Real Rifles At Parris Island

Diagram of an M-1 Garand

At Parris Island in August of 1960, we still had the “REAL” rifles (M1 Garands) with stacking swivels. The stacking swivel actually had two very important uses. Number one was to enable the weapon to be stored in the upright position when hooked to two other rifles in a “teepee”. The second was as a motivator as in “All right girls, gettum’ out by the stacking swivels”, which was used by our Drill Instructors when somebody was out of step in the platoon. On this command we had to hold the 9.5 pound weapon straight out from the body by the stacking swivel between the thumb and forefingers of both hands. On a hot August Parris Island grinder, it wasn’t long before the strongest among us was in serious pain trying to stay in an upright position. The stacking swivel was indeed a very important part of Marine Corps lore and the source of sea stories. I hated to see it go.

Cpl Norm Spilleth
’60 – ’64

23 thoughts on “Real Rifles At Parris Island”

      1. The M14, I remember, had no stacking swivel but used a loop in the sling to make the stacked arms tripod. I was in Platoon 161 at Parris Island in August of 1962. We were issued M1’s when we went to ITR at Camp Lejeune.

    1. Yes I also remember all this an more,there were many times I hated the M1 but was one of the best rifles ever for other reason. I was at PI in Feb 1960, 2nd By. Promotion 222. Semper FI. Bernie Randolph

  1. I am so glad there is a comment section here. Marine Spilleth, when did you arrive at PI. We were basically in at the exact same time. I arrived at PI on 1 July 60 and was assigned to Plt 257, 2nd Bn. I served from ’60-’64 as well, and also finished out as a Cpl. At Camp Lejuene I served as a radio (2531) and radio telegraph (Morse Code-2533) operator, in H&S Co, 2nd Bn, 6th Marines, 2nd MARDIV. I know I’m getting old when my MOS’s either one or both don’t even exist anymore. (michaeldmillerphotography@gmail.com) West Hartford, CT

    1. Hey Michael, I know how you feel about your MOS and being “old”. My MOS was 0839 that was titled “shore fire control party” which translated meant we were the naval gunfire forward observers. During the old style amphibious landings we went in with the first wave of Infantry. Our regular billet was with the artillery. Now I find that my entire old artillery Btn. – the 10th marines is no longer in business. WOW ,we are getting old.

  2. I arrived at PI April 26, 1961 was with the 3rd Bn. for a few days and was set back 2 wks. as I didn’t go to a class and stayed in the Barracks. Is went to Pl.125, 1st Bn. where I met 2 of my hometown friends I talked into joining the Corps. Oh Happy Day. I had my M1 Garand # 2728921 for 3 years and fired 221,223,and 227 then they gave a piece of doggy doo called theM14 and I dropped to 197. Got my Honorable Discharge at Camp LeJeune H/2/6 on July 29/1965. I had to make up some Brig Time in a Red Line Brig at Pearl Harbor. All said I would do it all over today but I guess this “Old Salt” is 73 and probably couldn’t walk from the Yellow Prints Reception to the 3rd Bn. We didn’t say OOH RAH back then but we did have a “Semper Fi”,Mac.

    1. Semper Fi Roger Tom Garrison 2207246. No only is the M1 gone but so are MSN’s I hear they now use Social Security numbers for Military IDs.

    2. I got to PI in July of 61. Platoon 144, D Company, 1st BN. Outposted on Friday, October 13. Been my lucky day ever since! I agree, we didn’t have OOH RAH back then.

  3. Semper Fi Marines, your stories bring back memories that will never be seen again. I served from 3-61 through 3-67…..Platoon 117… P.I.S.C. with a 1924… service number. Originally from Flushing N.Y. The Corps was responsible for and shaped my life especially in later years. Still have my Graduation photo on my wall and remember all my D.I.’s as if it were yesterday. Stay Safe and continue with the stories….Rich G……Hwy2930@yahoo.com

  4. Semper Fi Marine Corps strong,I was in PI in 1975 we had the m16’s but stillh ad it bad there,but not anymore they say that it’s a walk in the park,there is no longer a motivation camp to go through if you’re gettingo it of line ,they are not event throwing gernades there anymore

  5. At Parris island 1965 and we where issued the M-14’s [Good Rifle] when we went to Camp Gieger for Infantry Training we where issued the M-1 Garand’s another long shot rifle however the 14’s had a 20 round clip and I believe the M-1’s had 8.

  6. The M-1 was very good rifle. Mine was an H&R (4669737) that stayed with me for three years, from 1954 – 1957. I was in Plt 464, A Co, 1st Bn, until the rifle range where I got pneumonia. Handed my rifle to the DI at the 500, got into an ambulance to the Beaufort Naval Hospital, rejoined & graduated with Plt 467. Went by troop movement to Geiger, so my rifle stayed with me. Everybody in my squad fired rifle grenades using my rifle. It was dropped and filled with sand which I shook out during a live firing problem – and it still worked! On to Quantico, again by troop movement so I still kept the rifle. Shot expert regularly and I fired on the Quantico rifle team, and at one match at Ft Meade, using the National Match ammo, was plonking in a steady stream of 5’s & V’s at 600 yards. One click of windage would put the rounds to either side of the V-ring. It was just an issue rifle, never got more than the normal ordnance checks before the range. It was one fine rifle and I wish I had it today. It was accurate and rugged. In my opinion the Marines should issue a rifle in boot camp and have the individual ‘own’ it as long as a rifle is their issue weapon.

