Peacemaking: Chapter 1-4

That was the last thing I remember; the next few days were a blur.  I vaguely recall getting my hair shaved, getting issued recruit gear, and learning how to make a military bed.  This phase lasted a week; it was an introduction.  The day we dreaded, Black Sunday, was the day when we would be introduced to our platoon Drill Instructors and begin our training in earnest.  It couldn’t be worse than what we’ve already gone through, I thought.  How naïve I was, just a young chap.  I was an idiot, and Black Sunday was hell.  Our platoon leader was named Staff Sergeant Nygo.  I still don’t know how you pronounce it.  Beelzebub was there as well.  He was one of Nygo’s cronies.  The devil was always prowling about pointing his finger at us and yelling.  He’s what you would call, the Enforcer.  When one of us screwed up, he was in charge of the discipline.  It was a “good cop, bad cop” routine.  We would screw up, Beelzebub would “slay” us, and SSgt. Nygo would “comfort” us.  “Slaying” or “quarter-decking,” is the term that D.I.’s use in lieu of “hazing.”  It amounts to the same thing, however.  D.I.’s pull recruits out of training for a time and exercise them out of their minds.  It is a lot worse than it sounds. There were other D.I.’s, there were always other D.I.’s.  All told, there were usually four or so Drill Instructors running about.  In comparison, there were about seventy-five recruits in my platoon.  With as many of us as there were, you would think we would have gotten away with a lot, but to the contrary, our Drill Instructors were magicians.  They saw all in their magical crystal balls. A great secret of the Marine Corps is that it is nothing like the commercials.  On television all of the Marines that you see are hardcore chiseled men wielding fiery swords.  In real life, most Marines are people just like you and me.  They wheeze when they run, smoke cigarettes, cuss like a drunken aunt at Easter, and generally are not very trustworthy.  Most of them, as least during Recruit Training, would as soon as steal your stuff than watch your back.  We had all kinds.  The Canadians (I use the plural because, as it turned out, not only were there two but they were twins) were skinny, tall, and looked like rats when they smiled.  They made me a bit uneasy.  But we also had Blacks, Asians, Mexicans, and Whites.  Some of the new recruits could not, and I mean this literally, could not even speak English.  We had skinny recruits, fat recruits, stupid recruits, and well…more stupid recruits.  I mean, let’s be honest, the enlisted Marine Corps is not exactly the intellectual cream of the crop.

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