Parris Inland in the summer of 1968—the summer of love for hippies on the west
coast. However, not so much for Platoon 296 on Parris Inland with Sgt.
Morris—not even close! We had completed about half of our training when recruits
started coming in from being recycled. That’s when we learned that the Drill
Instructor Sgt. Morris told us the truth about doing our entire enlistment at
Parris Inland if we couldn’t get our “sh-t together” and move on Camp Stone Bay
(for 03’s). I know there are Marines out there who can confirm the fear factor
we were feeling. I mean, I was barely 17 and wanted to see women again before I
got too old to appreciate them.
But I digress, it’s 0300, the alarm goes off for a fire drill in these very old
wooden barracks. We all turn out in formation with our buckets in toll and wait.
Sgt. Morris was one of the meanest men I have ever known and I worked 30 years
as an Intensive Probation/Parole Officer after I got out. Anyways, Sgt. Morris
called one of the “new” guys out of formation and instructed him to sing for
everyone. After some words with him, the new boot started to sing in a beautiful
voice that was so clear and rich—-“Yesterday” by the Beetles. MAN! Sgt. Morris
didn’t say another word. We were dismiss back to the barracks—there was no fire.
You could almost read everyone’s mind—-we were back home holding on to that
girl who promise never to leave us. I graduated from Parris Isnland just about
51 years ago and can still hear him sing that song and think how appropriate it
Foot Note: I was told that the recruit was KIA in V.N. ( or seriously
wounded the person who told me was not sure if he made it home) and Sgt. Morris continue to use a tent pin on recruits. The next patch that came after us reported him for abusive behavior . We were told that he received a court martial for abusive behavior but that was the rumor so I can’t swear to it and we all know how bad rumors were—I wonder if they still are?