Captain Grose's Boot Camp pages

 
U
N
I
T
E
D
 
S
T
A
T
E
S
M
A
R
I
N
E
C
O
R
P
S
 
 
 

 

 


Pepsi Logo Pepsi LogoPepsi LogoPepsi LogoPepsi Logo

Few things in bootcamp are pleasurable. No candy, no coffee, no soda, no ice cream, no nothing! So when given the opportunity, the opportunist loses discipline and being a young kid, I fell into this trap.

We were out on the rifle range during the second phase. I was spared the treachery of working the butts, or the target area. If you had to work the butts, it lived up to its name. All day you would raise and lower targets for another set of recruits and mark their shots. It was a high pressure area where rounds were coming down range and none of the men in charge had any patience for anything. You were considered pond scum and usually expectations were self-fulfilling prophesies. In short, it really sucked. I have worked butts since and it was bad even as a Marine. As a recruit, God help you.

I was chosen to be the ammo private. This meant that I had the responsibility to distribute rounds to each shooting area. It was an easy job and I was spared the dreaded trenches of the butts. Scoring high on the ASVAB had its high points. They needed someone with something upstairs and I was amazed that such a simple task was beyond some of the other privates. What I had in book smarts soon ran face to face to the common sense I lacked.

I was told to go get more ammo from the ammo shed. So I picked up my rifle and, like a good little recruit, scurried over to the ammo shed where there were four Marines inside. They were all black and sitting around rather lazily. As a recruit you are very keen to the things that the drill instructors would kill you for doing. These large, sweating, sloppy-looking Marines were obviously not drill instructors but to a recruit, they were not to be treated casually. I popped to attention and reported smartly. They all looked at me like I was from another planet. At that point, I was.

"Sir, Private Grose, Platoon 3075, reporting to the ammunition shed as ordered, Sir!"

To my surprise, one of them replied: "Hey, calm down. We're not gonna hassle you. What do you need?"
Not thwarted from my rigid mentality, I answered, "Sir, this private has been ordered to get some more ammunition."

The Marine continued, "That's fine, but settle down. Where are you from?" Feeling a little better, I eased up and said, "Seattle, Washington.....Sir." As he continued to talk, I continued to be at ease. Finally, someone who treated me like a human being. The others were talking amongst themselves and ignoring the conversation. Finally, one of them asked, "Do you want a Pepsi?"

With my defenses down, I automatically responded, "Sure!" Suddenly, a supernova exploded before my eyes. All four of them leapt to their feet and started in. Instantly, I was locked at the position of attention.

"OH, I SEE. YOU WANT A PEPSI. WELL ISN'T THAT INTERESTING. YOU WOULD SIT HERE AND DRINK PEPSI ALL DAY WHILE YOUR BUDDIES ARE SWEATIN' IT OUT IN THE BUTTS AND ON THE FIRING LINE. YOU'RE PROBABLY THE SAME GUY WHO WOULD ACCEPT A HANDFUL OF RICE FROM THE ENEMY WHILE THE REST OF YOUR PLATOON WAS STARVING. YOU GO BACK TO YOUR SENIOR AND TELL HIM WHAT YOU DID!"

I felt like hell. First, I was mad at being suckered into that situation. But most of all, I was mad that I would have accepted that Pepsi. They were right to chew me out but one thing has always bothered me. While in bootcamp, you are subjected to the wrath of your drill instructors. You come to realize that they know exactly what they are doing and they are good at it. But in bootcamp, you also come across a lot of Marines that are support staff such as cooks and admin personnel. For them to take advantage of the situation and play drill instructor on you is unjust. They have neither the right nor the training to mess with you so those that do are forever looked at as assholes.

I have never been a drill instructor but I have been back to San Diego a few times. I have run across recruits and as a sergeant, my mere existence scared them silly. But never once did I take advantage of that and bait them. They no more deserve that treatment from me that I deserved as a private. So to those four Marines I say, thank you for the lesson. Thank you for chewing me out and showing me what NOT to do to privates. I will remember it throughout the rest of my career.

In case you are wondering, I did tell my Senior even though he would have never found out otherwise. That was not the motivation. I wanted to tell him. When I did, I could only see him in my peripheral vision (I was at attention and he was sitting). He could have tore me a new one or even let loose SGT Robinson on me. But he just sat there for a moment. He then asked "Did you learn from it?" I assured him that I did and he said "Don't let it happen again. Now get the hell out of here."

I was in utter shock. I was sure he would have me for dinner. At that moment, I respected him more than anyone I had ever met. I think he knew exactly what happened and he knew that I chose to tell him. That is when I knew that I was truly in good hands.

Pepsi Logo Pepsi LogoPepsi LogoPepsi LogoPepsi Logo

Email -- jdgrose115@polyglut.net
Web -- http://members.tripod.com/~jdgrose115/

Please help me keep this site going...