Boot Camp

Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forum' started by Guest, Mar 8, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Posts: 21
    (6/10/01 7:21:13 pm)
    | Del All Boot Camp
    You guys got any stories about boot camp? Here's a little
    input from a friend of mine who went through 10 years after I did...Pretty interesting contrast of how one feels as the weeks progress......I'll keep his name undisclosed because I didn't ask if I could forward.......Boot camp was certainly a time we all remember....../larry/

    "Drop your co*ks and grab your socks."
    That's the first thing I learned on day one in Boot Camp at NTC in August of 1965.
    It was about 0430 and the next thing we had to learn was how to march on the way to breakfast.
    The next thing I learned in the Navy was that marching sucked. The next thing I learned was that term "hurry up and wait". After waiting for breakfast the next thing I learned was that breakfast wasn't worth waiting for.

    I learned a whole lot that first day.
    Shaved heads makes everyone equal.
    Navy issued clothing doesn't fit.
    Smoke 'em if ya' got 'em.
    Don't spit in the butt kit.
    It's hotter than shit on the grinder.
    Lunch was a lot better than breakfast.
    John Phillips Sousa wrote a whole lot of marches.
    Boondockers give blisters.
    Dinner was delicious.
    Spitshining shoes is considered recreation.
    Mid watch was punishment for a "job well done".
    Reville is 0430 for seventeen weeks.

    The first week I learned;
    How to stay awake in classes.
    How to do a "right oblique, hut."
    What happens when you fuck up the Sixteen Count Manual.
    The true weight of an M-1 Garrand is about that of a bale of wet hay.
    Your Company Commander is Satan's Desciple.
    There is no firing pin in your piece.
    There's no ammo anyway.
    Doing laundry is considered recreation.
    And that Boot Camp had been cut to eleven weeks.

    The third week I learned;
    KP can be dangerous.
    Fire Fighting can be dangerous.
    The firing line can be dangerous.
    Not saluting a Marine officer can be dangerous.
    Seagull shit can be dangerous.
    Navy nurses can be dangerous.
    The chow in Sick Bay is always cold.
    And that Boot Camp had been cut to five weeks.

    The fourth week I learned.
    That I scored a combined 72 on my ARI-GCT.
    I was claustrophobic.
    I had hearing loss.
    I was not going to be a Submariner.
    I had missed all my shots while in Sick Bay.
    How sick all those shots make a 19 year old.
    How fast a recovery I could make for Liberty Call.

    The fifth week I learned;
    We were pretty damn good at marching.
    The Sixteen Count Manual was a thing of beauty.
    Those Navy issue clothes fit.
    My Company Commander was one hell of a Sailor.
    John Phillips Sousa could bring tears to my eyes during the Graduation

    *Senior Chief Moderator*
    Posts: 407
    (6/10/01 7:54:24 pm)
    | Del Re: Boot Camp
    My God Chief, I was at NTC San Diego fourteen years earlier, and little, if anything had changed from what you remembered from '65. I was used to Iowa farm cooking, and that first noon meal in the mess hall that Friday was fish (which I recognized and liked) honeydew mellon (which I thought was an too-early picked pumpkin) and that ungodly thing that resembled a rough cucumber, (found out later they called them avacados) and this guy that called himself the company commander threatened to 'tear-us-a-new-ass' if we didn't eat every bean and pea on the plate. He kept saying that expression--it was his joke--he was the only one who laughed about it--we were too damned scared to laugh--you get his joke "EAT EVERY BEAN AND PEA (PEE) ON THE PLATE"--. It was years before I really started to eat avacados and enjoy them--I could'a swore that foul tasting little fruit/vegetable/nut was as close as could be to tasting like s---!!!!! Wilborn.

    Posts: 22
    (6/10/01 8:17:42 pm)
    | Del Re: Boot Camp
    low2go, that entry was from a friend of mine who went through in 65...I went through GLakes in 55 and it seems that things didn't change much until post-Vietnam. I had never eaten shrimp before bootcamp but had to eat them there. Had some type of allergic reaction and didn't eat them again for over 30 years. Love them now. I remember we had a special company (800 Baker) for the misfits..they had their sideburns cut to the top of the ear for easy ID. Also had the punishment of having to wear redboxing gloves for 24 hours if one happened to get caught choking his chicken...It was hilarious watching those poor bastards marching and trying to the the manual at arms with those boxing gloves on!! Interesting days for a young country boy but damn good training. I'd like to see a mandatory 2-year hitch in the service of your choice (or have one picked for you) for all males turning 18. Wouldn't hurt a thing and would give us a ready corp in time of need...../larry/

    Posts: 258
    (6/11/01 9:42:48 am)
    | Del Re: Boot Camp
    When I went to boot camp in April 1968 at NTC San Diego, CA, I remember not being able to go to bed that first day until about 0130.

