The best kept secret at MCRD San Diego in the summer of 92 was that my father was a 33 year Marine Sergeant Major. During third phase the Drill Instructors told us if we had any VIPs in our families who were showing up to graduation they’d better know about it right stinkin’ now. It would not do on game day to find out someone’s uncle was a general and sitting in the cheap seats.
Humbly, I approached the DIs and informed them: “This recruit’s dad is a retired SgtMaj.” As this news broke so did all hell. Eyeballs exploded in DI skulls as this revelation swept through the squad bay. I was the platoon guide and was summoned into the duty hut to give details on my father and clarify some specifics on his exploits. They also wanted to know if my parents were coming to the DI dinner taking place a week or so before graduation.
“Get in here Guide!” I was never sure if the word guide meant what they told us it meant. The way they said it I could swear guide actually meant dung.
The night of the DI dinner we recruits were meticulously preparing uniforms for our final week of inspections and other madness. Throughout the squad bay we sat on our footlockers polishing shoes and clipping away Irish pennants.
Suddenly our DIs burst into the squad bay having attended the dinner. Our Strong J swept by and remarked: “Guess who I met tonight guide. SgtMaj Burke, hard as hell. Almost had to lock my body…but I didn’t” My dad always had a presence about him. Drill Instructors were suitably impressed.
The next day our Series Chief Drill Instructor mentioned to me he had seen my father at the dinner. “He looks like a hard man,” he said. “Is he your real father?”
Son of a…stupid curse strikes again!