Two months after graduating from high school, I joined the U.S. Marine Corps. In August 1963, I reported to Parris Island, S.C., for 13 weeks of basic training (Platoon 160). Each evening mail call was held in the barracks. The drill instructor would call the recruit's name, who would then run up to the center of the squad bay to receive his mail.
One evening I heard my name called and anxiously followed the normal procedure. As I approached the D.I., who was sitting at his desk, he looked at the envelope and then glared up at me as I stood before him. The letter was sent to me by my friend Richie, who was known as the practical joker of the group of guys I grew up with. He addressed my letter as "Sergeant" Robert Corrigan instead of "Private".
The D.I. angrily looked at me and said - "Maggot, it took me almost 4 years to become a Sergeant in our beloved Corps and here you are after only a few weeks being addressed as Sergeant". Following a few more expletives by the D.I., I was ordered to lick off all the ink on the envelope, which you can imagine did not taste very good.
While I was quite embarrassed by this incident, I never got mad at Richie - I just got even. Two years later, Richie joined the Corps. While he was at Parris Island, I happily, and somewhat vindictively I must admit, sent him a letter addressed to: "General Richard Hines". I can assure you, both Richie and his D.I. were not very happy after receiving my letter that evening!