    Reveille was at 0430 and we were all awakened by the Company Commander banging a night stick on an empty garbage can yelling "Drop your C*cks and grab your socks!" just like your friend said.

    From there it got worse. Our group - Company 275 - must have been the worst group of misfits that was ever assembled. We were called Squirrels and constantly told that we all missed our Mommies. We slept with our rifles in the beginning (they were called a "piece") and were told this was the only piece we were going to get for the next 12 weeks.

    In a few weeks we started to look like a pretty well organized group of sailors. We acted as one and soon found out the guy who couldn't do anything right was an expert at spit shining shoes. We did the cleaning up every night while he sat and spit shined all our shoes.

    When we assembled for muster each morning, we all had shoes that looked like someone had attached a mirror to the toes.

    The marching was endless. It just didn't make any sense. Why would we do so much marching if we were going to be serving on a ship?

    The results were crystal clear on graduation day. All the companies marched in perfect step wearing our beautiful dress blues and carrying our shining rifles on our shoulders. It was a sight to behold.

    There were also a lot of absolutely gorgeous California girls in the crowds on graduation day. I remember clearly when I stood at parade rest it was the first time I had been aroused since I entered the gates three months before, just by holding my hand on my hips.

    I believe they used something called saltpeter?

    When I finished boot camp I felt I had truly accomplished something worthwhile. I gained about 15 pounds in spite of all the marching and physical training. The chow was pretty good, in my opinion.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Larry Dunn about wishing everyone could have had the experience of boot camp. The training was designed to break us down and then show us that we possessed the inner strength to pull ourselves back up as individuals as well as improving our overall strength as a group.

    Stan Lambert
    St. Clair Shores, Michigan

    Edited by: Misterstan at: 6/11/01 10:47:34 am

    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 131
    (6/11/01 2:16:42 pm)
    | Del Re: Boot Camp
    North Fort Lewis, Washington -- November 1966

    I was drafted in a month when induction rate was 30,000 a month. We were told straight out that we were going to Vietnam.

    1) We were sent to the state of Washington near the Canadian border in midwinter to prepare us for war in the tropics.
    2) The Drill Sargeant has no sense of humor!
    3) The Mess Sargeant has no sense of humor!
    4) The Army is unfair!
    5) PT Sucks!
    6) The Drill Sargeants are freaks who like to watch 55 teenage boys in their underwear polish black leather boots.
    7) Winter weather in Northern Washington sucks BIGTIME!
    8] It is very difficult to get back out of the Army!
    9) Basic Training is a positive experience despite it all.

    I did find that the Army was corrupt. We had a mess hall menu posted as per Army regs. The Staff ate what was on the menu. The Trainees ate crap.
    The "ham" on the menu turned into Bologna for trainees.
    The "orange juice"was watered down until it tasted like orange water.
    "Eggs to order" meant you were ordered to eat them.
    We were routinely short rationed -- the portions were the smallest I have ever seen in a mess hall.

    We complained to the commander and he denied it. We got extra duty. The Staff mess hall was burglarized. The stolen food was never recovered. The trainees ate it all immediately.
    We all lost weight. We got extra duty for the burglary. They couldn't prosecute us without triggering an investigation.
    We learned to deal with corruption ourselves. Mike H

    Edited by: dap22 at: 6/11/01 5:55:06 pm

    Senior Chief Moderator III
    Posts: 140
    (6/11/01 5:30:17 pm)
    | Del Re: Boot Camp
    I didn't like getting up so damn early. And I sure as hell didn't like Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo...cold and windy!! I was not getting paid which means I didn't have money for cigs and beer. Thanks to Bode(from NJ...I think) for helping me out from time to time.

    Posts: 4
    (6/11/01 7:16:28 pm)
    | Del Re: Boot Camp
    I did basic at Fort Lewis in August and September of '67 then straight to Fort Polk for Infantry AIT, got a 27 day leave and then off off to my southeast Asian vacation on 4 Jan 68. My first five months in the Army have blurred a bit, I kind of learned my trade in the Tet offensive.
    I had some pretty good teachers too, I saw one for the first time in 32 years just last August. I'll never forget him laughing one time at a particularly daring thing he'd done and saying, "If you're crazy they can't get ya."

