I passed through the gates of MCRD San Diego, at around 7:00pm in the evening, on May 28, 1968. I was on a bus with maybe 100 other young sad sacks of various backgrounds and character. The sun was setting and shadows were getting long as the bus pulled up to the receiving area. There I spied several obviously muscular men dressed in sharp, impeccable uniforms, topped off with smokey bear "hats". They were glaring intently at us as the bus came to a halt. I assumed correctly that these were our Drill Instructors.

Inside the bus you could have heard a pin drop. The driver opened the door and one of the DI's boarded the bus. Standing next to the driver, he stared down the length of the bus, and in the most authoritative voice I'd ever heard up untill then, he bellowed, "I am Gunnery Sergeant Olerking! ON YOUR FEET, LADIES!!" ... From the back of the bus comes, "who you calling, ladies?".

I'm thinking "did someone just say something?", but before I could really complete the thought, Gunnery Sergeant Olerking, had made it to the back of the bus, snatched the guy with the smart mouth out of his seat, and was literally bouncing him like a basketball down the aisle, while accompanied by the most vile cursing imaginable. Gunnery Sergeant Olerking, then threw this guy bodily off the bus and into the middle of the waiting group of Drill Instructors, who commence in unison to beat the living snot out of Mr. Big Mouth.

Now, when I first laid eyes on the Drill Instructors as our bus approached, I was starting to have my doubts about my decision to join the Marine Corps. After what I had just witnessed I was pretty sure that I had not only made a big mistake, but most likely had signed my own death warrant. The other hundred souls on the bus were experiencing similar thoughts.

After about 5 minutes, but what seemed much longer, of beating on Mr Mouth, Gunnery Sergeant Olerking comes back onto the bus and once again bellows "ANY OF YOU SLIMY PUKES LEFT ON THIS BUS AT THE END OF ONE MINUTE WILL HAVE YOUR BALLS RIPPED OFF AND FED BACK TO YOU!!"  Man, you should have seen us scratching and clawing to get off that bus!

The rest of the night was filled with similar incidents. We finally hit the rack at around 4:30am ... Revelle was at 5:00am.Thus began my first day of boot camp in the Marine Corps ... and, that's another bunch of stories.

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Richard, you made my husband and I laugh out loud!
What is it about busses and drill sergeants? I, too, remember the drill sergeants climbing on our light blue bus, scaring us out of our minds and spewing profanities. We knew the real deal had started. I especially loved when they had 250 of us in the company climb off buses and have us find our duffle bags. It was a towering mountain and they all looked the same. All the while they are swarming us and screaming to hurry up.

EVERY person who ever served in the military has memories of their first day. I challenge them to Add a new discussion and share their memories as you did.

Yeah, boot camp stories are fun to swap. I've got a million of them :o) .. Hope others share some, too. 

I still can't believe that guy talked back to the Gunny.


OK, here's my sea-story Boot Camp 1957 Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Deigo...I won't start it like most sea-stories.

It was either the third or fourth day of Boot Camp.

We waddled/marched to the mess hall for our noon meal.

I happen to notice a friend - Louie from my home town.

He was a few weeks ahead in training.

I started talking to Louie, he tell's me 'SHUT UP'.

I keep on talking and he still telling me 'SHUT UP'.

About this time I feel somebody grabbing me by the neck.

It's my Drill Instructor, and he say's; I see you like to talk!

Get up on that table, we all want to hear what you have to say.

Now, I'm all shook up, I stutter; Sir, this recruit was asking the other recruit, what the training ahead was like. Sir.

He than tells me keep on talking, till everybody in your platoon is through eating.

I can't remember what I uttered that day, but I knew I wasn't going to eat my noon meal.

Never again did I utter a word in the mess-hall.

End of sea-story...

Cripes, Jacques, you sure are a motor mouth! I can see why you'd get in trouble for not keeping your yap shut!

BTW, I don't know about 1957, but in 1968 we were called "Privates", and not "Recruits". Also, our DI's beat the crap out of us daily, and trust me, there were no repercussions. We had three non-quals at the range. All had a special "thank you" from our platoon DI's. One had to go to sick bay for stitches.

