It is really hard to describe the shock and awe of the first day of boot camp
One night they took me to see a real intake process and I just stood there filming with my jaw on the floor.
This was the part where new recruits are given 30 seconds to call home to say they made it and goodbye for the next 90 days as they go thru the transformative process of becoming a Marine. There is so much yelling and chaos that I wonder what it must sound like from the other end of the phone and how stupefied the recipient must be to get a call like this
Even now watching the video leaves me gasping, incredulous and amazed at the intensity of it all
By the end of my week I was hoarse, bruised and had shinsplints from all the running. But I was strangely elated, energized and galvanized by the experience and sad that I would never measure up to be a real Marine. It was depressing to be a part of something so magnificent and have it end so abruptly. On the last day as we saw recruits fresh from the crucible go thru the parade and ceremony to become fullfledged marines we had a ceremony of our own. They were handing out awards and I hung back because I didnt expect to get anything for failing everything I had tried but then i heard my name and at first thought it was a mistake so didn't do anything. But the gunnery sergeant was yelling again and to my utter astonishment he handed me a challenge coin in the traditional way by holding out his hand as if for a handshake but palming the treasured coin to slip it to me mid shake.
I was receiving the honor for "dedication the likes we have never seen in this program." I was utterly dumbfounded and still staring at the coin when the muffled sound of my name came into my consciousness again. I looked up and the company commander was saying my name and in his hand was a plaque on which they had nailed a combat boot. It was a MOTO award and I was getting that too for being "the most motivated recruit we have ever met in this program"
As I left MCRDSD I hummed a little something i learned from The Fewer The Prouder Lady Marines. A cadence that will stay with me to my last breath
"If you see me coming you better step aside, many men didn't and many men died. What's the sign of a devil dog WOOF WOOF what's that runnin down your face JUICY JUICY"