  7. The last ITR company at San Onofre to use the M-1 Garand, (and the BAR), in training was Quebec Company in the Fall of 1967.
    I was there when the troop handlers had us change the big rocks around our huts to little rocks. Then they said they didn’t like the little rocks, they told us to bring the big rocks back. What a fun day. By the time we did all that it was too late to go on our very first Base Liberty. Etc., etc. Every day’s a holiday, and every meal a feast. Semper Fi, Mac.

    1. Went through ITR in Feb of 68, and we were told that we were the first M Co to draw the M-14 as the previous M Co has M-1s.

  8. I joined the reserves in high school in Pgh. and did the meetings and a summer camp at LeJeune prior to going regular. Hit PI 1Oct54-18 Dec. Had shot the M1 a lot prior so DI said you only need to qualify and made me the right guide so I carried the guidon the whole time😁. Shot 245 on qual day in the rain. 4 didn’t qualify. DI made them stand, put their covers on backward, look up into the rain and shout we’re s— birds from Yamassee until they were hourse. Never did figure that one out.
    Long story short. 1980 I decided to buy an M1 thru the Civilian Marksmanship Program. Got brand new Springfield, still in cosmoline for $90. Started a Maryland Marine shooting team and shot at Quantico on a regular basis where I got to meet Sgt. Hathcock. He was out of the Corps by then but still came to the meets. He would pick up a rifle fire a couple rounds to get his dope and then proceed to put 10 in the 10 ring, from 1000 yards! Amazing.
    I had my rifle customized by a Staff Sgt. who was an armorer for the shooting team. Full National Match with .25MOI. Shot 10 years in a lot of matches. Rifle was better than I😬😬😬. Still have it. Been offered $2000 for it as Hathcock had fired it!

    Semper Fi

  9. John Engel July 14 2019. We got to PI end of 58’ starting platoon 109. Yeah I know what you are thinking “ OLD SCHOOL “, well I guess it was. Old school type training also. We were giving m1 that we’re still wrapped in cosmoline with brown wrapping paper. What a mess to clean up..the DIs were kind enough to give us some steel wool to get the roughness off the stock.good huh ?. Yes it was one heavy weapon & we were taught to respect it. We only had a couple men that had a problem trying to qualify,but the range officers helped them without bullying. I did well & came out with a expert badge.had that rifle till I went to aviation school. Hated to loose a good friend.

  10. I got to P.I. August 1960 also plt 277 Charlie co. I also am familiar with the stacking swivel. I also remember D.I.’s Law, Swan and Eldridge they were such nice guy’s. But all n all would not change it for nothing.

  11. I GOT TO PARRIS ISLAND ON APRIL 19 1954 BOY WAS IT HOT. THE DI MET US AT THE BUS STOP AND ALL HELL BROKE OUT WE KNEW IT THEN THIS IS NOT GOING TO BE A CAKE WALK HE SURE GOT US SQUARED AWAY FAST .WE CARRIED TH M1 GARAND ALL THROUGH BOOT CAMP WE SLEPT WITH OUR RIFLES SOME NIGHTS WHEN WE DID NOT PLEASE HIM. HE ALSO DUCK WALKED US TO MORNING CHOW. WHEN WE SCREWED UP.WE COULD NOT TALK TO ANY ONE NO RADIOS AND NO MAGAZINES WE WERE NOT ALLOWED TO READ ANY BOOKS EXCEPT THE MARINE CORPS HAND BOOK. THEY SHIPPRD MOST OF US TO CAMP PENDELTON FOR COMBAT TRAINING AFTER GRADUATION WE THEN GOT SHIPPED TO JAPAN.SEMPER FI CPL DOM SIENI I AM STILL A MARINE AT 84 YEARS OLD.

  12. I arrived on Parris Island the Land that God forgot November 1974 . I was
    ready for what ever, those D I’s was all over your but and falling in on
    those yellow foot print I then know that I was not Durham N. C . anymore .
    I gave up my full football scholarship to join the United State Marines Corps
    I would n’t change anything I love those dress Blues my platoon 3002
    My first duty station was Camp Lejeune

    Cpl James MCADOO
    USMC

  13. 7 July 58 MCRD San Diego Plt 260 MSN 1823916 BTW we had recruits with 169xxxx MSN. Service numbers were assigned according to the district you came from. Anyway we also received our M1 in cosmolene and paper. The stocks,oh the stocks rough,rough and rough (like brand new!). DIs told us the stocks would be as smooth and shine as a mirror before bookcamp ended and they did. We used steel wool and LOTs of lynnseed oil. I remember some of the stocks were beautiful with the grain being slightly different through out the stock. I’m positive the DIs took the best stocks for themselves as we turned our rifles in when we complete boot training before going to ITR @ Camp Pendelton

  14. Entered PI – Nov. 59 -Feb 1960 – Third Battalion – PLT 376 – The Battalion that had the Q-Huts as our housing ! What a trip ! Any one out there that were assigned to the Q-Huts ? I understand that new barracks were being built and the Q – Huts were dismantled –

    Tom Kupchek – CPL E-4
    OHIO

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