34 Years for Platoon 2036

August 21, 1981, MCRD San Diego. Just a mess call and a C bag drag to the parade deck after 84 days. Graduation Day.

We started with the logical view that it would be done in less than three months, nothing to it. But quickly, we figured out that time did not fly in this place. There were people and challenges that seemed to make time stop.

When you're suffering on T-17, it's not very comforting to do the math and rationalize that T-84 is only 67 days away.

Rational and logical didn't seem to matter when you're getting thrashed in The Pit because some other Private fell asleep in a first aid class. And at some point, that kind of discipline becomes logical, and that's when time does seem to pick up a little pace.

Still, it's pretty far off when you hit the middle at T-37 and you're humping. You don't feel like you've reached a hump. But rifle training and field training happen and you're suddenly in a different state of mind.

You turn a corner with about a month to go, and then you're not referring to it as T-84 all the time. Now it's August 21 and Graduation Day.

You're marching to chow and medical and admin in squads of four or eight with no drill instructors, and the first phase privates don't know what to think. If you're squared away and doing it right, a drill instructor stops you, but you're not worried. He uses you as an example, telling the fresh recruits that they might, MIGHT, get to this point one day ... but he SERIOUSLY f@#%in doubts it. He gives you a nod, a "Thanks" and a "Carry On" and you're off.

Then you're marching in the graduation ceremony the week ahead of yours, fot filler and for practice and you know thid is real. You get an afternoon of base liberty over the weekend, and you're able get food at the snack bar and walk among teal people .., and girls.

And then August 20 is here, and you're packed up and nobody is asleep at light's out our for a few hours afterward.

Nobody needs any help at reveille, they're up and dressed for breakfast. No full platoon formation, it's groups of six or so when people are ready and there's someone who feels comfortable calling cadence.

It's over and back, nothing stupid now. The drill instructs throw out threats of last thrashing sessions, but there's no conviction in their voices. There might be a ceremonial call for begin and a few bend and thrusts, but it's just in fun. Both sides now the fight is over. Both sides have won.

And then it's over. You're in you dress unis, you heard some speeches in thr theater, marched the parade deck as the stars of the show, and then did the about face out of there.

Family and friends are there hugging is happening, then there are introductions of fellow graduates and hand shakes. Then awkward tours of the place, and the you're gone.

Back into the world.

To August 21 and everything after. (Nod to AD)