It has been exactly 6 years since I landed on Parris Island. I will never forget how rapidly things changed when I got my orders from MEPS, and how quickly I was escorted to the nearest taxi to the airport. I remember getting meal vouchers to use on the way, and to my dismay not being able to use them at all. I knew that my civilian days were about to be over.
When I arrived at the Charleston airport with two other female recruits, we were rudely escorted to an open area waited to be seen by a short, stocky male drill instructor. My blood ran cold as the drill instructor barked out orders in front of random civilians, and I jumped mindlessly. I had a 20 oz bottle of Dasani water in my hand as we were being rushed down the "ladderwell" and was demanded to face the "bulkhead". What the heck was a "bulkhead"? I looked at the drill instructer confused, and he grabbed my bottle and chunked it at the nearest wall. Next thing I know, I pressed my nose against the wall, and thought, "What the heck am I doing here??"
Next, we were told to go into a room filled with long tables and were told to eat our "trash" and then put our "eyeballs" on the "knowledge" on the table. The "trash" wasn't literally trash, it was a sandwich and a bag of chips or fruit. I decided not to eat my food because my heart felt like it was about to pop out of my chest. We were the first three recruits to arrive, and it would be hours before all the recruits showed up, male and female alike. You could cut the tension in the room in half.. and of course the other Marines in the room poked fun at us. A lot of yelling, "Sound OFF!" More yelling, and a lot of acronoyms to be learned in a short amount of time.
When the remainder of the recruits were brought to the basement of doom, we finally were escorted to the buses that lead us to PI. It was dark about this time, and sat in my seat silently with unease as the remainder of the recruits exhanged stories and asked questions of the unknown. I had a bit of a cough, and I brought cough drops to soothe my throat. I remember thinking that I was going to be in trouble for having them on me. I just remained silent, listening, and thinking about what was about to happen next. I enjoyed the ride because it was moment of peace and not worrying about the D.I. that jumped us at the airport. The bus ride seem to last forever, and I manage to gaze at the front gate with Marines in delta's...and I knew this would be the point of no return until graduation day.
When we made it to the depot, another male drill instructer greeted us with his husky, bellowing voice,"Get off MY bus!!" I didn't hesitate, I grabbed my belongings and ran onto the infamous yellow footprints. This was the first formation of many to come.
~I will continue the bootcamp memories with a post a day... stay tuned! :)