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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Duty. Semper Fidelis.Motto of the United States Marine Corps.

My memories of boot camp,or basic training,are vague.There was a check in desk at the airport for marine recruits.I knew when the corporal's response from behind the desk was a curt,'Don't smile at me recruit.',that I had arrived.After only talking with recruiters this was the first rude word I had heard.I knew it wouldn't be my last.It was remarkable that the corporal had port and starboard inlays in his two front teeth.Green on the right,red on the left.
we boarded the bus to the recruit depot while the sergeant berated and abused us verbally.Then we disembarked the bus at the depot,and all learned how to stand on yellow footprints.This was my first formation(although I didn't know it).The first thing that happens is the haircut.I think the barbers were all Filipino.We were told to put a finger on any mole or whatever so as to keep it.How does someone who has always had hair know if there is a mole there?They didn't,and it was the first blood they gave for their country.No purple hearts that day(joking).The haircut had a dual purpose.It kept down the head-lice population,and it had a psychological impact as well promoting uniformity and unity.Then we went on to the supply warehouse.There we were "issued"(to be taken out of our pay later)utility uniforms,combat boots, and the essential clothing and toiletries to begin basic training.Then we were herded(at the time I thought I was marching but I learned better)to the temporary barracks till our platoon assignments came in.My first night,lying on that lower bunk,I wondered along with everyone else if I'd made a mistake.
The next morning I was awakened to the sound of the metal trash can lid crashing down the aisle.Next the can and the sergeant,bellowing something incomprehensible.
We stood in our skivvies at the end of our racks beside our footlockers.There we were given our instructions for the day.Watch the movie 'Full Metal Jacket'.It was just like that.I saw that movie 20 years after my discharge. Katy said I stood at attention the whole time the boot camp scene was on.I don't remember it though,except it was very tense.After three days of sweeping sidewalks and grounds-keeping we received our platoon assignments.

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