Marine boot camp, Plt 373, 1965, Parris Island

At 17 years young and not knowing anything, I went into the Marines. My two Uncles served and I wanted to serve. My last name is Wojciechowski so the drill instructor called me alphabet. I went in at 185 pounds and after 8 weeks' training I was 145 pounds. You could see most of my ribs. They lined us up for chow a--hole to belly button and by height. Even though I was 5'11" tall there were only 2 guys behind me in the chow line. The last week I was there the drill instructor put me at the head of the line so I had more time to eat. The time for everyone to eat started when the first guy got chow.
We had an obstacle course to run most days. The second obstacle was a horizontal bar about 6 to 7 feet off the ground. You had to lift yourself up and over. Everyone else had almost finished and I was still trying to get over that bar. Every time we went somewhere, the D.I. would stop and yell alphabet. There was a horizontal bar nearby. Up and over I went. The D.I. knew I was trying, so he pushed. Or maybe the president just wanted more Marines in Vietnam. I could not run. I was always the last one back in the barracks after the morning run. I did not know until about 2014 that everyone had to stand at attention till I got back to the barracks. The D.I. socked me in the gut every day. He finally got tired of doing that so he gave the job to another recruit. The other recruit had gone to the same high school. Steve said look, Matt, when my fist hits your shirt you know what to do.... He pulled his punch. It took me 1 full year of Marine training to be able to run backwards like the D.I.s. How I was able to do the fireman's carry, I'll never know. But I did it. I had to.

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