Southlands Snuffys

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 2 (v.1) - Le Jour de Jours

Submitted: February 17, 2014

Reads: 13434

Comments: 3

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Submitted: February 17, 2014

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Le Jour de Jours.

 

“ The only protection you maggots will have in Vietnam is the high standard of training as given to you at great expense by the Marine Corps, and your only chance of survival is to become a mean and nasty fucker, just like me!

However, I would strongly advise you to develop a keen awareness, a kind of sixth sense, or as those Snuffys already out there in the Southland call it, the fucker factor! “


Our Drill instructor, “Gunny Capes”, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island,

South Carolina, 1966.

...................................................................................................................

 

The day of days! That was the day you properly joined the Marine Corps, and at which point in life you became a member of "the club", of "the family", and some serving within it could have made you wish that you hadn't bothered your ass volunteering to do so.

But for those who were unsociable, even cold of heart, and could keep their mouths shut and accept the blows without complaining, and hump their ruck load without goddamn whining, it was a family to be part of, and mightily proud of.

USMCRD, Parris Island, was considered as "the cradle of the Corps", and the first screamed at words within that cradle the recruit intake of 1966 heard were;- 

 

"Marines love the Corps for it is their family". 

 "A Marine hates every fucker except other Marines."

"A Marine is never alone if another Marine is in sight". 

"There is no such thing as an ex-Marine, for once a Marine, always a Marine!"

 

..........................

The Marine Corps demands,Teamwork, Discipline,Devotion to duty.This is your first step!

As written on the welcoming board, USMCRD receiving barracks, Parris Island, 1966.

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I was not a fully-fledged American Citizen, only someone classed as being a citizen of a US friendly power with a granted right to residency within the United States at the time I enlisted in the Marine Corps. I had three things that were certainly in my favor when enlisting, in that I had been a service brat, a school enforced military cadet, and during that time of "cadeting" had received some months of formal military training. However, had it not been for my Aunts second husband I might never have become involved with the United States Marine Corps, for he was the dude who first suggested that I should enlist.

My replacement uncle was a great brute of a guy, with glittering baby-blue eyes and a face always flushed with booze and anger. He also had an arm missing, blown off by a held for too long grenade somewhere in the Solomon Islands during WW2 when fighting the Japs as a Marine, and boy, that guy was so Corps pissed you would think he actually invented the Marine Corps.

Solely for my Aunts sake, all summer long I endured that dude bombasticaly badgering me to enlist in the Marine Corps until finally caving-in I did so, and in a way it was just to make him shut the fuck up about the Corps before things turned nasty between us. Therefore, as far I was concerned, he was the actual motherfucker to blame for the coming years of goddamn heartache, pain, and grief.

The Marine Corps recruit depot Parris Island, at least the one I knew back in the day as a recruit on that miserable island, was without question designed as the breeding ground for future Marines. However, it was also a savage isle full of petty tyrannies and traditional idiosyncrasies where the meek would mentally and, or, physically perish, and the timid would indubitably do likewise.

USMCRD Parris Island was born from the concept of raw, brutal martial strength, and hid its true purpose under a camouflage of having a way of thinking and a way of life of its own. However, the principal of any Marine Corps Boot Camp is similar to that of a juvenile’s corrective school, for it is one of instilling unquestioning conformity and hardening the soft by the use of shock tactics. It is a place where young lives are ruled by an audible instrument of torture, the screaming voice of a non-com, a place where every minute of the day is portioned out to achieve the swiftest passage to the sunny uplands of the trained warrior, and for those not quite prepared it can be hell on earth.

Therefore, old “Sandy Rock” was not an island to be on if looking to live in a world of ease, comfort, and devoid of pain. Instead, it was a world of semi-monastic existence where you departed from your old life and learned to remember it like a blurred face from the past. Upon that island, the belligerent of mind flourished, and those unaccustomed to violent confrontation and discipline were with force introduced to both with a depressingly swift and explosive reality.

Parris Island, South Carolina 1956, and a Staff Sergeant by the name of Matthew McKeon, a Veteran of World War Two and Korea, took recruit platoon 71 on an extra training exercise to a swampy tidal creek called Ribbon Creek, Parris Island, whilst pissed out of his skull, intoxicated, drunk, call it what you will. The Staff Sergeant jumped into the creek and ordered the platoon of recruits to do the same, then all marched along the creek bed out into deep water. Some of the recruits could not swim, resulting in six of them drowning.

