A RECRUIT IN TRANING TO BECOME A MARINE
My twenty year old, red headed, six foot one, Scoby Do, Shaggy looking , grandson with his little Shaggy goatee, gets picked up at 4:30 AM by his Marine Corps recruiter Staff Seargent Lopez tomorrow morning Monday July 23, for induction into the United States Marine Corps, my old alma Mater. By 12 PM he should be through with his induction proceedings. Then he will be provided with his last civilian meal and bussed to the San Deigo Marine Corps Recuit Depot , gate # 5 where his very young ass will become Mariine Corps property for the next four years. By six PM tomorrow the Hell known as Marine Corps Boot Camp will have began. By Mightnight I expect he will be hateing His grandfather and his good buddy that encourgaged him to enlist in this hallowed insitatution.
I was glad to finally be leaving home and embarking on my journy into manhood. Most of my life I had dreamed of becoming a soldier. The steps that led to the Marine Corps were long and not quite expected. As I have stated in the past I was born just before WWII started in 1938. I had four Uncles in the various services. Two in the army, one in the Marines and one in the Navy. the Navy never held any interest for me at all for some reason. And the Uncle that was in the Marines never infulnced me and was excluded from my life at a early age. Also I must admit that the Uncle in the Army was not close enough to really influnce me either. But the part of Missouri I was born and spent my first sixteen years in was Army country mostly.
Add to the equasion that our high school had a active ROTC program that a good third of the boys enrolled in and there you had the breeding ground for a wide Army base. I can safely say that I never saw anyone in a Marine Corps uniform in our town. Once I reached High School of course I enrolled in the ROTC program. The first year I wore my levies and a white T-shirt with crossed rifles and ROTC on the front anc carried a wooden cadet rifle. The second two years I was issued a full uniform of OD wool and issued a M1 Rifle and was in heaven. It also pleased my parents because two days a week I wore the uniform to school thereby elemating the need for a set of clothes.
In ROTC we had a regular Army Officer and two Sargents as instructiors. We drilled with the rifles and learned how to march. We also recieved regular class room training in other weapons, map reading, first aid and tatics. In short regular Army training. And I must admit I excelled in it all. I might barley scrape by in math and english but ROTC was all S’s and Excelent’s. I was destned for a millitary career.
We moved to California the summer between my 11th and 12th year. The schools I attended did offer ROTC so I had to take Phys. Ed. which I hated. Finally finishing my senior year, I turned my eyes to the future and decited in late June I wanted to join the Army. We lived in what was called North Redondo Beach on the Torrance line. I called the Army recuiter and made a appointment to meet with him on a certain day and time.
Now let me skip back a few months or more. First, My parents were having a Saturday night get together with a few people in the housing tract we lived in. Some how the subject came up about me wanting to join the Army, this big, and I mean big guy, said why don’t you join the Marines? I replied with the rejoiner I had heard from my ROTC Captan say “The Marines are nothing but a bunch of glory hunting flag wavers” (later I learned that was a quote of President Harry S. Truman). Lord I and my Dad both thought that big summa bitch was gonna stomp my young ass. And My dad made me apoligize.
Later just before I was going to join up I was going down to the garage where Dadworked and helping his wash parts, he was a mechanic. He had a guy working with him in the next stall and they hwlped each other out sometimes. And We were talking and he said he had been in the Marines and was discharged and tried civilan life and decited to join the Army. He told me there was no comparsion between the two he had always regreted not rejoining the Marnes. I of course let this just wash over me with little thought.
Ok, back to where I broke in to the story. It was five miles tothe Torrance Post Office where the recuiting offices were, and I had to walk. So I marched my young skinny ass off to see the recuiter. I show up on time and low and behold the office is closed. So I am waiting and fuming some, when this sharp looking dude in thes snappy blue pants with the red stripe down the leg passes by. Now I had never seen a pair of dress blue pants before and they looked sharp. He snaps by and reaches his door and turns and comes back and says can I help you? No I replies I”m gonna join the Army. Come on in and wait in my Office till he shows up. Big mistake for the Army, he never showed up, I go home with a arm load of Marine Corps reading material and pamplets.
A week later the Marine Sargent is sitting at my Kitchen table, talking to my parents and presuading my father to sign the papers to let his seventeen year old son join the Marine Corps. Thirty days later at six thirty in the morning my parents and little sisters are in the front yard waving bye, just like my son will be doing to his son at four thirty tomorrow morning, as he departs for his tour of duty in the finest trained and proudest bunch of fighting men in the world.
Last Thursday morning he and I had a long leasurly breakfast together and a good visit afterwards. This morning my wife and I took him and his family, joined by his other grandmother, and one of my wife’s neices and her husband, a Veit Nam era Marine out for a last breakfast together. It was a good, bittersweet gathering for us all. The boy is on his way to manhood and we are proud and apperhensive at the same time, given the state of the world today.
Starting tomorrow he begins a thirteen week journey through what will seem like hell to him I am sure. I have just copied his traning schedule, and it looks like some of it is much more difficult than I had, due to new techniques. They are not supposed to be able to treat them with as much disrespect and physical crap as I endured. But some of what I have gleaned from the parents manual, I borrowed from his Dad, there is at least one hell week I did not have. I am sure he has what it takes to excell and make us all proud of him.
He will graduate the week of October 15 , A week before my 69th birthday. Just short of two weeks to the day that I graduated 51 years ago,on the same prade ground. The only birthday present I want this year is to be there to see him recieve his Eagle, Globe and Anchor and to observe his hated Drill Instructor and Idol , call him Marine.
God Bless and Watch over you Jeremy, my beloved and only grandson, and soon to be a brother MARINE, see you soon,
LOVE your PAPA
NOT SO LEAN
NOT SO MEAN
STILL A MARINE