Monday, July 2, 2012

It's Your Turn - Question Number Three (Part I)

I'd like to see a post detailing some of your experiences in the Marine Corps. Basically, some stories about being in the Marine Corps, an insider's view. I think this first-hand account would be very interesting. 

Josh Litton


This really isn't a question, but let me take this post and see if I can satisfy some of your "curiosity" or interest.

The day I decided to join the "Service" I went to the recruiters (who were all in one building) and said whoever can ship me today, I will join. The United States Marine Corps said they could ship me first thing in the morning. That was close enough. I joined the USMC in San Jose, CA and was shipped the next day to Oakland, CA for processing and induction. 

After a physical, blood work, inoculations, I was sworn in promising to defend the constitution of the United States from enemies both foreign and domestic. Didn't know then that one day our domestic enemy that we need defended from would be our own President. Grueling tests came next and then after a group of recruits was assimilated we were flown to Marine Corp Recruiting Depot, San Diego, CA. Yes, I was a "Hollywood Marine," just as deadly as you Paris Island guys.

That was an experience! We got off the bus at MCRD San Diego about 1:00 AM with a Drill Instructor yelling at us to get off the bus and onto the "yellow foot prints." Those yellow foot prints was the beginning of the life of a recruit, boot, maggot, lady, and *&%$^#@(*. We were recruits, ladies, maggots or worse, we were not allowed to call ourselves Marines prior to successful graduation. We were not allowed to "soil" the blood and memory of those Marines who had fallen in battle from November 10th, 1775 by not successfully graduating.

Thirteen weeks of hell on earth began. We were assigned three Drill Instructors or D. I.'s. Their job, and they did accept it, was to break each recruit down physically and psychologically rebuild them to the Marine Corps Manual for training recruits into "lean, green, fighting machines." Boots on the ground was at 4:00 AM – we made our racks, s***, showered, and shaved by 5:00 AM. We “policed” the area until 6:00 AM when we were marched to chow. Then classes and training indoors and outdoors began. Chow at noon and chow at 5:00 PM. More classes and training until about 7:00 PM. Seventy two guys were forced into open bay showers where we showered and then stood inspection T-shirt and skivvies. We had an hour of “Commanders time” where we could shine our boots, polish our brass, write letters home, read, or relax. Lights out occurred at 10:00 PM. Thus one day down, a million to go until graduation day.

I made it through those thirteen (13) weeks of hell. I climbed ropes, became an expert with a .45, M-14, hand grenade, bayonet, and my fists. We ran, and we ran, and we ran, and we ran and we ran. We marched everywhere we went. I made it through boot camp with only being yelled at by the DI’s once and only beaten by the Di’s once.

A couple of guys had nude Polaroid photos of their wives or girls passed around for each recruit to view when they received such pics in the mail. D. I.’s thought those pics should be shared with everybody. So much for the wife trying to “treat” her hubby.

Another guy had to eat the two or three cigarettes his buddy tried to smuggle in the mail for him.

Another guy was forced to stand in white skivvies, with shaving cream serving as a beard, and yell “ho ho ho” while he pretended to be Santa Claus and pass out little tiny pieces of a cake his mother had sent him for Christmas.

We all at times were required to “watch TV.” This was where you got into the “push up position, then brought your elbows onto the deck, with your chin resting on your two fists that were tightly pressed together while you body was outstretched off of the floor and supported by your toes until you dropped to the floor from fatigue and almost destroyed muscles.

Several times after midnight we were awakened by DI’s to be run into the showers to do bend and thrusts while the water ran while they emptied our foot lockers, and wall lockers into the center of the squad bay mixing up everyone’s property. We then spent the rest of the night re-gathering our “trash.” If you hadn’t marked it with regulation marking you lost it and had to replace it prior to graduation.

We started with seventy-two recruits and graduated fifty-five. Some were discharged as unfit, some were jailed on various offenses, some were sent to “fat camps” to lose weight or be discharged, some were not bright enough to progress and had to be set back to relearn, and two committed suicide from the physical and psychological beatings we took.

By God’s grace I survived and on January 19th, 1973 I graduated with 2nd Battalion, Platoon 2134 as a United States Marine. I was a Marine, a Jarhead, a Leatherneck, or one of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children. Once a Marine, always a Marine!

“If the army or the navy, ever look on heaven’s scenes
They will find the streets are guarded by Unites States Marines”
(same tune as the Marine Corps Hymn)


welcome to my world of poetry said...

Great post Gregg, as always most informative.
Still trying to get my blog working on IE.

Take care.

Arlee Bird said...

I think I would have had a very difficult time dealing with being in the military as I don't like regimented life that has a lot of grueling physical activity. I guess I might have discovered my heart problem sooner, but then again it might have killed me. Kudos to you for having successfully made it through the program.

Tossing It Out

Josh Litton said...

Thanks! Great story. Thanks for your service!