Ten years later, 1966, and there were those within the training staff, the old timer Gunnies, the hard cases, and were, like Staff Sergeant McKeon, products of the War in the Pacific and the Korean battlefields, who still believed in the physical and verbal abuse tactic when training recruits. They also believed that the Ribbon Creek incident should have been considered as simply Marine Training in the raw, just a little no account foul-up which was best ignored.

The reason given for this mindset was that the Vietnam War had escalated, thus forcing the Marine Corps to shorten Boot Camp from its normal twelve weeks to just eight."Hell, Marines serve to fight and die, don’t they", was the attitude which pervaded the place in the late 1960’s. And it certainly was true going by the odds given at the time, for a "snuffy", a Marine grunt, could expect to do just that in the Southland of Vietnam, die that is, and be mightily surprised along with the Corps when he did not.

Then there were others, the new thinking gunnies, products of the post Korean War era, who believed that the Ribbon Creek incident was a tragedy which had changed the Corps forever, that recruit training should emphasize the need to lead by example, give encouragement more in the way an older brother, or father would. Recruits were put into various Special Companies to assist them with any particular problem they may have had. Such as the Fat Buddies with a weight problem or the poorly educated. Even those with obvious psychological hang-ups were given help. Unfortunately, most of those pushed into the Special Companies took longer to train and graduate, and some never did make the grade.

Whichever way a Marine Corps Drill Instructor, with a campaign cover strapped to his head, decided on his training approach, either by old school or new, he was still a serious force to be reckoned with when it came right down to basics, and the basics being the deliverance to recruits soul destroying, physical and mental purgatory for eight weeks. However, those few weeks, if you managed to survive them without suffering an injury severe enough to put you out of the Corps, a nervous breakdown, or death by exhaustion just meant that you had completed phase one of United States Marine Corps training.

Advanced training did not start until after you left the Island. Everything that had gone on before, the punching, slapping, the tearing down to build up again scenario, was but a summer’s day walk in the park compared to what lay ahead. Sporting a "white sidewall" haircut whilst wearing a blues suit, and being able to shoot straight only meant that you were in the Marine Corps. However, to complete the metamorphosis from civilian to Marine Specialist would take months, not just eight weeks.

The actual enlisting in the United States Marine Corps was the least stressful part of a process; you just walked into a recruiting station of your choice, and told your up-to-date life story to the recruiting Staff Sergeant, then gave him your reason for deciding to join the Corps. Easy as pie, people were wanted, and what better type than a volunteer.

In those days if someone legally lived in the USA, and still had all of the body parts a human would expect to start life with, and did not have an outrageous police record they were accepted. Nevertheless, having the six mental faculties and a reasonable standard of education were  important parts of the enlistment process, however the educational underachiever could be considered for enlistment as the Marine Corps training was designed to develop a recruits “mental muscle” as well as his physical muscle.

However, USMCRD Parris Island was never designed to be an oasis of scholarly learning, nevertheless some of the poorly educated recruits managed to expand their academic learning to an unexpected level that served them well in the future, and thus proving that small pools of sapience can always be discovered in the most unlikely of places.

The periods of enlistment were set out in increments of two, three, and four years, and so I being of a somewhat cautious disposition signed up for an initial two, with extension options. However a cooling off period was in place, just a little respite to think things over, but by mutual agreement it could be foregone. It was there just as a precautionary measure until the FBI had time to check someone out, for if they had lied to the recruiter it was a federal offense which carried serious jail time. Otherwise, as they had signed there was no way, other than by death; the Corps was going to let them renege on the contract. It was like doing a deal with the devil; they now owned the persons body and soul, and on which they planned to collect.

Seven days after my face-to-face with the recruiter I received instructions to make my way from Cedar Bluff, Virginia, to Beaufort, South Carolina, and there to stay in a bug infested Marine Corps approved, and paid for motel, before being moved by bus, along with others, to “Sandy Rock”, an 8,095 acre island which was a veritable hive of military activity and where my eight weeks of transformation would begin.

Ever since I can remember I have admired the way Mother Nature conducts herself in that monumental struggle called life. At the very moment in which the spark of life ignites everything has an even chance to make it, or fail. And so it was with the United States Marine Corps in the early fall of what had proved to be a hot summer, even for South Carolina, in the year 1966, as the Marine Corps speeded up their graduation churn-out rate to a wartime level.