Perhaps in '68, the Marine Corps had suffered such high losses in Vietnam, that the rules were bent a little. Our boot camp in the summer of 1968 was only 8 weeks, and half my platoon were draftees. The three non-quals graduated with us, and were given artillery mos's (go figure). I was sent to comm school, and we had another that was sent to cooking school. Every other swinging **** in the platoon was given 0300 (Grunt). The Corps needed bullet sponges, and didn't care so much if they got roughed up a bit ... I guess.

I see, we share a common name Richard aka Ricardo.

I help train some recruits aka privates in 1966.

When I was a Primary Marksmanship Instructor (PMI).

Best duty, I ever had, other than Recon training.

I was in two Recon Battalions; 1st and 3rd Recon.

With Charlie Company 1st Recon, we made a little trip towards Cuba in 1962.

From 1963 to late March 1965, I was a member of Bravo Company 3rd Recon at K-Bay Hawaii.

On arriving Okinawa after a trip by ship, all the infantry companies found themselves short of squad leaders.

I was plucked out of Recon to fill in as a squad leader in India Company 3rd Battalion 4th Marines.

Four months later several of us from Hawaii, who tour would have been over.

Were send back home to the USA.

That when I was a PMI, about late 1966, I get orders back to Nam.

I was a sergeant and a few months later I was a Staff Sergeant.

And a platoon sergeant in Golf Company 2nd Battalion 1st Marines.

Sometimes, one remembers things about boot camp.

So we tell sea-stories about what it was like.

Some good and some bad

But once you achieve or reach the goal of becoming a Marine.

You know, why we hold each other to our Marine Corps Core Values.

Of Honor, Courage and Commitment.


R - Realizing it is my choice and my choice alone to be a Reconnaissance Marine, I accept all challenges involved with this profession. Forever shall I strive to maintain the tremendous reputation of those who went before me.

E- Exceeding beyond the limitations set down by others shall be my goal. Sacrificing personal comforts and dedicating myself to the completion of the reconnaissance mission shall be my life. Physical fitness, mental attitude, and high ethics—The title of Recon Marine is my honor.

C - Conquering all obstacles, both large and small, I shall never quit. To quit, to surrender, to give up is to fail. To be a Recon Marine is to surpass failure; To overcome, to adapt and to do whatever it takes to complete the mission.

O - On the battlefield, as in all areas of life, I shall stand tall above the competition. Through professional pride, integrity, and teamwork, I shall be the example for all Marines to emulate.

N - Never shall I forget the principles I accepted to become a Recon Marine. Honor, Perseverance, Spirit and Heart.

I was living that before I ever knew it existed.

Color me; Motor-Mouth Jacques

Besides, I'm trying hard to win one of Claudia's Ebooks for my Kindle.

In late December 1957, there was just two of recruits that flew in from Chicago, Illinois.

They had place another in charge, so he made a call.

Soon there was a small Navy truck to take us to the Recruit Depot.

It was about midnight California time.

I remember standing and yell ATTENTION! over and over.

There some arched wall-ways, so it echo-ed down to wall-ways.

Some are yelling SHUT-UP...etc

That's cool, Ricardo ... Just giving you a rough time ... Thanks for the long winded response :o)

I know things change.


Rich, back in 1957, Private was a rank, followed by Private First Class.

Next was Corporal, who was thought as almost a GOD... and up the line in rank.

Lance Corporal was ahead in our future.

So, that the reason, we were called 'recruits' and a whole lot more.

For us to address ourselves as a Private, was asking for them to jump all over us.

It like now, some recruits reporting in a Marine Corps t-shirt.

The Drill Instructors  at both recruit depots, will jump all over them.

Yeah, ranks changed in the time between '57 and '68. I can see how it would have been different then.

I understand that they have gone back to calling everyone "recruit" again ... the more things change ... etc.

