My base pay as a Private in boot camp was $81.00 a month.
When we ate at the messhall, we
had to do everything in a certain
As we moved through the chow
line, we had to face the servers
and side step. When we got to the
table, we couldn't sit down until
everyone was at their place.
When the drill instructor or platoon
commander said,
"Ready", we had
to respond with
When he then said,
"Seat", we had
to respond with,
We had to do that in our training
classes and anywhere else we went
to sit down as a group. After
awhile, I found myself saying it
alone anytime I sat down anywhere.
Platoon 1117
Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD)
San Diego California
November 1, 1968 to January 7, 1969
Page 1
Officially, the Marine Corps in under the Navy's jurisdiction.  The Marine Corps is a
lean, mean fighting machine and every Marine is a rifleman, first and foremost.  The
Navy supplies us with the Corpsmen (Medics). Marines units are often stationed
aboard Navy ships.
In boot camp we had to learn the Navy language - A door is not a door, it is a
"portal".  A floor is not a floor, it is a "deck". A wall is not a wall, it is a "bulkhead".
A restroom is not a restroom, it is a "head".  Rather than saying, "Yes Sir", "Aye aye
Sir" was acceptable.
***Notice: The pictures of the boot camp activities in these pages are taken from our Boot
Camp Year Book. The book was produced by Jostens Military Publications, San Diego, CA***.
Excerpt from the letter I wrote home on
November 5, 1968.  The whole idea in boot
camp is to completely break you down mentally
and physically, then build you up to be a killing
machine per Marine Corps specifications.  The
DI's and PC never hesitated to knock you up
side the head if you screwed up.
A little later, we went to supply and were issued the rest of our clothes. Then, we
were issued the personal items we would need.
Below is an itemized list of the things we were issued at the beginning of boot camp.  
As far as  the $.40 haircut - Well, you get what you pay for.
In boot camp, anytime we
spoke, we had to put "Sir" in
front of and in back of
anything we said.
"Sir, the Private doesn't know
Sir."  "Sir, yes Sir."  "Sir, no
Sir." "Sir, aye aye Sir."
We always had to speak of
ourselves in the third person.  
We weren't allowed to say "I".
"Sir, the Private this...."  "Sir,
the Private that...."  "Sir, the
Private requests permission to
enter the duty hut, Sir."
Except for the two weeks we spent
at the rifle range at Camp Pendleton
(had regular barracks there), we lived
in quonset huts We had small stoves
in them that burned diesel fuel.  The
weather was 80 to 90 degrees in the
daytime and in the 30's at night. So,
it got pretty chilly at night.  When we
would leave in the morning to go
train, we would have our field
jackets on and shirt sleeves down.  
By noon, we would be taking off our
field jackets and shirts because it got
so hot.
Excerpt from Nov. 10 letter. Cigarettes were
used as an award system in boot camp. If you
did good on a test, the DI let you smoke a
cigarette in front of everyone else while they
stood at attention and watched.
This was the first letter I wrote home from boot camp.
November 3, 1968
When we arrived at the airport in San Diego and entered the terminal, there was one
of our drill instuctors (S/Sgt. Bennewitz) waiting for us. He started barking orders at
us and told us to get on the waiting bus. He let us know that we were to sit "at
attention" until everyone arrived. That meant sitting erect, with our hands to our
sides, and our heads facing forward.
After we boarded the bus, S/Sgt. Bennewitz started yelling at us immediately to let
us "sweet peas" know that our slimy civilian life was over for us for a few years.
When we got to MCRD, there were dozens of yellow footprints painted on the deck
(that's pavement to you civilians) and we were told, in no uncertain terms, to get on
the yellow footprints and stand at attention.
*** Danger Will Robinson! Salty language below! ***
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We were sent right in to the barber, if you want to call him that.  By the time we got
done, no one had any hair left.
Then we went to a big room and had to pack all our civilian stuff up and it was put into
boxes and sent home and we were issued gym clothes at that time.
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