Just as Mother Nature lets the weak and infirm fall by the wayside so did that great bastion of the US Marine Corps, our appointed Drill Instructor, for he did not tolerate by even one degree, or part thereof, any form of weakness, nor failure. In his mind it was either live or die in what was black and white military thinking, and where any shade of gray did not exist.

A training Gunnery Sergeant requires the ability to organise and execute a complex war footing training program in as short a period as possible whilst following verbatim the structure of military authority. As such, the care and guidance of budding Marines was our Gunny’s profession and he had nearly twenty years of experience at it. Using that experience, and never misjudging, he could read on a recruit’s face that recruits future military worthiness as accurately as had Captain Ahab read the clouds to predict the wind and rain on his epic hunt for Moby Dick. 

Our Drill Instructor was an orthodox man of the Marine Corps, a formidable man not to go fucking with if you wanted to remain undamaged. Deep chested, belligerent looking, with a voice that could start a stag from its sleep into flight a mile away, he seemed to know everything about anything connected with our new “family”, the United States Marine Corps. His sudden appearance among us was like a meteor strike, unpredictable and shattering, and that certainly made us wonder what the brave new world of the Marine Corps would be like, a world that had such people as our Drill Instructor in it.

In addition, "Gunny Capes" was not a reformer, nor was he in any way interested in the usage of neither psychology nor any other, as he called them, “Goddamn highfalutin college boy theories” as a process in the training of Marine recruits. Our Drill Instructor was of the old school era, being a hard, intolerant, and rigid man, who by unwarranted force blasted a door near off its hinges to gain entry, and then invaded a room with his presence like a grenade going off. He knew exactly what he wanted from his "maggots", everything in its proper place, never late, never idle, and always a shining example of how a"maggot" should be.

It was claimed, possibly true, that the average 1960’s Drill instructor was born with a book nestling within his skull cavity, as an alternative to a brain. Had this presumed book been a wide spectrum encyclopedia of intricate knowledge, well then, it would have been a wondrous thing indeed. Unfortunately, the book in question was narrow-minded in content, being stuffed to the full with rules, regulations, and inter spaced with carefully selected passages of pain and suffering taken from the writings of the Marquis de Sade.

....................................................................................

In 1966, the Second Indochina War, popularly known but technicaly wrong as the Vietnam War, was going well for the United States military and its allies with the gradual destruction of the enemy. In addition, the declaration of Honolulu made some months before had faded from any media interest due to the newfound optimism of a short-war. However, such optimism was unfounded and therefore premature for both Hanoi and the National Liberation Front had settled their minds on a long-war, a total Guerrilla War, based on the philosophies and teachings of Ho Chi Minh, Mao tse-tung, and Sun Tzu. 

....................................................................................

Regardless of previous resistance I was feeling rather pleased with myself at having been accepted for the United States Marine Corps, when like an electric shock just received one of life's personal adventures started late on a sunny August day at a bus depot’s hard standing, where stood a Greyhound bus with an immaculately turned-out Marine Corporal in attendance. As the time of its departure drew near those mothers, fathers, and siblings of soon to be “maggots” attending the departure ushered their respective recruit aside for a final farewell.

In the sure knowledge of losing their child to a new "family", the United States Marine Corps, the mothers’ reactions varied. Some were stoical and others wildly tearful, fathers on the other hand tended to remain rigidly composed, and those having experienced Military Service even seemed cold and unemotional as they said farewell to their boys.

Then here and there one last tearful hug from a mother, a handshake from a father, tears and a kiss from an emotional sister, and a cheerful wave from a proud brother, and that spectacle of unbridaled emotions made me glad I was sliding away from civilian life without such fear of the future displays from any immediate family. Then came a simple and sharp barked out order from the Marine Corporal, and the band of nervous looking reluctant heroes, of which I was one, disappeared into the Greyhound bus.

During their journey, recruits surveyed each other in wary and controlled silence, and when reaching their destination passed through a portal into an alien world called a United States Marine Corps Recruit Depot, a military-green parallel universe that existed side by side with the colorful civilian one.Instantly they transformed from being individuals into what their appointed Drill Instructor would lovingly dub as his, “little green fucking maggot platoon”.

To a recruit that green universe was a novel one, where every day was new and different, always containing some fresh experience, full of small personal challenges, failures and victories as their training progressed. However, to our training staff I guess those days were no more than just a homogenous whole, like the individuals within our newly formed “little green fucking maggot platoon" each day being inseparable from the others. Regardless, there are always landmark people and days that will stand out in anyone’s memory.

