PI 144 in 1965

I enlisted in April 1965 while 17. I would go to PI after I graduated from high school as I would be 18, before the Marine Corps decided to draft recruits in August. I joined on the buddy plan. My buddy and I never saw each other after the train ride to New York City until months later.
The eighty guys with me were from New York and New Jersey who flew with me to Charleston, SC. My buddy took the train with a mess of guys from the NY metro area to Beaufort, SC. Each of our times in receiving was short.
The next day we got our gear and haircuts under the purview of drill instructors who greeted us the night before. Now the big change after our noon chow, 4 DI‘s came in. We 80 were their responsibility. They clearly informed us that we were to form 4 columns randomly with our new gear carried, not set on the ground. I was mid ranks and was looking forward to a summer takings orders.
Well, a DI grabbed my shoulder and told me I was first squad leader. I went to the head of the line. Not a good omen. We marched across the grinder looking like a caterpillar. At the barracks, I was told to enter the squad bay at a brisk pace. I asked no questions and lumbered forward with the newly received gear.
Wham, half way down and looking at the screen door I would tumble out if I had not been instructed by my DI to stop at the rack he wanted me to stop at. All others came in. And so training proceeded and continued until Mess week.
Sunday morning and 3 squads went to 1st Bn Mess Hall. One squad went to 4th Bn. We went to 1st Bn Mess Hall. It was hard work but the squad who went to 4th Bn seemed to enjoy beating us to the squad bay every day.
Our squad had half the mess hall. Another squad had the other half. The third was in the back of the kitchen out of sight.
Lunch mess call on Tuesday, I’m first to serve the meat and others serve the remainder of potatoes, vegetables, gravy, ice cream, bread, etc. A bunch of new recruits show up as a platoon. We serve them one after the other.
A new recruit presents his tray to me. I hit his tray with an empty spoon, no meat. He does not look at me and moves to the next station. That next future Marine sees this and hits his tray with an empty spoon. Everybody did not give him any chow.
Now the DI explosion: A DI watches what recruits get at the end of the chow line. While we continued to serve others, the DI sees his one recruit got nothing. He runs up to me and berates me. No worry on my part, this is not my DI. We then served the recruit a normal serving, but I hope the recruit learned about situational awareness.
The mess week finally ended Saturday night.

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7 thoughts on “PI 144 in 1965”

    1. You are correct Bill; 4th Bn is the Women’s Bn, although all 4 Bn’s are in close proximity to each other these days.

  1. I wish to beg your pardon about mess duty on Navy Ships. I volunteered for mess duty on the USS Francis Marion 1965 Med Cruise. Instead of standing guard on trucks in the hold every other day I was on liberty with the squids. My M O S was 0311 so instead of doing Marine stuff at sea I was in the kitchen being relieved at 1600 hrs. Plus the chow was good. I will agree that mess duty on shore was ugly, but necessary. Now it’s a thing of the past. Semper Fi Marines. USMC 64/69. RVN 65/66/69

    1. Henry I was on the Francis Marion Med Cruise in 1970. There was a live fire amphibious landing at Souda Bay in Crete. This unfortunately turned tragic when the exercise was over. The ship had a “picnic” on the beach area with half of the ship’s crew allowed on the beach for beer, hotdogs and hamburgers cooked on a grill. The warning was do not handle any ordnance you might find in the area but let the ships EOD personnel know where and they would take care of it. Three squids apparently didn’t think it applied to them and back in the dunes away from the beach there was a series of explosions. Others reported after the fact that they saw them with some “dud” mortar rounds that they had found. I didn’t see the aftermath, but heard that three or four mortar rounds that close to your body leaves relatively small pieces to be scraped up and sent home for a closed casket service. Semper Fi

  2. I stood on the yellow footprints at MCRD Paris Island in 1975 on the third of September, that day I will always remember. I remember the speech which included, “There’s only two ways off this island, in a uniform or in a box.” Very motivational right from the start. The only extra physical motivation I got was getting hit in the head with a trash can lid and bending it for being too slow. ” The next time you’re too slow I’m going to straiten it back out!” I made sure he never got the chance. We were on our way back on our third phase force march. My shin already had a couple of fractures and as we neared the barracks, I accidently stepped in a hole and tore tendons (or something) in my knee and went down. He was on me like a chicken on a June bug. “Get up! I’ve got too D**n much boot leather invested for you to quit now! If I have to set you back, I’m gonna leave some of it on your a**! GET UP!” You would be surprised at how good a crutch an M-16 makes! After we got our showers he called me to the quarterdeck, and I hobbled to the quarterdeck as best I could. ” Sir, Yes Sir”, I responded. He said “Gordon, we’re going to have health and comfort inspection in a few minutes. You can tell the C.O. about your knee if you want to, but if you do, he’s going to set you back and you’ll have to start your training all over again after you are released from MRP. BUT, the only thing we have left to do is Command Inspection. Then the day after tomorrow is Graduation Day. If you can put most of your weight on your good leg long enough for the General to take a look at you, then you can graduate with your platoon and get your leg fixed when you get to the FMF. It’s up to you.” I shouldn’t have to tell you what I decided. Let’s just say that’s where the term “No brainer ” originated. After Command Inspection the next day, we had a school circle that evening where we were assigned our MOS’s and given our PCS orders. When he was through, he said something I never dreamed I would hear. He said “Ya’ll don’t have to call me sir anymore, you’ll all be Marines in the morning. (Yeah, right) “I’ve just got one more piece of advice for you. I know you all think I’m the meanest S.O.B. to ever crap between a pair of combat boots, but you ain’t met the enemy yet! All of a sudden it all made sense to me. God bless you, Staff Sargent Grimsley, wherever you are.

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