It was announced that we were headed for the range to observe how to fire mortars.
When we as a platoon arrived at the top of the hill side there were several telephone poles in a row lying on the gravel ground for us to sit on. In front of us was a valley which you could see for miles to which the Marine Corps had place several tanks trucks and jeeps for targets for us to observe.
Then the instructors proceeded to show us the accuracy and power of a mortar. It was quite the blast and they were good at carefully hitting the targets and blowing them apart.
As I sat there on the log the Marine recruit to my left nudged me and handed me a comic book. I thought, “oh my gosh”! I haven’t seen one of theses in years, and besides, as a kid my parents never allow me to buy them or have them. So I took it and carefully placed it behind my guide book for Marines because I was afraid to pass it on to any one else. I knew this stuff was forbidden in boot camp but as I sat there it wasn’t to long before the curiosity over took me and I carefully flipped through the pages to see what the big deal was. Well, as I turned the pages there suddenly appeared a shadow and two shinny black boots in font of me.
Then a hand reached down and slowly removed the book from me as I searched my head for an excuse to respond to his, “WHAT HAVE WE HERE PRIVATE PHENICIE”??? ……Get up Private!!!!!! ……
Then he called for the platoon guide to, “GET OVER HERE”
…….”SEEMS LIKE PRIVATE PHENICE IS MORE INTERESTED IN READING A COMIC BOOK THAN PAYING ATTENTION!!!
SO NOW, BOTH OF YOU WILL ASSUME THE PUSH UP POSTION (as he pointed to the stones below us), USING YOUR FISTS AND YOU CAN BOTH READ THE COMIC BOOK TOGETHER!
With that he tore it up into small pieces and placed a pile of shredded pages on the gravel and down we went into the pushup position. The lime stones of the road began to cut into our fist immediately (Man did it ever hurt!)!!! Then I decided to rest on one side more than the other and it cut in even more so.
As we both tried to endure the pain of the sharp limestone rocks cutting into our fist, the Platoon guide whispered to me, “you’re going to pay for this Phenicie”. For once I didn’t know what to say or think but I knew I was in deep trouble and had no way out.
Then the Drill instructor (after we began to squirm) told us to, “GET UP”! As we both stood there look’n naughty, he proceeded to tell the platoon guide to, “Take Private Phenicie behind that shed (as he pointed) and teach him lesson about reading comic books in book camp”!!!
So off we went, and soon we disappeared from the visual of the rest of the platoon, then guide said to me, “You Know I’m going to have to hit you”, and if you want to fight back you can”.
I said, “Yep”.
Then he ask “Where do you want it, in the stomach, arms, shoulder”?
I said, “in the face”(I figured if he hits me in the face it’s all bone and besides if he has the guts to dish it out, I had the guts to take it, and besides if he hit me in the face it would be hard to hide the abuse from the officers).
It didn’t take long before I went back and sat down. Both eyes grew shut and turned black and blue and I got the stares from the rest of the platoon but I had to maintain my composure like it was no big deal.
I had my picture taken for the Marine Corps boot camp year book for Platoon 2078 a week or so later, and it was clear that something must’ve had happened to “Private Phenicie”.