    The point of the spear

    Posts: 424
    (6/12/01 12:24:28 pm)
    | Del Re: Boot Camp

    I never thought I would meet anyone who could not remember their first few months in the military but I guess it is how we all looked at it. If it made an impression or not.

    I remember Reveille at the beginning, then we found we had to get up before Reveille to get all of our work done so we didn't notice it too much anymore.

    Then there was that awful KP. I managed to draw KP duty right off. Naturally I ended up on the pots and pans. At the time Fels Naptha (sp) bar soap was being used to wash them with. By the end of the day my hands had turned double in size and had blisters all over them. Went on sick call and the DR. said I was allergic to the soap and that was the last of the KP I ever had to pull in basic. I always had a soft spot in my heart for that

    Posts: 5
    (6/12/01 7:49:17 pm)
    | Del Forgive my nebulosity
    It's not that basic didn't make a lasting and permanent dent in my brain, it's just that the inappropriate nature of some of it became something to ridicule in the intensity of my later experience.

    One story,
    I have been handling firearms since I was four. My Dad owned a considerable number and at age eight I was expected to carry a .22 handgun in the bush, as well as practice with a long gun regularly.
    Let's shorten this up. My Dad owned a Garand, I could strip and clean that when I was nine, so... when they handed me an M-14 and sat us in a class, I took mine apart and was marveling at the new stuff. When challenged by a rather irate drill sergeant to reassemble that weapon I did so. I learned to regret that facility in some interesting ways.
    The point of the spear

    Edited by: dirty423 at: 6/12/01 8:52:14 pm

    Posts: 429
    (6/13/01 12:24:36 am)
    | Del Re: Forgive my nebulosity

    Would like you to share some of those stories when you get a chance, if you don't mind. I can imagine you would probably have a lot of company on here discussing weapons and a lot of us would just plain enjoy reading them. I am sure you have a lot to offer.
  2. Fedora2

    Fedora2 New Member

    Aug 16, 2012
    I was wondering how tough boot camp really is. I am not physically gifted at all being only 5-10 /200 pounds, not very strong, and i cant run long distances very well is it possible to succeed? If you have any posible suggestions then plz give me /thanks/

  3. carver

    carver Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Jul 28, 2008
    DAV, Deep in the Pineywoods of E. Texas!
    Which branch of the service are you thinking about?
  4. aa1911

    aa1911 Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    That's what boot camp is for! They will ensure that you get plenty strong, run fast and learn all kinds of both useful and useless skills. Mostly useful though, I wouldn't trade my military experience for anything on this earth.

    Real men join the Army btw..... hahaa. Find your nearest recruiting station, pretty full right now but by October there will be a bunch of slots for ya.
  5. Old Grump

    Old Grump New Member

    Feb 21, 2010
    Little hut in the woods near Blue River Wisconsin
    If you are overweight they will fix that. If you are underweight they will fix that. If you cannot do a pushup or march fast for a mile they will fix that. Go in grinning, keep your mouth shut unless the DI asks if anybody has a question, never mind the moans and groans from your company, better to find out now then to get in the field and find out you missed something important.

    My first day of boot camp Kennedy was shot, second day of boot camp we were missing two men at reveille because they had been caught in the laundry room making nuts to butts real close and personal.

    After that everything else was pretty anti-climatic, we kissed the toad our first week and it was smooth sailing after that. Our 6'9" 145 pound New York boy even learned to do a pushup and march in formation in the same direction and at the same cadence as the rest of us. Most shocking thing I learned in boot was how many of my fellow recruits had no idea which side was left and which side was right. Drill went a lot smoother after that but it aged my DI terribly.
  6. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff* Administrator Supporting Member

    Jan 31, 2001
    Glendale Arizona
    Welcome're to be congradulated for thinking of serving your country...your current age is very important...even though my grandson Bryan joined the ARMY a couple years ago, I was not permitted to encourage him to join the Navy Seabees...Bryan's wife is former ARMY and ....what can I say...If you are unfamilar with the SEABEES, go to Google and check up on it...Construction of the same type and style that goes on around you all the time...the day you get out of the SEABEES you can go to work on any construction operators, mechanics, steelworkers, plumbers, electricians...I was a senior chief Utilitiesman when I retired after 20 years...The UT's also fired stationary boilers, air conditoning/refrigeration, sewage disposal, water treatment...see that, doesn't it sound like I favor those SEABEE troops? Chief
  7. clamman

    clamman Active Member

    Aug 18, 2010
    Coastal north carolina
    Go all the way. Go Marines!!!:D:D:D
  8. whymememe

