The Curse of those Two Green Doo Wah Diddy Ribbons VI!! Grand Finale !!
Not only were we all excited about our pending trip by bus to the Edson Rifle Range, but more, we were given a sober message by none other than Staff Sergeant E-6 José Padilla himself, in person.
And the substance of that message was this: he had put his own reputation on the line along with that of the Bright Boys.
Because, as he matter of factly told us, he had bet his rivals in Platoons Ten Twenty Six, Ten Twenty Seven and Ten Twenty Eight, an entire fifty-five dollar case of quality bourbon that "his" Bright Boys of Ten Twenty Five would set a new rifle range record for Camp Pendleton's Edson Range.
As indeed they did! Well ... humm.. yeah, o.k.? Like sort
of, if you follow my drift? Like you know? Cool?
Because, truth to tell, when the morning of Qualifying Day arrived two weeks -- or more -- from the start of Marksmanship Training we started out all pumped up and on a roll.
Platoon Ten Twenty Five's roll ended up in the proverbial whimper.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls!
"Oh, my! Oh, my goodness! Who could have foreseen
such a disaster?"
Because, yes indeedy! MCRD Recruit Platoon 1025
woundup with the highest percentage of non-qualifying shooters out of any recruit training platoon in recorded Marine Corps rifle range history -- at least up to that specific date in time, July, 1966.
Better than fifteen out of seventy-five shooters failed to achieve even the minimum
score of 190
points out of the 250
needed qualify for the Toilet Seat
as the Marksmanship Medal
was disparagingly called.
And to add insult to injury, the Bright Boys waxed any and all competition by claiming close to 12
of those unenviable slots for their exclusive selves.
What happened was this: all of us lesser lights shot on the first string. In doing so we laid down a respectable base of at least the minimum Toilet Seat - winning score
. Then, all pumped up and on a roll after the final 500 meter
event, prone, where even clowns like me shot an average of, say, 47
out of 50
, we jumped up on command, slung our heavy duty kick-ass M-14s, and dog trotted 500 meters down range through a dimly lighted tunnel to finally jump into the trenches holding the Dog
It was now our turn to be pulling butts, marking hits, and Red Flagging Maggie's Drawers.
If ancient tradition is to be credited, the original owner of Maggie's Drawers got started on her
para-military career as nothing less than Amsterdam's legendary queen of the Aych-oh Dsitrict,
DBA'ing her little heart out as Queen Hard Faced Hannah
Coming to America towards the end of the second half of the Nineteenth Century, she quickly gained a respectable position as a personal secretary to some money hungry big wig in Washington, D.C., and I'm sure we all know how that
Especially when his office turned out to be close by to that world famous Marine Barracks at Eight & Eye.
Anyhow, what was supposed
to happen at Qualifying Day at Edson Range was that the Bright Boys would come ditty-bopping up to the 200 meter off-hand firing line doing the College Man's Strut. They would then pivot smartly around, on command, and then .... then, what
We say, because, apparently
what actually happened is that the whole mob lost it. Big time! Starting with our own fearless UT Austin offensive lineman from the UT fall lineup of 1965, who seemed in such a trance state that he never noticed his rear sight screw was literally gone.
Then, seeing the Big Guy take a dive, the rest of the Bright Boys fell into a panic, and fell back on their pack instincts like so many Duke University Lacrosse players.
Thus, while they pointed their rifles more or less in the right direction, the Bright Boys seemed to have indeed closed both eyes and banged away.
Right in the face of any number of astonished and outraged marksmanship coaches, not to mention our equally fearless Platoon Marksmanship Instructor -- or PMI for short -- Corporal Wade, plus assorted homicidally choleric DIs, etc.
And talk about finally getting themselves a so-called Liberal Education as a consequence!
When the sky caved in on them that same afternoon those who had yawned their way through their Modern History of France courses themselves got an opportunity to vividly recreate the era of of, say, five years earlier in July of 1961.That
would have been when the NCOs in charge of the French Foreign Legion's
famous training center at Sidi Bel Abbes
in old French North Africa
still taught their more sullen and truculent charges the fine art of "swimming in the sand!"
Only, thanks to both Staff Sergeant Hatton and Sergeant Velorio, both of whom were given this exacting -- if perhaps histrionic task -- our -- by now former
Bright Boys -- got the enviable chance to go like 'way, 'way beyond the French Foreign Legion's down home "motivational exercises of sand swimming" of five years earlier by doing their very own "sand-eating crab's crawl self-motivational exercises
" face down and actually eating it!
How all this had the desired effect of helping certain personality types come to terms with -- as well as assisted them individually in adequately addressing -- their burning personal issues
can be easily imagined.
In fact, any number of those formerly -- if allegedly -- still
Mother Fixated Bright Boys of the Summer of Nineteen Sixty Six as much as told the rest of us so.
That is to say, those lucky ones who could still talk coherently through a mouthful of all -American sand.
And so, ladies and gentlemen, little boys and girls, herein finally ends this whimsical little tale of how yet another generation of Peter Pans finally lost their wings.
The Old Fashioned Way!POR FIN!!