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By Pat Lisi/Southern Utah Vets Aid

As I recall, I knew exactly where I was headed when I joined the Marines in 1967.  By early 1968 I was in boot camp in San Diego, California and wondering just what the hell did I get myself into this time!

But, I did know that I was going to end up in Viet Nam, because that’s why me and a few of my other crazy buddies from Madison, Wisconsin enlisted in the Corps.  So, when I got to the recruit depot I did so with a certain frame of mind.  I was going to bust my ass training and I wasn’t going to spoil the opportunity by being depressed over the situation.

Marine boot camp is tough, there is no doubt about that.  It’s been that way for over 235 years and it isn’t about to change.  My drill instructors were mean ass bastards just like everyone else’s who has ever been through Marine recruit training; I suspect it’s much the same in the Army, and maybe even in the Navy and Air Force.  I don’t know for sure, because I’ve not gone through their basic training schools.

At any rate, without giving myself away as a guy who was having fun, I went through boot camp having a fairly good amount of fun just the same.  In that way it didn’t seem quite as hard to me even though I experienced the same amount of pain and hardship as the others in my class.  I never felt sorry for myself and I somehow got through every day, one day at a time.  After all, what was the real hurry?  We’d get to Nam soon enough!

There’s really no lesson here for any new recruits who find themselves heading for basic training in modern times.  What you do or how you interpret your upcoming hell is all up to you.  But, might I suggest that you bust it as hard as you can while at the same time appreciating the fact that those drill instructors and sergeants are actually doing you a huge favor by treating you the way they do.  It just might save your life when you get into harms way somewhere on the other side of the world.  Have some fun … just don’t let them know you are!



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