Sunday, July 03, 2011

Dad's Letters from Boot Camp

This was a letter my Dad wrote over the course of a week as his initial training was winding down. It was written on those little memo-book sheets of spiral paper (the ones that fit in a breast pocket.
Dear Mom + Dad,
Our week of Mess + Police is over and I've been all over the island. My job was to ride a trash truck that collected cardboard boxes from the warehouses and other places. The work was easy cause it packed all the boxes for us (there were 2) and we got lots of breaks and our driver gave us all sorts of little goodies like soda and jelly dounuts and candy bars which we aren't supposed to have.

This was the easiest week yet on Parris Island. We rode around on the truck and that was about it.

Now that it's over and we are leaving these new barracks and going back to our old ones and it's all one big, confused mess. My letter writing gear is on the bottom of my seabag so that my starched utilities won't get bent and the same with the rest of my uniforms. I'll only be able to mail this on Saturday night cause that's when I'll be unpacked. I'll also get to completely read your letter and Liz's (which was a real surprise) (SFC B: Liz was my dad's oldest sibling, and only sister) which I only glanced at.

Monday 10 Sept.

Today we got our first period of Drown Proofing and it really works. I can't float but I was able to stay afloat for about 2 hrs. On the day we take our test we have to float on our own stomach for 1 hr and that is so easy even for a sinker like me.

I also got a subscription to Leatherneck Magazine (our platoon is 100% on that) (SFC B: so, even in the mid 60's the services were pushing junior Soldiers to drop a percentage of their paycheck into magazines; who the hell gets that kickback?) and it will be mailed to you at home. It's supposed to be a good magazine. Anyway it will be coming in the mail.

The weather here isn't bad considering it is overcast and there is a cool wind blowing and winter is almost here. I keep hoping.

Thurs. 13 Sept 67

I passed the Elliots Beach test (SFC B: apparently the Elliot's Beach test was an end-of-course event similar to the modern Cruicible) with a 100 and so did our platoon and series. We may have a blue streamer for our guide. We are going to go for our Drown Proofing second class test today.

Fri. 14

Today I passed my Drown Proofing test and it was weird. We had to float for 50 minutes and swim the travel stroke 80 yds with an M1 rifle around our necks. Anyway I'm past all the hard stuff and am waiting for your to come down for graduation. It is pretty cool down now and I think Don (SFC B: Dad refers to "Don" several times in different letters, no clue who it is but apparently is a friend of his from home who joined the USMC at the same time he did) told his parents to bring sweaters.

I have been replaced about 2 weeks ago but I still march in the front.

This is our last week so you won't have to send any mail for about a week cause I probably won't have time to read any mail, let alone write it, unless it is like this stuff I write.

Sat. 16, 67

We got up out usually early time, 04.30. Then we went out to PT with our packs + rifles and after this we went to an information class on our finances and all sorts of other stuff. Then we drilled for a while and went to a cheap lunch and I'm still hungry. I met a PVT Vergarao who was at Ossining when we played soccer and he recognized me. He said that they did really well this year.

From what has been going on lately and the way our D.I's are acting we are going to get one more streamer if it kills us as a going away gift for our senior Drill Instructor because he's going to Viet Nam. So far we only have 2.

Speaking of Viet Nam, most of us have the feeling that we're going to end up in Viet Nam before Easter no matter what training we get. The aviators guarantee go after their training and so do all the rest. The only good thing about that are the extra pay (all our pay over there is tax free) and the quick advancements. I'll probably know more at graduation. When you come down there are lots of places on this Island that are nice. There are two picnic areas and lots of beaches and since the weather is still warm, it isn't too bad for winter (60 degrees).

Could you also bring my little iron when you come down? This is all I can write now but I'll try to send more. Next week is going to be busy.



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