We were offloaded at the Receiving Barracks, and there met with the “great yellows”, painted yellow footprints of which each recruit was assigned a pair to stand upon, at attention, in silence. Any slouching, fidgeting or talking meant the Marine Corporals gave out the first glimpse of just how brutal boot camp was going to be, as punches and screamed instructions rained down on any transgressor. Movement orders were gathered up and final induction paperwork completed by the duty clerks.

Once finally inducted you just had to make the most of it, and first off I guess the most important for the about to be termed “maggots”, was the coming to realize that the United States Marine Corps, just like our cousin Corps the British Royal Marines, never took anyone or anything whatsoever on trust, and probably still don’t.

A few recruits with long, shoulder length hair, and dressed as if for a trip to Woodstock, stood out from the others who had a more conservative cut to their jib, so it was inevitable that the training non-coms gleefully zeroed in like angry bees on those “flower people”, whom they considered to be almost clown-like. The flower dudes were quickly marched off to receive a swift "back to skin" haircut, and a set of smelly unwashed coveralls to wear in exchange for their greatly offending to any training cadre eye "Hippie" gear. One of those flower dudes, a pale, narrow chested guy, proved to be a crack shot, deadly accurate with a rifle. Poor guy, he was to be killed within months of graduation. Regardless of his renowned accuracy on the ranges with a rifle in the end it did him no good, for he stepped on an antipersonnel mine at the very outset of his first patrol in the boonie. I guess he was just one of the unlucky.

As my replacement “Uncle” had himself been speeded through a war footing boot camp in WW2, I had, like a few others within my intake with relatives who had served in the Marine Corps a good prior knowledge of just what to expect, primed ready for it as they say. But having prior knowledge does not in any way soften the physical reality, in that you may expect to receive a slap to the face, but when it comes it still shocks and hurts like fuck.

Therefore, my first two personal lessons had been learned if nothing else. One, it was best to remain inconspicuous by quietly blending in with the herd, and the second being that the four main vocabulary words chosen for use on recruits by the training staff were fuck, fucking, fucker, and maggot.

We, the virgin recruits, were speed- marched off to the Mess Hall for our first Marine Corps meal, which was so high in bulk and calorie count it left many feeling bloated and uncomfortable. It also left some with sore faces, or throbbing eardrums, having been slapped in punishment for leaving part of their meal uneaten, as it was considered, “a fucking goddamn insult, to such a magnificent culinary effort by the catering staff for you fucking maggots!”. 

That first night spent in the Receiving Barracks I heard many a wailing sob of self pity, and homesickness, the sounds of the tormented, something I remembered from my boarding school days, which had been another of lives painful experiences that hardens the soul and instills in one the unshaking belief that the world is full of arrogant self-interest assholes. Those sounds I would hear on a regular basis throughout my volunteered incarceration at boot camp.

The culture shock at such events, especially for those who not a few weeks before had been going to high school; eating mom’s apple pie and dating the girl next door, left some reeling from fear and fright. Others were moving around in a zombie like trance from the near deafening screaming of orders which had started the very second they crossed that portal’s threshold into what was to be for eight weeks, a new domicile.

Among the recruits there were those who suddenly decided that joining the Marine Corps had been a monumental mistake and others who enlisted on a misguided patriotic whim, found it was always much easier to get into the Marine Corps than it ever was to get out of it. Therefore, in their minds filled with despair the only solution was to run back through the portal and escape, but there was no way off Sandy Rock except out through the front gate, which was blocked by an enormous Marine corporal, who from past experience knew that the first reaction of many was to run from the place. Over the eight weeks I was there, some did, try to escape that is, and try being the operative word, for none I either knew or heard of, who had that uncontrollable crazy desire to make a break for freedom ended it with success.

They could of course have swum from the island if brave, or desperate, it had been done in the past. However, due to the presence of sharks, and other predatory species the chances of a clean getaway was extremely limited, if not near impossible. If they succumbed to exhaustion and lay out in the swampy salt marsh, or on the shoreline, then the infestation of sand flees would in all probability have driven them mad, or, if they happened to expire, then the enormity of the blue crabs that were scuttling about would indubitably feast upon them, stripping off flesh to the bone in no time.

