I’m just wondering if any of my brothers out there still have their U S Marine Corps rifle range score book. Here’s what it looked like in 1948. Didn’t do too bad at 300 yards but still ended up as just a Marksman. That’s probably why they sent me to an Air Wing (2MAW). Continue reading “Rifle Qual Range Score Book”
Reading the 25 May newsletter, I came across some information regarding rifle and pistol qualification that needs to be clarified to some extent. I have qualified with the three service rifles that the Marine Corps had up to 1988: They were the M-1 Grand, M-14, and the M-16. From the fifties and well into the eighties, the course of fire for qualification for recruits never changed. Continue reading “Straight Scoop”
Lieutenant Col. Jason L. Nickerl, Deputy Director of Recruiting, Western Recruiting Region, was honored at his retirement ceremony at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, May 20. His retirement was bittersweet because as he leaves the Corps, he watched his son graduate recruit training and fill his footsteps. Continue reading “The USMC Tradition Continues”
Calling Marines of 1958 PI boot camp era: can anyone remember and provide the rifle range details for this old Marine, obviously now in his mid-seventies who, much to my dismay, is having difficulty recalling the exact firing protocol for each position with our M1’s back in the day? Specifically, what the did we shoot in the four positions of offhand, kneeling, sitting and prone? This is all I remember (I think): 100 yds. offhand; either 200 and/or 300 yds. kneeling and sitting; and pretty sure we did prone at 500 yards. Which positions and associated distances were shot in slow fire and which in rapid fire? Referring to the USMC Manual of the day yielded zero results. Your help to answer these nagging questions will be very much appreciated. Semper Fi to all brother and sister Marines.
During rifle inspection, which included grilling of the recruits about general orders, command chain, etc. The Lt and Gunny came before Pvt Renfro: “Pvt! What is your first general order! Reply, I don’t know sir: Pvt who is the Commandant of the Marine Corps? Don’t know sir! Pvt what is your 3rd general order? Don’t know sir! Pvt! Do you know anything?! Yes sir! Well Pvt what do you know? (pause)…Don’t know sir! At which point, the Lt (mustang from Univ of Tenn) threw Pvt Renfro’s M-14 50 yards in the air and into a muddy puddle. It took everything the DI’s had to keep us from laughing. Pvt Renfro, “was counseled” later in the barracks.
This picture shows me receiving the “Outstanding Member” of my platoon award during Boot Camp graduation ceremonies at Parris Island in late November 1961. As you can see I was wearing a “P-ss Cutter” instead of a barracks cap and that was because clothing issue was out of my size. You might wonder how someone wearing a Rifle Marksman badge managed to win the award. Well, let me tell you. Continue reading “Managed To Win The Award”
Regarding Bob Lonn’s mention of Big and Little Agony at Camp Matthews. You mention running up and down them. In 1957 (Plt 243) we had to “Duck-Walk” them in the July heat and dust. That was with steel helmets on and our Garand M-1’s behind our neck. It was brutal, but every one made it. I also have to mention that we had two (2) JDI’s. I swear when we started out with them they had a pact going for the entire 13 week boot camp. For the first half one of the JDI’s played good cop while the other played bad cop. The second half of boot they switched. This was a real blow to all of us as we were just getting to like the “Good Cop” JDI. However, this we all survived too…!
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.
Picture taken on graduation day for platoon 374 in back of the barracks on the third battalion drill field with the mess hall in the background. Left is SDI Gunnery Sergeant Kearney. Purple Heart from a shot in the stomach on Saipan. A model for R Lee Ermey. To his right is Staff Sgt. Wright JDI, Purple Heart in Korea, heavy weight boxing champ for the Marines in 1956. Missing in the shot is Sgt. Murphy the other JDI. Never forget them or platoon 374.
Digging around through my ‘artifacts’, I found another jewel from boot camp – my U.S. Marine Corps Rifle Marksmanship And Data Book (For U.S. Rifle 7.62-MM, M-14). Memories of Camp Matthews  just roared back – living in those tents, running up and down ‘Big and Little Agony’, burying our rifles (with bolts open) in the sand and pouring water on them (rifle inspection hadn’t turned out very well, I guess), showering in less then warm water. Awe, yes… those were truly very informative days!