How A Marine Recruit Tells Time

(This is a Marine parent’s attempt to remember what my daughter, Corporal Andrews, told me about her time 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.
Re-posted by popular demand. )

So, did you have any concept of time? Any way of knowing what time of day it was?

A crazy as this sounds, we would try and judge what time of day it was by what meal we had eaten last.

Well, I think I see how that could work, but why don’t you explain it to me anyway.

In the morning, we would head out for breakfast at the chow hall.
When you head in for morning chow, you would get your tray, go to your table, and before you sat down you would say “Good morning ladies, good morning gentleman, good morning recruits”, depending of course on who was sitting at the table.
And then repeat the same thing when we were getting up to go.

When we went for afternoon chow, we would use the same “good morning” speech when we were sitting down, but we would substitute “good afternoon” when we were getting up.

And for evening chow we would say “good afternoon” before eating, and “good evening” afterwards.

The one part that took me awhile to get used to was that we were only allowed to use one hand to eat with.
I don’t mean that we ate with our fingers, we had to hold our napkins on top of our left leg, we were basically sitting at attention.

Naturally, evening chow was our favorite, it meant our day was winding down, head back to the squad bay, hygiene, (shower)square away whatever else need to be taken care of, then we had a few minutes of free time before we hit our racks.

Evening chow also meant that you made it through another day of boot camp, and although some of the recruits in my platoon would worry about this or that, what was going to happen next week, I think that one of the reasons I made it was because I took one day at a time.

To give you a simpler answer to your question, if we had breakfast it was morning, after we came out of the chow hall again it was the afternoon, and the third time we left the chow hall it was night time.


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2 Responses
  1. Always a delight to see your reports.

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