Terry Thomas

Mail Call

Mail Call: By Terry Thomas

It was several days, maybe even a week into boot camp when
one evening the drill instructor ordered all four squads into one barracks.
They had us sit on the floor in a kind of U shape pattern. 

Two foot lockers were stacked on top of each other and on top of those
lockers was a big bag that had the word Mail written on it.

Now after day one of boot camp we were encouraged to write home as the
mailing was free. But with little sleep at night and long days of stress finding
 the time the first few weeks was hard. After about week six of training it did get easier.

On Sunday we would carry our foot lockers out onto the little paved rode that
separated the barracks for what was called free time. It really wasn’t free though as
nothing never is. We used that time to polish boots, brass, starch our hats and wash
our clothes. When those chores were done we would usually turn to writing a letter to home.

So here we set and was about to receive our first mail call and I was excited as
where the rest of the boots. As the DI AKA Drill Instructor got our attention he
starting talking about some boots writing home about being abused and or mistreated.

It was hard to hear being that I was sitting in the back of the room. Boots is what you
were called until you graduated from Boot Camp. After that you earned the Title of Marine.
And to make the hearing even worse the pounding rain upon the metal roof of the
Quonset hut beat like boot cadence on a wood floor.

The DI called out a name and the boot answered. Two more DI’s walked towards the boot,
grabbed him by his shirt collar and then they drug him down the floor.
Then opened the door, drug him outside, walked back in and quietly shut the door.

The DI once again began talking about writing letters home that were filled with
lies about what goes on in boot camp.

Now that I am older I think I understand. Someone writes home and lies about what is
going on it is only natural that their family will respond to that be it phone call or letter
to someone high up in the ranks. And like a plumber knows crap flows down hill.

Based on what I had seen that night, down hill meant nothing to the DI’s. You were here
to be trained and trained you would be. If you rebelled there was always the threat of
two weeks in Motivation Platoon.

I was never abused or mistreated in boot camp. Was I scared, yes? Was I intimidated, yes?
Was I beaten and or tortured, NO.

So after the first run of mail call I can not speak for others, I can only speak for myself.

My letters home went something like this.

Dear Mom,

I am having the time of my life. There are several days to do nothing but swim and play on
the beaches here. Friday nights is steak fry, all you can eat and they even bring in a band to play music.

I love what I’m doing.

Your Son


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