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The Test of Time !

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  • The Test of Time !

    Hello All !,

    Being a new member, I thought I'd give a little background on myself, and see how many of you will relate, as I reminisce some. Remember when we were kids, we wanted to make our two wheelers, loud. And we used clothespins to clip old playing cards to the fender braces to click on the spokes, the more cards clipped on the louder you were. And if you rode real fast you would bring Old Ladies to their windows, some times with a pot of water. After eight or ten of us kids on the block, would all fix up our bikes that way. God how they must of loved us! And then it was someones bright idea, to tie on balloon's and they even backfired when they broke. he he!
    And the turns we took riding on the one kid on the block, that had a hand-me-down Moped, I think we all rode that thing all summer long on $ .75 cents of gasoline. By the time we were 15 or 16, our thinking turned to pooling our money, to buy an old '49 Ford, or '52 Chevy Coups, to customize and drag race, when we all turned 17 and had drivers licences. And could take our girls out on dates to the A&W drive-in, or to the Drive-in Theater, on weekends. Remember?
    We would sand down the cars, strip off the chrome trim, fill the holes, bullnose the hood, and paint it with three coats of gray primer. We installed duel exhausts, with cut-outs and glasspac's that were louder then balloon's. And backfired even better! Remember?
    And then one of the guy's bought a Harley Dividson, and I wanted one really bad, at seventeen I got a job as a stockboy in A&P Grocery store, and I started to save for one, until one day during the summer of '61, after a day at the Boardwalk in Asbury Park, N.J. we were on our way home, and walking past the Post Office, seeing the Navy, Army, and Marine Recruiters Signs, being the wiseguys we were, we thought we would razz them a little. The Army office was closed at 4 pm. the Navy Recruiter got all flustered, and threw us out, but would of signed all of us up on the spot. The Marine Staff Sgt. was a hard nut to crack! He told us we would have a hard time making it in the Corps, after sizing us up, and parrying our remarks. He told us we were out of shape, which we all disproved by doing twenty push-ups, and chin pull-ups, as He timed us on his stopwatch. Then he had us all sit down, and while pulling no punches, told how hard Boot Camp Training would be, and then asking if we were up to it, myself and my buddy Lee, were up to the challenge, but Lee was still in school, I had dropped out before that summer, between my sophomore and junior year, (long story!) and Lee wanted to wait to after his senior year, age wise he was a year behind in grade, I was two years behind, because of school changes and set backs. By the end of summer, I talked Mom in going with me to the Marine recruiters office, without Dad knowing about it, and doing so I signed up, with her consent, for after my 18 birthday, the following April. Dad was pissed, to say the least. He was Army all the way, (36th Texas Div. WW II, N. Africa, Italy at Anzio to Rome, and So. France, to Germany) and told me I was making a big mistake, and that I would not even make it through Boot training. That was the wrong thing to tell me, I was more determinded then to prove him wrong. Knowing I had my mind set, he went to Pep Boys and bought a .22 rifle to sharpen my shooting, (I was already a good shot at the boardwalk arcade !) but he taught me the finer points of shooting. I could take out the black of a 25 yd. target, at 50 yds. with open sights.
    That April, after my birthday, I got orders from the Marine Corps, to report to the New York City Recruiting Center, not far from Grand Central Station, N.Y.C. on the 16th of May, I had 25 day till then, and did physical training every morning, I had been on the H.S. crosscountry running team, a top ten runner in 3 and 5 mile runs, I was only 6'-1" and 145 lbs. then, even though I started smoking, I had good endurance and was building upper body strength. Remember ?

    On the Wednesday morning of 16 May '62, I was quite during breakfast, I was dressed in my Sunday clothes, tan slacks, brown soxs and penny lofers, light green striped shirt, green narrow satin tie, and brown tweed sportscoat. My younger brother by 8 yrs. was picked up by the school bus out front. We all got into the car, we dropped off my younger sister (3 yrs.) at the H.S. and Mom and Dad drove me to the Train station in Pt. Pleasent. for the 8:10 train, I said my goodbye's on the platform, and took a seat, we were all smiles until the train started to roll, and all three of us were teary eyed as we waved out of sight. I took a deep breath..... Remember?

    I got off the train in New York City, the Recruiting Center was only two blocks away, I could turn back now...... but I kept going and entered the big front double doors, and found room 214, there were about 20 nervious dudes milling around, my Asbury Park recruiter Staff Sargent of Marine walked in, I was immediately at ease as I shook his hand, and he told me he was going to reenlist for his last tour of duty, with me as I was sworn in to the Corps, too ! In fact he told me he had put in my name as that years posterboy into the Marines, I gulped for a second, and had to think about that one. Luckly I wasn't picked, I was too lanky and pale and tall, and babyfaced. Whee, the Marines were smart too!
    About forty cilvilans, were sworn in that morning, myself and my recruiter together, by the Marine Lt. Col. Officer In Charge, and had photographs taken to commemorate the moment, and he sent a copy to Dad and Mom, that I found out about a month or two later, in a letter from Mom.
    I'm glad I had talked to a few home town buddies, that were older than me that had joined the Marines, when they came home after training, so I had a pretty good idea, of what to expect for each week of Boot Camp, at Parris Island, S.C. Except for the in your face Greeting when we all got off the train in Beaufort, S.C., the following morning.
    I learned real quick, not to smile a lot. Remember ?