    whymememe Former Guest

    Oct 29, 2011
    FEMA Region IV
    My basic was in the middle of summer. Our brigade lost one trainee due to heart failure. Make sure your ticker is o.k. If you make through the first couple of weeks, you'll will probably live through it. Oh yes, be prepared to eat a lot of potatoes, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2012
  9. whymememe

    whymememe Former Guest

    Oct 29, 2011
    FEMA Region IV
    Just a couple more things, do not take your individuality with you or you will be doing a lot of pushups. Unless you are trying to win trainee of the cycle, try to blend in with the crowd. Don't do anything to draw attention to yourself like straggle on the runs and road marches. Be prepared to submit your body and soul to every whim of whatever service you enter. In other words do not go in with the silly idea that you have any legal or personal rights. You will become property of the United States Government. This occurs at the point in time when you repeat the words "so help me God." If you can do these things, by all means get started, you will be rewarded for your accomplishment.
  10. oldfartrr

    oldfartrr Active Member

    Jun 30, 2012
    northern calif
    feb.'65,, dropped out of tech school, new my # was coming soon (actually got my draft notice in bootcamp). but I showed them i enlisted in the NAVY and cheated those army basxxxxx.
    knew i was gonna show them about PI, had been working construction and thought i was in pretty good shape, 6.2-207lbs. with a 28 inch waist. LOLOLOL started in top 10% of company physical competions. also found i had muscles where i didnt know there was supposed to be any. half way thru boot they decided we need more education then physical training (our company 099 was the last company to start the old style of boot camp) so we started sitting in more classes and less time on the grinder. after being called every name in the book and a few had never heard of we learned to educate ourselves in the ways of military importance. how to dive for cover (with out the co cammander seeing) to dodge to low level bombing runs the seagulls strategically planned on every group that was found to be in formation. one even got 4 guys with one drop (even tho it was a bit larger then normal) dixie cups can be used to things off your heads,, and they were great at their marksmanship. being from the midwest was raised on eggs n tatters,,but mom never cooked like the navy (thank god). we had a pretty good CO, even got himself on report for coming in a bit tite and with ( a '61 studebaker lark with a hemi) burned rubber the length of the barracks + right in front of the OOD.
    well graduation day finally arrived clothes now fit even if a bit on the tite side,, seems i had lost weight 178lbs with a 34 inch waist ??? how the hell did that happen...and had to take final PI tests (2 tries) with the fat boys
    but it sure did make a responsible adult (sort of) out of me. and learned to take orders without backtalk. (a few late nite adventures in the headquarters lobby doing jumping jacks with not 1 but 2 M1's tied together) usually had company so i didnt feel lonely. then another yr of A and B schools before i got assigned to a squadron. could probably write a book about the rest but let some other guys show their writeing skills.. it was an adventure and looking back it was something would not trade for the life lessons it taught me.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2012
  11. aa1911

    aa1911 Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    I was the 'cake monster', once we got off of 'total control' (to avoid mass punishment for everyone for my own mistakes), I started taking the desserts at chow time even though they were 'highly discouraged'. I got scuffed up like no other but it was funny as hell and brought a smile to more than one face.

    They would even have the pie or cake or whatever sitting there all cut with a slice on a scooper ready to go; the whole company would pass it up but I would grab that sucker and smile at the drill sgt all the while. Come lights out, I was outside in full rattle battle doing grass drills...

    but otherwise, it pays to be the 'grey man', just blend in, don't be last, don't be different. Just do what is asked 100% and NEVER VOLUNTEER FOR S*** !!!!

    trust me when I say it's an experience you wouldn't trade for the world, if it's something you think you want, go for it and never look back!
  12. WHSmithIV

    WHSmithIV Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2012
    Moore, Idaho
    I went through GLakes just a little after Nam in 77. Not much changed - our CC simply threw 2 garbage cans down the center of the barracks though. Only one major difference - we weren't carrying M1's - we weren't carrying anything. I was really pissed off when I missed on the swim test trying out for the SEAL's by 3 seconds. Looking back though - I probably wouldn't have been able to make it through SEAL training - I simply didn't have the physical strength as a wimpy 17 year old, so perhaps that was a good thing.

    OK - maybe I'm sick, crazy or both, but I really enjoyed boot camp. I'm glad I went and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

    My son is a dual national - he is American/Finnish - 2 passports (my wife is Finnish). Since we lived in Finland most of his life he is now in the Finnish Navy - in Finland there is mandatory service. When he gets out in another year he's planning on following me back to the US and joining the US military though he's a little undecided still as to which branch he'll join.

    If he does do that, he gets to go through boot camp twice - once for Finland and once for the US :D