Dirty Laundry

Sgt. Grit,

Remember in boot camp the scrub brush and the soapy water and the tables we scrubbed our clothes on. Some guys did this in Camp Geiger too! I went home after Camp Geiger on a bus from North Carolina with my sea bag and dirty laundry.

My mom went apesh-t when I emptied my sea bag on the Persian Living room carpet! She made me take it to the Chinese Laundry around the corner. Major cities had these Chinese hand laundry’s – that did predominately linens – table clothes – and shirts. The old Chinese gentleman spoke little English and gave you a receipt with Chinese characters on it for a stub. He weighed the sea bag – and bowed to me. Two days later I went to pick it up – and my mom paid back then like $20.00 (which was very expensive for those days – when a regular laundry would cost less than $5.00.) The Chinese guy went berserk yelling and screaming and pointing at me – the guy’s wife came out of the back to quiet him down – and calmly explained to me that my skivvies and utilities were so dirty I clogged the pipes when they cleaned the dirty clothes. My utilities were now sparkling – and my skivvies were bright white – rough socks were smooth to my skin. A rare treat for a Marine after boot camp.

Went to a few nice restaurants and met a nice girl at a military dance in the great city of New York – then alas – my leave was up – went to the Port Authority Bus Station in New York City – and the Marine went into survival mode carefully watching his wallet and his gear aboard the bus – as we trusted only other Marines to watch our backs.

Bruce Bender

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15 thoughts on “Dirty Laundry”

  1. I remember the concrete wash racks by the heads on the company street. Clothepins on the bills of our utility covers while we scrubbed and rinsed our uniforms. We would be led by our platoon guide as we yelled out our general orders only to be interrupted by the noisy amphib plane flying over frequently. Quite a teaching moment at MCRD San Diego in 1963.

    1. Frank Everett do you remember when you was Boot Camp your Driii Sargeant when it was time to wake up yelling you got only 15 minutes to S.H.I.T. SHOWER, and SHAVE .

      1. Hey Arnorld Cabral i belived that Frank Everett said he went to Marine Coprs boot camp in San Diego. He did not have Drill Sergeants, he had Drill Instructrors.


  3. Ye Olde concrete wash stands at Parris Island (and I assume San Diego had them also) keeps popping up as favorite stories from boot camp. Yes, I too have a story about them. Plt. 529 at the University of Parris Island was at the wash stands one Sunday in late 1952 doing our domestic chores with the herringbone utilities. At some time during our cleaning exercise, the Jr. DI had us fall in formation at attention. For one hour at attention under the unforgiving South Carolina sun, he allowed the infamous SC sand fleas unlimited chow call upon our sweaty bodies. Since we knew the consequences for moving while at attention could be quite severe, not the first recruit took a shot at eliminating one of those pesky SOBs. Not a pleasant remembrance, but a remembrance indeed.

  4. If memory serves (more often than not these days), at MCRD SanDiego in late ’64 (3rd RTB, Plt 3006) we got 5 minutes to S.H.I.T Shower and Shave. We soon learned to leave our dopp kits in the sinks and take our shaving cream and razor into the showers and shave at the same time as we showered.

    1. We had the same time limit to complete the triple S in 79, but I would take the last firewatch, that way I would be up before I had to wake the Drill Instructors and I could sit in peace and take care of business before everyone else was was up and given 5 minutes to get dress, make your racks and make a head call. It took a while before everyone else realized the benefits of volunteering for last firewatch every morning.

  5. In the summer of 1967 It was liquid Wisk and a scrub brush for the dirty whatever needed cleaned. Some times that meant some a lot extra scrubbing to get rid of the racing stripes on your whites.

    1. Summer of 79 was the same with Wisk and a brush in San Diego. Remember beating a pair of boots to “break them in” on the racks as well.

  6. I remember those racks at 2nd Battalion Parris Island, but in ’81 we just used them to smoke around when the D.I.’s would tell us the smoking lamp was lit. Our laundry was separated into 2 fart sacks and hauled off. One sack for greens and one for whites.

  7. The 5 minutes we got to do the three S’s left a forever memory… To this day I will not be rushed to s–t… I have 5 kids and they all know once the throne room door closes “Do Not Disturb”…… L/Cpl H. Young, 65/69 Semper Fi…

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