Wrong Yellow Footprints

I enlisted in the Marines in May 1968 from Decatur, IL, was processed through St. Louis, MO, and put on a plane with other recruits bound for San Diego, CA.

When we arrived at the San Diego airport, we followed the signs and were met at the curb by a Marine Staff NCO. He put us all on a bus, told us to sit at attention, and keep quiet. So far, so good, and nothing thousands of other recruits hadn't experienced.

As our full bus arrived at the base, I noticed a lot of sailors walking around, but didn't think much of it, since I knew the Marines and Navy worked together.

A sailor met the bus, took all our records, and directed us to stand on the yellow footprints. After a while, another sailor came out and told us to sit down and allowed us to smoke if we wanted to.

About half an hour later, yet another sailor appeared and called out "Can I have those nine Marines over here." That's when we learned we were at the Naval Training Center.

We stood at attention on the yellow footprints once again, and waited until a van came and got the nine of us to transport us to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot.

Needless to say, the Drill Instructor who met the van at MCRD was none too pleased that we had tried to escape to the Navy.

Fortunately for us, about the time we were headed for some severe retraining, another bus load of Marine recruits arrived. The DI ran us out to join the the new arrivals and, this time, we lined up on the right yellow footprints.

I survived that first day, and spent the next nine years serving in the Marines.

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