I will never forget the first words I heard when I first arrived at MCRD. We arrived from the airport about 10:00 p.m. (military time was not the standard for a few more minutes). It was dark, we had tinted windows, and the building stood out like a brightly lit island in the void. We pulled to a stop, and a Marine stepped on. We had all lost the power of speech when we passed the gate, so it was complete silence for a heartbeat. Then came The Word.
“Welcome to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California. My name is Sergeant (name lost to the universe). When I give you The Word, you will stand. You will pick up all items you brought with you and hold them with your left hand. You will exit the bus and proceed to my associate who is standing by the yellow footprints. You will do this quickly, you will not run. You will stand on the footprints where he tells you. You will stand on those footprints with your heels together, your feet at a 45 degree angle. Your hands will be at your sides, thumbs along the seams of your trousers. Your head will be up, your eyes looking straight ahead, and your mouth shut. You have one minute to perform these actions. And 30 seconds are gone.”