Boot Camp Letters 1:

I was looking through some old letters I sent home from boot camp. The stationary looks old now and I see things I didn’t notice at that time. Hindsight is a crazy thing.

Along the left side of the stationary they made us use are five small pictures of recruits in various phases of their training. Parents looking at this will naturally assume that their son is cheerfully taking part in pugil stick training, the obstacle course, shooting the rifle range, and drill.

This is all a LIE. After 17 years of indoctrination I am happy to say what is really happening is your son is being transformed into an all American fighting machine and will probably go on to make more of an impact on world events than the average American will ever dream of doing. But before that we get to have the kind of fun with him that college fraternities can only fantasize about during pledge week.

The first picture at the top shows eight recruits who still have their hair and civilian clothes intact, standing on the yellow footprints looking at a sign a DI is calmly pointing to that starts “TO BE A MARINE”. (sample letter photo credit) Underneath it we can presume  sage wisdom on becoming a Marine is written. I personally do not recall this sign or much wisdom during the whole yellow footprint experience.

What is really happening is something like this:

DI: “Look at this friggin’ sign ass clowns!”
Recruits: “Sir! Yes Sir!”
DI: “Take the friggin’ picture!”

Right after the photo was taken the DI walked up to the recruits and probably punched each one in the throat.

The next photo has two recruits squaring off with pugil sticks. The recruits are wearing padding over vital areas to include helmets. The helmets are really just there to hide the look of utter terror on the faces of these poor kids so the camera can’t capture them.

What you can’t see are the DI’s standing just out of the frame encouraging the young recruits to eviscerate each other with foam padded sticks.

DI: “Johnson! If you don’t knock the helmet off that SOB I am going to kick your balls off! What kind of aggression is that? You have got to be kidding me! If you don’t kill him right now I am going to sleep with your mother on graduation day!”

However it turned out we can only assume that Mrs. Johnson now has a son she can be proud of.

Below this photo is one of a recruit with his rifle in a sitting position aimed in down range. Standing directly on top of him is a DI presumably adjusting the weapon in the recruit’s shoulder with one hand on the butt and the other on the hand guards.

Every Marine knows what’s really going on.  The recruit in this picture hasn’t even been able to get lead on paper yet and his DI is about to rip the rifle out of his hands and wrap it around his throat. He probably deserves it too. Non-shooting, low life, son of…but I digress.

So here is what I wrote to my parents on the above stationary dated May 9, 1992:

Hi Mom & Dad,

Right now I am still in processing and am also quite bald. We got here on Thursday and have stayed up for 2 days. Our Senior DI says things will get worse from here after we drop into our Battalions. Oh well. I don’t have much time but I’m okay and I love you.

love Michael.

Once again, graduates of recruit training realize why I didn’t “have much time” as they know that this letter, like those by POWs, was written under duress.

Duress means there was a DI spitting obscenities at me during the entire five sentences I wrote.

“Faster! Did you tell your mother you loved her? WHY NOT? She’s worried about you! You inconsiderate %#[email protected]&! Hurry up!”

The funny thing is I really can’t express to you how much I love this lifestyle.

Semper Fidelis,
America’s 1stSgt

/ / / /


  1. Sweet! I used to read all of those Sandbox blogs during Soldier’s deployment. Congrats to you Mike!!!

    And thanks again, for sharing this… but most of all for doing it… and loving it.

    Take care!

  2. Wait!! You get to screw the moms on graduation day? Damn I should have been a Marine. We sailors had to cruse Long Beach looking for WestPac Widows, but no moms. Lucky you!

  3. I tip my hat sarge, you jar heads had it worse than the army did, but come to think of it, Ft Jackson SC in July and Aug of 1960 was no picnic, if I remeber right if was a little hard to double time in loose sand an 95 degrees.

  4. I’m back from Chicago…folks there are just too damn funny.
    Glad to hear you’re doing well,now that you’re f i n a l l y there and past the cat herding stage.

    …and Doonesbury? Cool. Who’s your agent?

    Take care little bro…
    “P” says hi.

  5. Top,
    funny thing was…when I went to Army Basic Training in 1974, half the soldiers were unable to write or read. Perfect- make them grunts.
    When I was put in a “Weapons” platoon, I had to help others read manuals etc so they could tell the inspecting General all about their assigned weapon or some such crap. I had one Joe convinced that the M-16A1 could fire 9,000 rounds a minute and had a max effec range of 1,000 meters. He was a bit retarded and I’ll go to hell for doing that.

  6. I read what you’d written to you Mum and Dad and thought aw, he said he loves them, how sweet is that. Then I read the next bit of your post and realised your DI had made you write it! LOL

  7. To all, although there are many true facts related in my stories keep in
    mind there may be some exaggeration in the retelling. For instance, I do
    not recall any DI’s threatening to sleep with anyone’s mom. It has
    probably happened but the amount of stress we were all under makes my
    memory questionable at best.

    By the way, my comments are being posted by a surrogate. Still can’t get
    on the blog myself. LAME!

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