So its once again that time of the year when two anniversary's are at hand. Nov.27,1959 the day I entered the Marine Corps, Nov. 26, 1963 the
day I left the Marine Corps. I have vivid memory's of both days but Nov.27
seems to be one of the longest days in my life, and still implanted deep in my memory. Just how I got to this day is a long story, and to be told on another day. But today I would raise my right hand and take the Oath with a
bunch of guys I didn't no. It started early that morning saying good by to my parents, a friend would drive me from N.J. to N.Y.C at White Hall St.
where I would head off to Paris Island. Thing went along pretty well at White Hall until we took the oath, then I at least notice a change in the Marines that were there, Before we took the oath they were friendly,
after, not so much, we were now boots and they treated us as such, a
glimpse of what was about happen? We then loaded on a bus in front and headed back to N.J. to Newark Airport for the flight to S.C. When we got to S.C. another bus for the last leg to P.I. It
was all ready dark as the bus drove into the S.C. night, and getting later. On board all the guys
were having a good old time, laughing and joking around. If any of them had any apprehensions
they were not showing it, I on the other hand had this dreadful feeling in the pit of my stomach
called fear of the unknown. As I sat their in my window seat looking out into the dark night of
the S.C. country side, very few lights of houses or stores or street lights as we drove down what
seemed to be long dark back roads. As I stared out the window I saw my own reflection staring
back at me, and it seemed more apprehensive then I was.
And then we were at the main gate, and everything got quiet. In 59 you did not no much about boot camp, there was no Internet to ask other Marines what it would be like or videos like YouTube to give you a glimpse
of what to expect. the only ones that had a small idea where those that had close friends or relatives that told them about it, but I and others did not. And to say it was shock and awe, was just about right. So here we are at the front gate and a M.P. gets on, asked the driver if he new where receiving was the driver told him no, so the M.P. stays on to direct him.
I was sitting right side window seat toward the front and heard the driver tell the M.P. how happy these guys were, and I remember the M.P. saying well that's about to change, another clue? Now in my mind of that day I
see the M.P. still at the gate calling up receiving and telling them the bus is on its way in and the receiving DIs telling each other ITS SHOW TIME..
In 59 receiving was in a different place but looks a lot like it does today, and their were no yellow foot prints. As we were pulling up to receiving and even before the bus came to a stop and right on cue five DIs emerge, from
receiving and four of them are carrying cut off pool cues and you can almost hear everyone on the bus saying under there breath oh shit what did I get myself into. So two DIs go two one side of the side walk and two on the other and the one without the pool cue gets on the bus.
OK, EVERYONE SIT UP AND KEEP YOUR MOUTHS SHUT, DO NOT SPECK UNLESS YOUR SPOKEN TO, IF YOUR SPOKEN TO YOU WILL ANSWER YES SIR OR NO SIR, DO YOU UNDERSTAND, EVERYBODY SAYS YES SIR, IF ANYBODY AS GUM IN THERE MOUTHS GET IT OUT NOW, WHEN I TELL YOU TWO GET OFF THE BUS FORM A LINE FROM THE BOTTOM STEP ONE BEHIND THE OTHER, DO YOU UNDERSTAND, EVERYBODY SAYS YES SIR, OK THEN GET OFF MY BUS,
GET OFF MY BUS, HURRY UP, MOVE IT.
We no sooner hit the pavement when the other four DIs were all over us, screaming in your face, and saying all those great DI saying we all now know so well, Up and down the line, like their dogs and we are the red meat, their is about 45 of us and no one is getting spared, sometimes there double and tripling on one guy. And your praying they don't come back to you. and in my mind I thought we might
all get beaten to death with those pool cues, then I thought to myself, they really can't do that, can they?
So now in to receiving for hair cuts and showers and more screaming, I don't remember what else. Next thing I remember is
we are in a room sitting at school desks with papers turnover on each desk, one of the DIs that has a cut off cue is saying when I tell you to turn over the papers you will fill out this and this, and all of a sudden a loud crash and everybody jumps. A kid in the front row had turned his papers over before he was told, The DI hit the desk so hard with that pool cue he was carrying I thought he must have broke it in half screaming at the kid, did I tell you to turn the papers over.
Next thing I remember is that were in the receiving barracks up stairs and getting ready for bed, then its everybody get in rack, get out of rack, get in rack, get out of rack, about 10 times before lights out. We are all dead tired, about 2 1/2 hours later lights are on trash cans and lids are rolling down the barracks, were out of the racks and getting ready for chow, after chow we will meet our DIs. And I'm thinking to myself this is not going to be another fun day.
So started my three months on the Island. Just how I managed to stay
is beyond me. It was the first thing I was able to complete in my life up to then, and why I think I owe the Marine Corps all, and the Corps owes me nothing, except my loyalty.
L/CPL Bruce Knipp 1959 to 1963