    I knew I had twelve weeks of Boot, ahead of me I kept my mental notes of each week by going over them in my mind as each point of training occured it built my endurance and toleration of how some of the D.I.'s treated us normally. But you know there is always that 10% of the time, some Cpl. D.I. will make a boot wish he was not there. With that in mind I looked foward to the 9th week on the Rifle Range. I knew the first four weeks were all indoctrination, clothing, 782 gear, fitting of Uniforms, issuing of B.D.U.'s, learning marching and rifle drills, I.Q. testing, military subject classes, P.T., more P.T., running everywhere. and my best subject Mess Hall, by the time of Graduation, I grew 1 1/2" and put on another forty pounds of solid muscle.
    Around week three, we drew our Rifles (M-1 Grands) we drilled with, and carried our rifles most of the time. Unless it was rifle drill with footlockers! If someone screwed up, we all took the brunt of it. And learned team work the hard way.

    (to be continued

  • #2
    Part two, from 1stTankerSki;

    At the Rifle Range, we dry fired the M1's and trained sighting in,breath, hold and squeeze/pull the first morning on the firing line, we fired some pretty old rifles, I don't think anyone had a tight group of shots, with the M1's and 1945 ammo. The next morning we were told we were going to us the new M-14's and we double timed to the Armory, handed in the M1's for the new M-14's attended a three hour class, was issued one 20 rd. magazine, and bayonet w/scabard. And after noon chow, were firing on the line, with new ammo 7.62 x 51 mm. (NATO) or .30 cal. .308 Springfield, `168 gr.
    At 200 yrds everyone was hitting the bull target, we were allowed five rounds to pre-fire to sight in. and five rds. for score. at each range. After using the M1's, the M-14's felt like my Marlin .22. I missed firing Expert by one round in the bull. And my groups were tight, at the 300 yd. range, but misjudged the wind on the 600 yd. line. And shot sharpshooter, in Boot Camp. Dad's letter back to me, told me he was proud of me, and I would get a chance next time, on the Range. He even sent me his Army C.I.B. to cheer me up, in the letter. Except the Junior D.I. handing out the mail, felt it and wanted to see it, showing it to him, he sent me to the Sr. D.I.'s office, and show it to him, and he commenced to chew me out, up one side and down the other. For having an Army award, in his barracks. Then the Jr. D.I. comes in with all my white Tee's which he marked with "Army Brat" on front and back. I was told to wear them, which I did. But I was fuming red, and the Sr. D.I. asked if I was mad. I replied, "Yes Sir !, and I request Mast, Sir!. At that he called the Co. CO. and I was escorted to the CO's office, by the Jr. D.I. on the run, about half a mile across camp, I arrived 50 yds. ahead of him, it was his time to fume. I knocked on the CO's door and requested entry, "Pvt. Ski reporting for Mast, Sir !" I was in the Co's office before the Cpl. reached the front door. And I asked "Sir, Since you're aware of why I'm here, I request Mast alone, Sir!", He replied "Granted Pvt. at ease" Just as Cpl. D.I. was entering his office, and the CO. told him to wait out side. I'm at parade rest, in front of his desk, in my Army Brat Tee shirt. I said "Sir, If I may explain....." Go ahead Pvt. he replied.
    Sir, When I told my Dad I was going to join the Marine Corps, he was PO'ed, because he want me to join the Army, get my GED, and he wanted to apply for me to West Point. My Dad, was a Staff Sgt. in the 36th Texas Inftry. Div. during WW II, he saw action at Anzio, and Rome, before that he was wounded in No. Africa. He was also in the landing of Southern France, and during the advance to Germany, was wounded two more times, he came home from combat in Aug. of '45, I was over a year old, he pinned on his Bronze Star, on my chest at the time, and his C.I.B. award. I wore them for six months, and cried when he took them away and put them in his locker. He also went out, and bought a Marlin .22 Rifle, to teach to shoot right, eight months before joining the Corps, just so he knew he had taught me something, to be a better Marine, Sir! I had no idea he would send me his C.I.B. when I wrote home to tell him how I failed to make Expert, like him. He just did it to make me feel better, and I would of never wore it on any of my Marine Uniforms, I may have messed up once or twice during training, in the eyes of Jr. D.I so and so. but I've always given 120% to the Marine Corps, which my Dad instilled in me, not any of my current D.I., though I fully respect their instructions and rank, I've never been an Army Brat, Sir ! That's all, I have to say, and I thank you for hearing me out. Sir!" At that he told me to double time back to my platoon. And as I was leaving, he called in the Jr. D.I., I was 100 yds. away and could hear the CO, speaking to Junior !! with a grin all the way back. That I wiped off my face before entering the squadbay, I reported to the Sr. D.I. and was told to go to my area and clean my rifle like everyone else was doing. An hour later Junior returned, with six new white Tee-shirts, and was wearing an Army Brat tee shirt. And he did so for the next week, the whole platoon could see it even under his A-uniform blouse. And he never said a word to me until three weeks later on Graduation day, and we were presented with our uniforms Eagle Globe and Anchors. And we all became U.S. Marines, during a test of time.

    And he came over to shake my hand, and he said, "I don't know what you said to the CO, but it worked !" I replied, "Only the truth, only the truth, Cpl. !" I remember it, like it was yesterday.

    Semper Fi !