Transient Platoon


 

One morning two "runners" came to our Quonset and talked with the drill instructor. Runners were exceptional third-phase marine recruits who the Drill Instructors utilized to carry messages around the base. The Drill Instructor called me over when he finished talking with the runners. Private Longie, I want you to get all your shit packed and go with these two recruits. I was puzzled. I didn't know what was happening, but I packed all my stuff in my seabag and followed the two runners out the door. We walked across the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) to a building, where they told me to sit down and wait until somebody came out and talked to me. A Sargent called my name and led me to a room with about a dozen other marine recruits. He told me to pick a bunk and unpack my shit. You may be here a while, he told me.    I asked him what was happening, but he wouldn't tell me anything. After I settled in, one of the marine recruits came up to me and said this was the transient platoon. Everybody here is getting discharged from the marine corps for one reason or another, he told me. So, I asked him why? He said some of us don't want to be marines, some can't do the physical part, and some didn't see any sense in constantly spit-polishing boots and memorizing parts of the code of conduct. And a few of them had criminal records, and they will receive a bad conduct discharge (BCD). When we went to meals, instead of marching like marine recruits, most straggled along, laughing and joking, having a good old time. The following day a Sargent called me into his office. They had run a background check on me, and it came back that I was a felon. That's all he told me. He sent me back to the transient platoon. The next few days were strange. It felt weird being around recruits who were happy to get out of boot camp. I thought, why weren't they ashamed of getting washed out of Marine Corps Boot Camp? Instead, they besmirched the Marine Corps and didn't have anything good to say about the DIs and the training. Their criticism of the Corp bothered me. It was then I realized how much I wanted to become a marine. But I knew a judge had found me guilty of breaking into a bar a year earlier. I was kind of heartbroken. I hated to return home as a person who failed to complete Marine Corps boot camp. I stayed in that platoon for a couple of more days. After a couple of days, a captain sent for me. Well, private Longie, I'm looking at your record; let me ask you this; how much do you want to become a marine? I responded, "Sir, bad enough to lie to get in the Corp. Sir. That's obvious, he said. He appeared to be thinking for a while and finally said you are doing good in training; there are no problems with your attitude; I think you'll make a good Marine. I will give you a break and send you back to your platoon. Man! I was happy. I said, thank you, Sir, thank you very much. I returned to the transient platoon and threw all my stuff in my seabag. While packing my seabag, I looked over the recruits and thought, man, I'm glad to get away from you losers. I threw the seabag over my shoulder, left the building, and walked across MCRD. When I approached the Quonset, the drill instructor was standing outside. I walked up to him and said, Sir, Private Longie is reporting for duty. Sir. He gave me a what-the-hell-looked and said go to your old bunk to get your shit squared away. And just like that, I was back at the marine corps boot camp. A few years after I left the Marine Corps, my probation officer was satisfied with my behavior, so he took steps to erase the conviction from my record. His actions that day affected an important event many l years later. It will be in another chapter.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dr. Erich Longie published on October 12, 2022 10:04 PM.

Regret was the previous entry in this blog.

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