of the head for nodding off; after a few weeks they would let us buy a newspaper and I would sit on my bucket and read about the Tate-Labianca murders by Charles Manson. The groovy people at Woodstock sure made me homesick too.
Corporal Costello was the junior DI of my platoon, 373 in 1965 at Parris Island. “Private Kelly, report to the drill instructor.” I hurried to the desk setting at the end of the squad bay where Costello was sitting. “Sir, Private Kelly reporting as ordered, Sir!” “Private, I want you to go next door to platoon 375, see Sergeant Lowell and bring back a bucket of back blast. (At that time I had no idea what back blast might be). He also wanted me to deliver a personal message to Sergeant Lowell from him calling him a vulgar name. I grabbed my bucket (all recruits had a bucket that was used as a seat etc). When I entered the other platoon’s squad bay a nearby recruit screamed “worm in the barracks,” at which time I heard another voice order “kill the worm.” I was immediately grabbed by several recruits and roughly brought to see Sergeant Lowell. “What are you doing in my squad bay, worm.” I gave him the message from Corporal Costello. It was not received well. I also asked for a bucket of back blast. Sergeant Lowell’s remarks to me can not be repeated. Afterward I was literally thrown out of the angry platoon’s squad bay. As any Marine of the era knows, when I returned to deliver back blast to Corporal Costello and didn’t have it I had to do “push ups until I almost died.” It is a true story.
You requested stories of PI experiences. Here are a couple of mind benders, not physical incidents but nevertheless, shook us up. We polished our dress shoes for weeks, never wore them with greens until late in the program. We were told to put on the dress shoes one evening when dressing for chow. On the way I guess we were all looking down at our spit shines, bobbing along. We were halted, told to bow our heads and stare at our shoes for a few minutes before going on to the mess hall. Another time we must have been slow in getting into greens for chow or the squad bay was messed up, because we had to go back in change into utilities with field jackets. Too slow, back again, get into greens with overcoat. In ranks we were told to open the overcoats. Some guys did not have their blouses buttoned. Back into the barracks, change again. We did this about 7 or 8 times before going to chow. Once there Sgt Brown announced that after chow we were going to the movies. However, before that we were to take a test on the M1. There were 75 of us in the Platoon. We could have 10 incorrect answers among us. Needless to say we did not go to the movies and I doubt that we would have regardless of the test results. We were near the end of the 8-weeks and when getting into greens for chow we were instructed to put our emblems on our covers and jacket lapels (Ike or Battle Jacket). While in line waiting our turn to enter the mess hall, another DI came over to our DI and berated him for allowing us to wear emblems when we were not yet MARINES, Sgt Brown made some excuse and told us to remove the emblems and put away until graduation. It was a cold January and February, puddles exposed to the sun did not thaw. We rarely wore field jackets or gloves, just our cotton utilities, no great flannel shirts that hung in the squad bay. One morning in a weak moment of compassion, while in ranks waiting to get in the mess hall for breakfast, we were called to attention, given the “at ease” command, cross our arms over our chest and put our hands in our arm pits. Other than a very few times did any of our DI’s do anything physical to anyone in the platoon.
Me and Bill C. at the Dirty Name, the first obstacle on the Parris Island confidence course on the day we graduated from platoon 374 in the Fall of 1960. Hard to believe that was 56 years ago. In my mind we haven’t changed much since then. Don’t know if we can still do 20 pull ups, but we can still lock and load and put them in the black at 500 yards.