Whether you’re a Marine who served in 1918, 1942, 1955, 1968, 1977, 1985, 1999, or 2010, boot camp is a memory no female Marine will ever forget! Think back to that first day when you were herded off the bus in the wee hours of the night. The yelling began almost immediately! You were a worthless piece of ____. Yet, somehow, as the day passed, everything got tougher…your muscles, the callouses on your hands, your bearing and your determination! Every morning when you fanatically brushed your teeth and got your bed made, you knew the long day ahead was preparing you for something you could never imagine. You persevered! You pushed yourself from deep within! You achieved what others couldn’t! You earned the title of US Marine!!! Even more than 25 years after I graduated boot camp, I am still amazed at how people react when I tell them I’m a Marine. “You did the whole Marine Corps Boot Camp thing? Wow, cool!” Hahahaha, I guess!
Do you remember a particular drill instructor who knew how to get under your skin? Do you remember that first formation run when you just knew you were going to fall out? Do you remember pulling yourself up on that pull-up bar the first time with your fellow platoon cheering you on? How about the day they handed you that M16? How did you feel when you pulled the pin of a grenade? How did you convince your families that everything was OK? Did you write them nightly? Did you leave a boyfriend or child behind? Was there someone who made you laugh all the time? Do you remember your Molly Marine? Were you a pork chop? Did the sand fleas torment you? Was your hair always in your face? Did you injure yourself? And just how much did you love push-ups and mountain climbers!!?
Tell us about your boot camp memories in Parris Island. Help us understand how it’s evolved from WWI to Vietnam to Desert Storm to present. And do tell us why you still poke your chest out when someone asks if you are a Marine!