When an escapee was caught a severe punishment was meted out, for they were classed as deserters, and charged accordingly, rather than with the more benign AWAL, absent without authorized leave. If extremely lucky their punishment would be a short and swift session of unintelligent brutality decided by their recruit platoon, and not a court martial. However, it proved somewhat difficult in deciding either way which sentence was the more unwelcome in ferocity.

The best of all worlds was to develop a state of mind that allowed conformity to a regime of discipline and transformation, embrace the extreme weariness and ignore the yearning for rest. Shutting the mind off to the norm and concentrating on producing a conditioned response to any command that was given. Inevitably it meant putting aside such foolish thoughts as an escape back to that world from which they came. Above all was to try and avoid the at times unreasonable punishments for even the minutest of military infringements.

For those who were recalcitrant and therefore could not or would not conform, there was always the possibility of confinement at the "Correctional Custody Platoon", in essence a jail. If a recruit practiced erratic behaviour, lusted after individuality, or showed a determined leaning towards independence, they became enemies of the training program and deemed as “rejected, unfit for further training and induction”. They were housed in an isolated building as if they had a dose of wet leprosy and would contaminate others before being unceremoniously kicked out. In that era, being a failed Marine carried both a social and military stigma that most of those who fell into the category didn't realize, until they tried to join another branch of military service, or returned home and sought employment. For their DD-214, discharge document, would carry one or more detrimental “Spin Codes”, SPN, Separation Program Number, such as SPN 264  Unsuitability, character and behavioural disorders, or, SPN 247 Unsuitability, multiple reasons, or, SPN 463 Paranoid personality, SPN 464 Schizoid personality, and so on.

The only solace to be gleaned for those who did conform lay in the fact that hundreds of others were enduring, and many thousands more before them had endured, that torturous process of turning generally unfit, soft living flabby, young men into  basic Marines, in as short a period as possible. The Drill instructor's tools of the trade for doing so were voice, fists, and booted feet, the "booted feet" giving a whole new meaning to the term Boot Camp.

From the first day to the last of those eight weeks we lived in Quonset huts where total cleanliness was the standard, the place was immaculate, precise, and spartan, designed not for personal comfort but for the minimum of residency and which reminded me of the dorm in my old school. We were awoken every morning at 0500 on the dot by a large garbage can being thrown down the center of the hut by a bawling Drill Instructor, as the transformation processing continued relentlessly. Anywhere and everywhere we went it was done in double-time, whilst clutching a bosom buddy, the “little red monster”, a little red book of everything a recruit was required to know. It had to be learned verbatim from its front cover, to back cover, and we were tested on our knowledge of its content anywhere, and at anytime. Failure to answer correctly meant receiving the usual blow of disapproval.

Eating, sleeping, going to the can, there was always a Marine Corps way of doing it, and an insanely impossible Marine Corps time for doing it in, as there was for everything else, even when it came to religious worship. The believer, non believer, and the not quite sure all received with equal enthusiasm from the various denominational Marine Corps Chaplains high-speed spiritual guidance at Sunday prayers, like it or not, as it was considered an essential part of “molding a Marine”.

Some recruits, encouraged by the Chaplains and Drill Instructors, earnestly prayed throughout their training that somehow God would allow them to graduate as a United States Marine. Graduation via the providential hand of God was their expectation; many were to be bitterly disappointed. The Marine Corps demanded a strong love for God, Corps and Country; whether someone actually believed in God or not made not a jot of difference whatsoever. It was a requirement to believe so you did, even if it meant by pretense. There was no need for any pretense when it came to the Corps or Country part, everyone was definitely a patriot and were in the Corps.

All in all, the first two weeks were undoubtedly the worst to endure, as the Drill instructors systematically tore down the recruits mentally and physically, readying them for the building of basic Marines. Once the building-up started then life at Parris Island took on a slightly more favorable outlook. Our whole life was devoted to the process of becoming United States Marines, and every day we were making progress in that endevour as we constantly learned new things. The long days seemed to take on the dignity of weeks, and the  long weeks the dignity of months as we slowly underwent a rejuvenating change, feeling fitter and more mentally agile than ever before as our recruit training moved along. The training was certainly serving its intended purpose.

Armed with notebooks and pencils we listened intently to evermore complicated lectures, and by such passed all the aptitude tests, and learned there was always an ingenious way out of every training difficulty, all we had to do was use the resources of intelligence and initiative.  Soon without effort, we conversed in the linguistic habits of the Marine Corps and by that we ceased being maggots, becoming instead basic Marines and Parris Island became reasonably agreeable. So we, the once maggots, were starting to feel quite the professionals with the obtaining of tangible military skills that had a sense of expertness attached.