I arrived at MCRD San Diego on 30Oct1968 carrying the records of all the inductees traveling with me from Oakland. The recruiter thought this was a privilege given to me and would garner some positive attention. I felt honored at the time but the attention I got wasn't what I expected. Time in receiving was short. We were assigned  a series that same night, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion. Our Quonset huts were right next to the obstacle coarse and across from the airport. I'm from Northern California and saw and heard the PSA jets taking off all day long heading for Oakland. You are correct Richard in saying the DI's were brutal and believed in spare the rod spoil the private. As a squad leader I was summoned to the Duty Hut on several occasions to have corporal punishment administered to me for something someone in my squad had done. I was expected to square the private away or lose my position and be labeled a non hacker by the DI's. There was alot of pressure to qual at Edson Range. We had several privates who didn't, one who was picked up from another platoon after he non qualed previously. That evening the Junior DI said he was going to leave us by ourselves in the barracks for a bit while he went to the NCO club. He expected us to take care of the non qualers by running them through the gauntlet with their ponchos on after standing in the showers.  All our DI's were combat vets. The junior DI a Sgt was particularly sadistic like,he was the bad DI, the good DI was a Staff Sgt and the Platoon Commander was a Gunnery Sgt who survived Khe Sanh and was involved in hand to hand combat when his position was overrun. He had 2 tours in country under his belt. The gunny expected and demanded that we be the Honor Platoon. Anytime he thought we may be slacking a bit he would threaten to cancel the weekend leave of the junior DI and have him babysit us for the weekend. That was something no one would ever want. It was brutal. It would be a weekend of Chinese thinking positions,digging holes to China in the sand pits behind the huts,  p t ing and close order drilling until we dropped. This only needed to happen one time. Upon graduation in Jan1969 I was assigned an MOS of 1800 while the vast majority were given 0300 MOS's. Perhaps as a testament to our training our Platoon suffered zero casualties in Nam. Then again maybe we were just lucky.

The type of training we received was meant to harden us up for the task ahead and was meant to see if anyone would break from the stress in San Diego not Nam. The DI's had been to hell and back and were just trying to toughen us up as much as they could in a relatively short time. This was shared to me by my platoon commander many years later.

One more memory was during the first week of indoctrination, shots,medical check ups, aptitude testing etc the whole Series was in a large room and the question was asked is anyone a homosexual,have homosexual tendencies or thoughts? If so they had better speak up now and they will be given an immediate discharge along with a bus ticket and sent back home to mommy. If they don't and they are discovered later may god have mercy on their souls. My have things changed.

Our Platoon Commander ended up retiring in the 1980's as a Sgt Major.

I have remained in contact with him through the years and he raises cattle in Texas.

Sea-story #2 Boot Camp 1957 Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Deigo

This sea-story starts, with what I would call Marine humor.

We were living in Quonset  huts, the front and rear had small areas.

Bordered with rocks painted white, there was 'ice plant' in those areas.

The Marine Corps called this 'grass', only the Corps would do that.

Our job that day was to police the 'grass'.

So, the recruits faked that they were busy working.

I happen to notice this Drill Instructor walking without his 'smoky' 'cover/hat'.

Next I see this recruit running behind and he runs pass that Drill Instructor.

Without say, what we were taught to say, to everybody above us on passing them.

We had to say; 'Sir, by your leave. Sir'...

Next I hear a roar and get back here you turd.

As soon as that recruit saw who it was.

He must have went in his trousers.

Through the recruit grape-line, this was the meanest Drill Instructor.

The recruit he so shook up, he breaks another rule.

Not speaking in the third person and don't ever use 'I' or 'You'

He utters Sir, I ...that as far as he got.

The Drill Instructor poke's him in one eye.

Saying; 'which 'I'?

If a recruit ever said you, he would hear, so you think I'm a female sheep?

Followed by things I think best not mention.

End of sea-story. 

Sea-Story #3...

This was about a week before graduation and we would be Marines.

We were on a small drill field/grinder, the platoon was according to height.

The tall at the head and all of that suffered from a lack of height.

Were at the end, there was one recruit, I think his last was Barton.

That had a vision impairment.

He would drift off-line and I was just behind Barton.

And I would whisper come back to left or right.

Which way he had drifted.

When I'm doing that, the Drill Instructor.

Gave a turning movement.

Everybody made that turn.

And one recruit kept going ahead.

No! it wasn't Barton.

It was yours truly, Ricardo

The Drill Instructor makes the platoon halt.

Than he starts chewing on my 'butt'.

With the words; 'I should send you back a week.'

For this stunt, no way was I going to plea.

That it happened because I was helping Barton.

Than the both us would be in trouble.

The Drill Instructor didn't send me to another platoon

All of us graduated on time.

I never found out what happened to Barton.

End of sea-story 


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