I Survived U.S. Marine Corps Boot Camp ‘Shark Attacks’

USMC boot camp was extremely challenging, especially frequent encounters with tough, no-nonsense Drill Instructors.

Terry Mansfield
Apr 6 · 3 min read

NOTE: This was curated by Medium and chosen for further distribution.

A Marine Corps Drill Instructor yells at a new recruit. By Staff Sergeant J.L. Wright Jr. — www.usmc.mil images, Public Domain, Wikimedia.

came across an article online entitled, With ‘shark attacks’ a thing of the past, soldiers recall these classic drill sergeant one-liners

That article reminded me of my time in U.S. Marine Corps boot camp (basic training) in 1970 at the USMC Recruit Depot (MCRD) in San Diego, California. The infamous ‘shark attacks’ were still very much in use at that time.

One day I messed up something really badly (I don’t remember what I did), and my Drill Instructor (Drill Sergeant) got right up in my face and yelled, “Private, you’re dumber than a box of rocks!”

Well, I thought that was a bit harsh, but I was in no position to argue with him. But he certainly got my attention that day.

was just a typical Drill Instructor (DI). In my three months of boot camp that summer, I got yelled at plenty more times — even when I didn’t do anything wrong or because somebody else in the unit screwed up (group punishment was common).

Besides the verbal abuse, we often received physical punishment, such as pushups, jumping jacks, etc., which helped get us in great physical condition, which all part of the overall training plan, of course.

While being punished, I fantasized about becoming an officer someday and getting my revenge on that Drill Instructor. But I’m sure I would have treated him with a lot more respect than he treated me — after he got down and gave me 50 pushups, that is. ;)

oot camp was tough but I graduated and went on to spend three years in the Marines as a Military Policeman before getting out to attend college in 1973.

My time in the Marines was a very formative experience for me as a young man. It made me a much better person, both physically and mentally, which benefitted me greatly for the rest of my life. Semper Fi!

I did eventually become an officer but not in the Marine Corps. Nine years after leaving the Marines, I joined the U.S. Army and graduated from Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Ft. Benning, Georgia, in 1982.

I served 20 years as an Army Signal Corps officer and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2002.

guess I turned out to be a bit smarter than a box of rocks, after all.

_________________

Thanks for reading. (Copyright Terry Mansfield. All rights reserved.)

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