162 Graduation - A Day of Thanksgiving It was November 23, 1961. The sunny morning witnessed a dress parade with ribbons and badges; a Marine Corps band, and 69 proud recruits of Platoon 162 marching past the reviewing stand.   We made it. After more than 13 weeks of sweat and pain, heat and bugs, anguish and harassment, we were finally Marines. Life couldn’t be sweeter. As we marched passed the reviewing stand and snapped our heads to “eyes right!” I could not remember a time when I felt more accomplished or more eager to take on the world.  The Marine Corps, with its cadre of drill instructors, had transformed many of us into, not only, “mean, green, fighting machines,” but individuals with a new sense of self and duty. It was a beautiful day.  Some of my family was able to attend the graduation. Though my father could not take any days off outside his already planned vacation (company policy), my mother, sister, and aunt were sitting in the reviewing stands. And the moment was even sweeter because seven Marines from each platoon were meritoriously promoted to Private First Class, or PFC. I was one of the seven from Platoon 162 sporting a single, scarlet chevron on his sleeve.  It was Thanksgiving Day and after the ceremony everyone was invited to the mess hall for Thanksgiving dinner. The meal was everything you would expect if you were eating at grandma’s for the holiday. Check out the menu. My family was impressed with the food and the hospitality. The day turned out to be memorable for all of us.  Footnote: Graduating as a Marine from Parris Island had changed me, both physically and mentally. I had arrived in less than ideal physical shape. My weight went from 153 to 175 pounds; my shirt size from 15.5/33 to 17/35 inches. I had never been in better physical shape, nor would I ever be again.  My psychological development was also noteworthy. I had arrived as a “wise guy” without much direction, self-discipline, or personal commit-ment. Fourteen weeks later, I knew what it was to work as a team player. I had a better understanding of my physical and mental limits under stress, and was better able to complete challenging tasks and commitments. I was more sure of myself and my abilities. The wise guy label never really disappeared. It was just re-branded with the eagle, globe and anchor. After all, I was now a United States Marine.  After Thanksgiving dinner, my family and I went to the Hospitality House where there was a bank of phone booths in the lobby. Everyone was calling home to share the good news of the day.   Every phone booth had a line of people waiting, and as we got into one of the lines, my mother made a quick side step and cut ahead of a few people. The had been distracted and did not see her maneuver. I gently took my mother by the elbow and guided her back to where we were standing. I told her that she could not cut in front of people waiting their turn. She never said a word and took her place with the rest of us.  My aunt turned to me and whispered that it was the first time she had ever seen me win an argument with my mother. The Marine Corps had made some profound changes in many of us; some more subtle than others.  The Marine Corps As An Art Form There is an art to being a Marine. It’s drilled into you as a recruit and you’re constantly reminded of it; whatever your duty, wherever you serve. The Marine Corps takes great pride in its appearance as well as its performance; whether on the battlefield or the parade field.  Image and style have always been central to the Corps; the dress-blue uniform, the Marine Corps hymn, and the officer’s Mameluke sword. Wherever you look, there is always something a little more special about Marines, whether it be the unique calling of cadence, the style of marching, or the eagle, globe, and anchor.   As an example of classic Marine Corps imagery, arguably, the most memorable combat photo of World War II is the flag-raising at Iwo Jima.  Having “the look” is part of the attitude. In a Marine’s psyche, no one fights better, loves better, or looks better than a United States Marine. I was reminded of how important it was to project the right image when I went to requisition some paint from supply. The supply sergeant was quick to remind me that we stocked no red or yellow paint, only scarlet and gold. Semper Fi!
Portraits were taken early in our training at Parris Island. The dress blue uniform was nothing more than a dickey, split up the back, making it possible to fit any size recruit. The cover or barracks cap also was a prop with the back split to fit all. About two days before this picture was taken, I was in the barracks “jawing” with the recruit standing next to me. We had not been given permission to talk and, unaware to me, one of our junior DIs came up from behind and “popped” me across the mouth with his open hand. The split lip was the result and a reminder of one more thing not to do. Lesson learned.
Second row from the top; seventh Marine from the left.
Picture worth a thousand words.
Garand M-1 rifle history was made in 1961.  We were the last platoon at Parris Island to train with these WWII icons. The next  class  of recruits  was  issued  the  new M-14.
The Marine Corps dictionary contains words and phrases unique to the English language. Knowing how to identify a mail buoy in bad weather or when to collect your brass could mean the difference between success and failure in your mission. And if you are ever asked for 100 feet of gig line to tie up your Irish pennants, you will know exactly where to find it. Click on the search button to know more about Marine Corps vernacular. Expand your active vocabulary and impress your family and friends with your new Marine Speak. 
First Battalion, Company C, Platoon 162 Parris Island, South Carolina Marine Corps Recruit Depot USMC United States Marine Corps
Myself and Dave B. at the Hospitality house.
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