There really aren't any "fond" memories of Marine boot camp on Parris Island, South Carolina, 1969, Plt 182. With the exception of graduation day. However, as simple as it may seem, the following little lesson has served me well since that time.
We had started our rifle range training. Each morning around zero-dark-thirty, "cattle cars" would pick us. Prior to leaving our squad bay, our Senior D.I. (GySgt Dotson) would give the order, "smokers draw one." This allowed smokers to take one cigarette to have later on at the range, when the "smokin' lamp" was lit.
This went on every morning. Until one morning, we didn't receive our draw-one order. Did he forget? Yep, that had to be it. It's important to know here that no private on Parris Island was ever issued an idea or thought. (They would be given to us as we needed them.) But that fateful morning, we decided to think for ourselves. We determined that Senior had simply over-looked our much-anticipated treat, so we drew one!
Later that day, as we sat in the bleachers, we received the order, "smokin' lamp is lit"! So we lit' em up. We had assumed. A mistake that to this day, I still fear that Gunny Dotson will appear in my living room and demand that I continue to do push-ups! I had my 18th birthday on P.I. I'll soon be 67. I can still hear him roaring when he discovered our slight misstep. I never assume anything!!!
Semper Fi to all my brother and sister jarheads, past and present. Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard--God bless you, thank you and welcome home.