Seventeen years old fresh out of high school and you think you are a man, huh boy do you have a lot to learn. August 2 1956 holding back tears you shake your Dad’s hand at six AM in the morning and give your sleepy eyed baby sisters a last hug ( you have sat and held them close for the last few days). Then you climb into the cab of a recruiting seargent’s MC pickup and head for downtown Los Angeles. Several hours later you have been stripped and tested and accepted into the armed forces of the United States of America. After a late lunch at a local dinner you are handed to buss tickets and put in charge of a older guy because you had three years of high school ROTC and are shipped off to San Diego California. You have never been away from home alone in your life and are you in for a rude shock when you get there.
The buss driver stops and calls gate 7 USMC Recruit Depot letting you know you have arrived. Disembarking from the buss you walk up to the guard shack where you are challenged by a stern faced guard who demands your business. Suddenly your knees are a lot weaker than a second ago. Shakily you try to hand him your orders which he refuses and barks hatefully what is your business again. In a voice much more squeaky than you like you say that you are reporting for duty. “what kind of duty?” he demands. You tell him you are a Marine, he laughs and says “You ain’t a Marine you ain’t even a damn boot yet.” Then he snatch you’r orders from your hand and barks for you to stand a attention and tell the other guy to wipe that damn grin off his face and to put out that cigarette, When he trows it on the ground the guard gets red in the face and tells him to pick it up and eat it Sweet Jesus you are ready to faint. Finally a PFC shows up and the guard tells him to get these two shits off his post. I feel better in the presence of the PFC and try to ask him a question and he snaps to shut up and keep up. Boy was I confused in ROTC a PFC was low man on the totem pole this clown is acting like a officer. When I got to my new platoons staging area they had already started processing and I was lost since I had missed the orientation. A corporal walks in and every one jumps up and shouts attention. Now I am lost corporals are not officers. I quickly learned I was not a Marine I was two inches lower than whale shit and any one in a Marine uniform was my superior. Lord I wanted to go home. We were issued our bucket supplies,a three gallon galavinsied bucket, a stiff scrub brush, a bar of coarse laundry soap, a towel, wash cloth, tooth brush, razor and five blades, tooth paste, comb. We kept our pants we were wearing but received tennis shoes, a sweat shirt two tee shirts and boxers and two pair of socks, a steel mirrow and a few other things that all fit in the bucket. We mailed every thing else home. They took us to a barracks and showed us how to make up a bunk. We were recruits at last still lower than whale shit. Revile came at 4:30 in the morning and hell officially began for the next sixteen weeks. One of the first things that happen was a visit to the barbers. I remember one kid had a full head of blond hair in a Duck-tail with impressive side burns. The barber asked him if he wanted to keep his sideburns. The poor guy said yes so the clown took the clippers and sliced one side off right to the skin and laid them in his hand and said here you go. I had just got a hair cut the week before and had it clipped close, they shaved me anyway. We immediately started to learn how to march and were moved into metal huts and learned how to clean the damn thing till they sparkled. We still had sixteen weeks of fun and games ahead of us and I.ll get to that another time. Just reading this makes me week in the knees and between the ears. I’m going to climb off the train for the night. Salute to you all ramblingbob