Monkey Drill Platoons in the each of the three battalions at Parris Island  compete to graduate as the honor platoon of their battalion. The honor platoon is chosen for excellence in the classroom as well as in the field. High scores on the rifle range, inspections, and winning the tug-of-war and close-order drill competitions are all taken into account. One of our junior drill instructors called me aside one day after noon chow. He had reviewed my record book and noticed I had been on the Notre Dame Navy precision drill team. “Recruit, do you know monkey drill?” he asked in a unfamiliar friendly voice. “Sir, yes sir,” I replied. “get you rifle and show me,” he ordered. I immediately went to the rifle rack in the center of the squad bay and retrieved my M-1. The DI and I then went into the adjoining passage- way where I started to show him some of the “monkey drill” I had learned. I ended with the Queen Anne salute, which was the most complicated maneuver I knew. “Mister, you’re going to help me teach these jokers monkey drill. I want that trophy,” he declared. “Sir, yes sir,” I shouted back. My drill instructor was referring to a pair of bronzed combat boots mounted on a walnut plaque and presented to the platoon winning the close-order drill competition. For the remaining weeks of recruit training, the junior DI and I took every opportunity to teach our platoon as many fancy moves on the parade field as possible. As pride and teamwork began fusing our platoon into “the best of the best,” we reveled in showing off our drill maneuvers. We would perform some type of monkey drill any time we encountered another platoon. Whether we were just passing another platoon or standing in formation at the mess hall waiting for our time to eat, the DI would call out a drill routine to perform. The trophy in the foreground of our graduation photograph will always remain very special to me. Seventy-one Pieces of Art About a week before graduation, every recruit in Platoon 162 was issued a sea bag. This canvas duffel bag would be our one and only “suitcase” in which all of our earthly possessions would be stowed and carried. On board ship, a marine lived out of his sea bag. There were no footlockers or drawers; only a bunk and a sea bag. As our DI handed out the sea bags, he called me to a table and chair in the center of the squad bay and told me to sit down. He then handed me a black felt-tipped pen and ordered each recruit in the barracks to bring his sea bag forward. The name and serial number of each recruit was to be clearly printed on his sea bag. Since I had taken art in college, and since the DI considered the handwriting of some of the recruits to be less than legible, I was ordered to neatly print everyone’s name and serial number.  It was to become a very long afternoon.
Senior drill instructor, S/Sgt Doud., was the oldest DI in First Battalion and had graduated more honor platoons than any of his peers. When he called us out at 0600 hours for our first morning run, several of us thought he looked a little old and a little overweight. We were sure we were going to run circles around this “old man”. Everything went well for the first five min-utes of the run until some of us realized we were getting a little short of breath, and the “shape” we thought we were in was becoming an illusion. The new combat boots we were wearing didn’t help matters. By the third turn on that huge, endless parade field we were laboring, and that is when it happened. Suddenly our senior DI was running backwards while still calling cadence. “left, right, left, right,” he barked as he started to do circles around the platoon. Did I mention, backwards? The first rule in the Marine Corps universe is never underestimate your drill instructor. Never. 
Rifle range instruction lead up to each recruit qualifying as a rifleman. Here I am waiting to take my turn on the firing line.
Movie night came the day before we were to qualify on the rifle range. The D.I., starring Jack Webb, was a movie intended  to help us relax and to give us motivation and inspiration. It did all that and more. Released in 1957, The D.I. is still considered by many Marines of my generation as one of the best Marine Corps movies ever produced.    
First Battalion, Company C, Platoon 162 Parris Island, South Carolina Marine Corps Recruit Depot USMC United States Marine Corps
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