Jarhead

I’ll never forget when we finished boot camp at Parris Island in 1966. Our drill instructor called 3 of us over to tell us we were going to radio school. After he told us where we were going he said, and I quote: “I just want you boys to know that once the shootin starts the average life of a radio operator is 30 seconds.” That was not something we wanted to know. Thanks be to God I lived much longer.

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16 thoughts on “Jarhead”

  1. Michael – It all depends in how quickly you can duck and cover. You must be fast! Semper Fi!!!

  2. DI sounds like a real asshole! how in the hell would saying something like that help? Not all RTO go to the infantry anyway.

  3. Well, I think those types of comments were pretty common. I was told as a gunner on a flamethrower in 1962 that my life expectancy upon hitting the beach was 9 seconds. That was allegedly because the the tank on the flamethrower held 521 lbs per square inch and would draw enemy fire and take out any surrounding personnel. As luck would have it, I was never put in that position so I cannot attest to its truth and was always suspicious about where those kind of statistics came from.

  4. I hump a radio in Nam in 1970 served with Golf 2/5. I got sniped at so many times, I started to loss interest in knowing if the VC/NAV qualified on their rifle range. I would tell the other guys that “they” kept missing me because I was able to stay close to the ground and outrun their rounds. Oh well, it finally took a mortar round to send me home. I guess luck can’t last forever.

  5. I remember my recruiter telling me that he was a radio man back in Vietnam. He said he had 5 radios shot off his back, and still had the scars on his back where some of the batteries burst and spilt what I assume was acid on him. If it weren’t for radio men, slot of us wouldn’t have made it back home. Semper Fi Marine.

  6. Isn’t it odd that, depending on the Marine MOS involved in the conversation, the likelihood of being shot changes? It can be a Second Lieutenant, radio operator, machine gunner, door gunner, forward observer, EOD … the list changes with the focus on who we wanna scare.

  7. Went to comm school at MCRD in 64. 2533. Went to Nam in 66-67. Not all of us who carried PRC-25’s on our backs, were hit. Glad to know you, like me, made it back. Welcome home, brother. Semper Fi.

  8. I never heard that from a DI. Of course I didn’t go to radio school. I went to 0311 “school”. Was with Mike 3/1 CUPP the whole time was a radio operator 11 months 2 weeks of my 12 months. They tried and failed.

  9. I had a DI during mail call one night (P.I. 1968) call my name followed by K.I.A. I didn’t take in personally and almost broke out laughing which was something that was not advisable.

  10. I HEARD THE SAME STORY WHILE IN BOOT CAMP PISC IN 1967. WAS IN VROC 9 2531 SAN DIEGO. 14 ( FAC) WITH 1ST BN 1ST MARINES 1969. I JUST I WAS PRETTY FAST ALSO . NOT A SCRATCH.

  11. I served in RVN in 1968 as a 2531 with Fox 2/12 as an arty radio operator. Attached to Kilo 3/9 we were on an operation in September, gooks on one hill, we were on another. Army helicopter gun ships, who were supporting us, mistook us for the gooks. Within a few seconds, 3 WIA and 1 KIA Marines. A misadventure. The fog of war. You don’t expect your own guys to be shooting at you. I was one of the WIA. Well, that was along time ago. I was born on Flag Day, it’s my BD today. SEMPER FI all.

  12. I think our drill instructors use their own form of psychology to tweek your mind! In boot camp every night we ended our day in our racks on our backs ending our rendition of the Marine Corps hymn with OOO-RAH! PRAY FOR WAR!!! WE WERE PSYCHED!

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