The actual seaborne infantryman training content is not worth mentioning, as it was more or less the same as our brothers-in-arms the Royal Marines, during their phase one training. Whereas they remained at Lympstone, CTCRM, Commando training center, for phase two and three, we moved on elsewhere for more advanced military skills, and selective "MOS", Military Occupation Specialty, training after our basic graduation. From questioning our training staff, it certainly didn’t take long for me to realize that my own preferred "MOS", one of being a Riverine, would probably involve formidable physical and mental exertion and even more repressive discipline.

However, the prospect of having something relatively "technical" and connected with boats with which to fall back on in a future civilian life was the main attraction of securing for myself a MOS 0312, although in the passage of time, the saying “be careful what you wish for” proved for me to be an absolute truism. However, I certainly felt a personal triumph when my candidature was selected, one of a gaggle of ten from a surprisingly large number of other hopeful candidates. Being mindful of my grandfather’s advice in life of, “it's better being a hammer than an anvil”, gave an added incentive for pursuing that particular "MOS". For if you happened to pass the variety of written and practical exams with a high enough scoring it could mean being tapped for a swift rank advancement.

Graduating as a United States Marine was the supreme moment of our young lives, so far. The day, bright and clear, high above us on the flagpole a pristine national ensign, that colorful and star-spangled emblem of freedom, lazily drifted as a light breeze fondled it. As the marching band played a variety of John Philip Sousa marches and the Marine’s Hymn we displayed our hard won ability at drill, and passed in review before halting in front of the reviewing stand, where we listened to the standard set piece dictum that welcomed us into the Marine Corps. Being ordered to dismiss we took one-step back, and bawled out at the top of our voices, “Aye, aye, Sir!“, and that was that.

For eight weeks the training schedule had been done at a furious pace and made deliberately harsh, it had to be to enable us to survive the rigours of that which lay ahead, and of course beat the enemy. The constant pressure on ones mental and physical stamina during our training meant recruit fall-behind and dropout had been fairly high as the ambiance of Parris Island washed over our lives like the breath of Satan. But in the same way a runaway freight train eventually comes to a shuddering, crashing halt, our acknowledgment to the dismissal order meant that boot camp for the surviving members of that “little green fucking maggot platoon”, was numbingly, and guaranteed, over. Graduation left everyone with a sence of difficulties overcome but not one of us could envisage the challenges ahead.

 

....................................................................................

 

My time at Parris Island has followed me throughout life, in one way or another, like an accompanying ghost of a time long past, and I can’t say that it bears me that many happy memories, other than perhaps my first promotion, for it was grim, dutiful, and much of the time humourless. It was nothing more than an unpleasant means to an end. However, I was, and still am, mighty gratefull to our Drill Instructor "Gunny Capes" for giving the first introduction to the "code of the grunt", for without which my time of service within the Marine Corps would have most likely proved unbearable.

“Gunny Capes” told that serving in the shit would prove at many times contrary to everything about morals we had ever believed in or been taught, and so would be forced by each individual circumstance to vary or even abandon the very notion of being moral. In replacement to a civilian thinking moral code, we would employ the stoicism based “code of the grunt”, as a one and only guiding light. However, what he didn’t tell was that for the rest of our lives it would remain as so.

Even now, decades having passed since that long ago bus-ride, there is no escaping the influence of the place called Parris Island for it is seared indelibly in my mind, and thus proving, at least to me, that the time worn phrase, “Once a Marine – Always a Marine”, so screamed at me in 1966, is undoubtably a powerfully true one. Its an indubitable truth there are failed Marines, alive Marines, and there are dead Marines, but there are for sure no ex-Marines, for when you leave the Corps clutching your fresh "short" and "long" DD-214's you still remain a Marine.

USMCRD Parris Island only wanted those who would remain faithfull to the Marine Corps in unwearied devotion, and do their duty without questioning the ultimate end, those who once molded into a Marine would with pride carry the title of being one forever. Therefore the facts are simple to understand, at boot camp you become a Marine, and even when dead you are still one, and so any motherfucker who boldly makes a claim of "I was a Marine", never was one in the first place. "Code of the grunt", once in, never out.

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Addendum.

As is with life and War a single soul’s boot camp is never a mirror image of another’s, nothing ever proves to be truly identical, and so every recruit sees boot camp in their own light.

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