First let me say that your newsletter has brought me hours of laughter and sadness. What a wonderful avenue for Marines and their family and friends to sound off and keep in touch.
I was fortunate enough to make the grade and earn the title Marine in 1973, March to June, Parris Island, Plt. 325 H Company, SDI was SSgt. Burkamp, ADI's were Sgt. Benn and Cpl. McDavid, who by the way made Sgt. during our glorious 3 months on the Island.
My story is a humorous one to me, in that it involved a drill instructor from another platoon in our series. During our two weeks at the range, if you remember, we packed up and move out to Weapons Bn. for two weeks and then packed up and moved back to main side to complete our training. Anyhow, while standing in formation waiting to go to chow during the week of “snap in” one of the drill instructors from another platoon came walking out on the stairwell at the 3rd floor holding a M-14 in his hand screaming about someone forgetting to lock up their weapon. I know you guys remember having someone forget to lock up their weapon. Well anyhow, this DI wants to know who belongs to Serial number, blah blah blah, and some “Prive” answers up it was his and he was told to come and show his self to the DI. This recruit gets about ten steps from his platoon, the DI tells him to stop and the DI, by the way this DI looked just like the cartoon character, “Dudley Doright” for you old timers out there, takes the M-14 by the barrel and throws it at the recruit, who by the way, never flinched. This weapon hits the pavement and the stock explodes. There are pieces to this weapon everywhere. End of Story for now.
I graduate, made Meritorious PFC, and off to Armorers (2111- small arms repairman) School in Aberdeen, Maryland. Graduate from armorers school #2 in the class, got my choice of duty stations, Quantico was available as was Cherry Point and Parris Island. Well the guy who finished first took the one I was hoping to get, Quantico, so that left me with PI or Cherry Point. I pick PI and off I go on Labor Day weekend of 1973. End up in H & S Bn. Service Co. and at the Armory on Main Side in behind 1st Bn. We moved the Armory to Weapons Bn. finally, under the Weapons Bn. Mess Hall if you remember and he is where the story turns funny.
One day there's this recruit trying to turn in his to get it fixed with his DI standing just behind him and off to the right of the window and the stock is broken. The recruit is terrified, as we all were at time, one of my NCO's in the Armory sees the broken weapon and starts yelling and wanting to know what happened and you know, the usual crap, and this DI now presents a good view of himself and says something about the recruit running out the barracks hatch and towards the steps and he fell and the weapon fell down the steps. Yep, it was the same DI from when I was a recruit. Obviously I kept my mouth shut and went and fixed the weapon and made sure the barrel wasn't bent or anything bad.
When I went back out with the weapon to the little windows we had for Marines to do business with us, I asked the recruit his serial number and he recited it and I handed him the M-14. As he grabbed the weapon I held on for just a second and said, “I sure hope you've learned your lesson about locking up and securing that Weapon to your rack”. The DI turned blood red and off they went. Him and I ran into each other at a later time and had quite the laugh about the incident. He said when I did that he almost crapped.
Thank you for allowing me to tell my story. Thank you all for serving this wonderful country of ours. God Bless all of you in Harms Way at this time and be safe.
SSGT. Burkamp, Sgt. Benn and Sgt. McDavid, if any of you are still out there. Thanks for making me a Marine. I owe you one.
Sgt. Ricky A. Wilson (2111)
March 1973 to March 1976