Weekend Liberty in Boot Camp???

After too much fun in college, February of 1969 found me at MCRD San Diego undergoing 9 weeks of Marine Corps boot camp.

Half way through our training we were shipped to Camp Pendleton for 2 weeks of M-14 rifle and marksmanship training. While there, I was injured and sent to the US Naval Hospital for a few weeks.

My hospital ward was full of "salty" Marines, many of whom had already been to Vietnam. As they were preparing to get their weekend liberty passes, I was busy squared away my gear for an impending Monday departure for more boot camp training.

A Private who had just come back with his weekend pass looked at me and asked "Why aren't you going on liberty?". When I replied that I couldn't because I was still in boot camp, several of the "old timers" decided I needed a weekend off before returning to MCRD.

In those days, in order to get a pass, you had to appear before the Duty NCO in your dress green or tropical uniform. Up to that point the only clothes the Marine Corps has issued to me were olive drab utilities (fatigues) and boots. They "ordered" me to get into the Private's dress greens. As a lowly recruit with a few weeks in the service, you jump when anybody who has been in longer than you gives you an order.

They got me in ship shape, told me to grab my ID card and marched me down to the Duty office where I got in line to get my pass. As I stood there before the Duty NCO, I was more than a bit nervous thinking about all the trouble I could get in for this stunt. Amazingly, I got my weekend pass without a hitch. The "old timers" had accomplished their mission.

I borrowed some civilian clothes, boarded a bus and spent a wonderful, relaxing weekend in Southern California with relatives. Monday morning found me back in boot camp with another platoon. Luckily no one ever found out about my weekend excursion.

Who says you don't get weekend liberty while you're in boot camp.

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