Plt 3008, MCRD SD
28 JUN – 26 AUG 1967
Growing up, I always knew I wanted a career in military service. From age 14 on I knew it was the Marines for me. “You’re a scrawny, short, skinny kid. The Marines would eat you up and spit you out.” I’d heard that from folks my age and older whenever I would tell them I wanted to be a Marine. My closest friends shared the same desire and we had The Guidebook for Marines, knew our general orders and so forth.
Fast forward to MCRD San Diego in the summer of 1967. (I’d made it! At least as far as a “maggot” in our platoon.) Our drill instructors taught us race relations long before it became mandatory in the 70’s. GySgt Moreno made life H-ll on any Hispanic recruit who dared speak Spanish, Sgt Dimry made life h-ll on the black recruits and SSgt Brown made sure us white kids were not left out. Clever me, I’d managed to become mostly invisible, or at least not noticed. We were at Edson Range and we lucked out and got maintenance duty. The mess hall was outstanding. We were told we could go back for seconds if we wanted them. I decided a second glass of milk would just about make my day.
We got in formation outside the mess hall. A small PX was next door. We could see this corporal in “Charlies” wearing his ‘Nam ribbons coming out with a large Coca-Cola. (All of $.20 then.) The house mouse who stood in formation next to me nudged me in the ribs and whispered “That Coke looks great doesn’t it?” I whispered a quick “Ya” out of the side of my mouth. My anonymity had just ended. SSgt Brown grabs me by my stacking swivel (aka my neck) and yanks me out of formation. “Oh, Private Hansen wants a Coca-Cola, does he?!” “Sir, NO SIR!!!” “Hance, I think maybe you should have one!” “Sir, the Private can wait until he graduates, SIR!!” “Naw Hance, you and me are buddies. How much money do you have on you?” (Think fast!) “Sir, the Private has $.40 Sir!” “Good, take out a dollar!” My newfound best friend and I went into the PX and bought FIVE $.20 Cokes. (They even bagged them nicely for me.) Then the two of us proceeded back to our two story recruit barracks.) On the “stroll” back there (I think I kind of felt a kinship with anyone on death row) SSgt Brown asks “Hance, what do you think I’m going to make you do for these Cokes?” “Sir, PT forever, Sir!” “Oh no, Hance, I’d never do that.” We proceeded to the second deck and entered our squadbay.
He sat in his folding chair behind the field desk and “invited” me to take a seat on the deck in front of him. I was told to line up the five large cokes in one rank. When he gave the order I was to chug down all five as fast as humanly possible. (Cr-p, full belly and an extra milk!!! Cr-p!) Lids off. I downed the first three and puked my guts out. “Hance, what are you stopping for!?!?! You have two more to go!” Two more Cokes chugged and they produced similar results – barf #2. (My one bit of satisfaction was I saw that I managed a bit of barf on his spit shined shoe. Still, total humiliation!!!) “Sir, does the Drill Instructor want me to get a swab and clean this mess up?” “Well, you silly little S–t, you don’t think I’m going to clean up your mess, do you?” I quickly got a bucket full of water and a swab and I carefully cleaned around his affected shoe. After swabbing I returned the cleaning gear to the locker. I then reported back to SSgt Brown. “Hance, I think you need a bit of exercise after all that, GET IN THE PIT!” I started out with side straddle hops (until he got tired of watching) and then bends and thrusts followed by push-ups. (Ya, I’ll just PT myself to death and then HE WILL BE IN BIG TROUBLE!) Finally, after an eternity (probably 15 or 20 minutes in all reality) he told me to report back to him in the squadbay. He puts an arm around my shoulder and tells me he is going to give me a treat. He is going to allow me in the drill instructors quarters and listen to Wolf Man Jack with him. (Oh cr-p, double cr-p!) He then instructs me to sit in the Chinese thinking chair. (Back against the bulkhead, legs bent as if really on a chair and arms forward parallel to the deck.) He then placed a pair of bolt cutters across the tops of my hands, palms down, fingers extended and told me if I dropped them I was dead. I remained in that shaky position for what seemed like hours but was probably only about 15 minutes or so. SSgt Brown had left and Sgt Dimry came in and told me to stand up, put down the bolt cutters and go study my X1 (knowledge) for the rest of the afternoon. That was the first time Sgt Dimry saved my butt. The second time was when we were taking our final PRT (Physical Readiness Test). Part of it consisted of zig-zagging out, picking up a “fallen” buddy and fireman’s carrying him back. I zigged and one of the other recruits (the king rat of the house mice) zagged and we collided and knocked each other down. We got up and finished our drill. Then he came over and slugs me in the mouth for making him look bad. I figured “What the H-ll” and lit back into him. We were tussling all over the place and Sgt Dimry tells us to stand at attention. He knocks Mr. King Rat on his azs and says “That was an accident.” I’m waiting for my punch when he tells me to get back in the ranks. Needless to say, I would have gone through H-ll for Sgt Dimry after that.
We qualified 100% at the rifle range and were the honor platoon.
MGySgt USMC Ret.
Jun 1967 – Aug 1993