(This is a Marine parent’s attempt to remember what my daughter told me about her time as a Marine recruit at boot camp on Parris Island. I will try and recall our conversations as accurately as possible, but I may make a mistake along the way.
I’m not going to relate each and every detail, just the parts the two of us felt would be the most interesting.
The parts in italics are mine. the rest will be her words, again, to the best of my memory.)
So, tell me about the bus ride to Parris Island.
The ride seemed like it took forever.
(Pennsylvania to South Carolina.)
We were talking and joking around during the trip, and I guess we were about half-way there when we stopped for dinner.
We were still joking around when one guy at our table said “You know, we better enjoy this, it’s the last time we are going to be eating in a restaurant for the next three months.”
That made the conversation slow down.
So we get back on the bus for the rest of the trip, and we started to talk about what we thought boot camp would be like.
As we were coming onto PI, it was like “OK, guys, Semper Fi, let’s do this!”
“Oh, you too Andrews!”
(Holly was the only female on the bus.)
Then, as the bus was coming to a stop, things got real quiet.
Dad, it was just like the videos you and I watched.
The bus door opened, a DI got on, and after telling us that we ahd arrived a Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, started to yell out “Get off of the bus and get on my yellow footprints!”
I remember Mom had sent you this questionnaire she found on the internet, and I think the first question was “What went through your mind once you were standing on the yellow footprints?”
And your answer was “HOLY CRAP,HERE WE GO!”
Was that really what you thought?
Yeah, along with thinking “Oh boy, what did I do?”
So what happened next?
Well, as we were coming into PI, the bus driver said that as I was the only female on the bus, that I should sit up front.
I wasn’t sure why, but by that point I was ready to pay attention to what anyone told me to do, so I did.
It turned out that me and another guy were at the head of the line when the Drill Instructors yelled at us to “Get the hatch, get the hatch!”
So we ran up and held the hatch, and once I was inside I saw a bunch of girls doing something with their tennie runners, when this one Drill Instructor started to yell at me to get in line to make a phone call home.
I tried telling her “Ma’am, this recruit just came through the hatch, I haven’t done whatever those recruits over there were doing”
She continued to yell at me, so I figured I better keep my mouth shut and I started to follow her when another Drill Instructor yelled over “Hey, get her back here, she belongs over here.”
By now things were getting to be a blur, I was having a tough time staying awake, I did a bunch of paperwork, then I made the phone call home to you and Mom.
It was funny, because when I called you there wasn’t anyone close by and I just read the script in a normal tone of voice.
Then I heard a group of guys phoning home, and they were screaming into the phone “Hello, this is recruit so-and so, I have arrived safely at Parris Island…” and so on.
I thought that maybe they were afraid of getting yelled at if they were too quiet.
We did so much paperwork that time became a blur, I knew that we had arrived about one in the morning, but by this stage I had no concept of what time even meant anymore.
We were all watching out for each other as every so often you would see someone nod off, and we would risk getting yelled at by a drill instructor by whispering “Hey, wake up”, rather the see the person get in trouble.
(The start of teaching recruits to watch out for each other and work as a team?)
Then we started to get issued some minor gear like toiletries and things like that, took care of a few other details, and then we were headed off to our respective squadbays.