the road to Beauford

The journey actually started the day before in the town of Mattapoisett, Massachusetts. 

I don’t remember much from that time in my life but since I recently heard Mason Williams’ Classical Gas, I’ve been thinking about it…and I would much rather not.

About four months before this evening I resigned myself to the fact that I was going into the Army and was heading up to Boston to take my physical and then off to training camp.

The night before I had a few beers and then went home early.

The next morning I arrived at the Boston Navy Yard and was soon taking all kinds of tests to determine my fitness to serve.

Last up was my blood pressure.  I was told my pressure was too high and that I was to return in about four months to take further tests. Fast forward to this evening.  I thought if I was to drink and partake in other activities lasting through the early hours of the morning … what then would my body tell the draft board.

I will always remember the song that was playing on the radio of this tulip’s car as we left the Inn. 

 Classical Gas by Mason Williams


Next stop a dive bar in Fairhaven at closing time and the bartender greets us saying I’m closing and you guys are loaded.  There was one other person sitting at the bar.

 My lovely date says to the bartender…if you don’t give us a drink I’m going to drag this sorry fuck onto the bar and fuck the shit out of him…I believe we got several drinks.

I think the evening/morning ended around 4:00 AM, and I was on the bus going back to Boston at 7:00 AM.

Went through all the tests again and finally got to blood pressure.  

The way I figure it I was still loaded and my pressure had dropped to ” a welcome to the Army” level.

The next stop was a warehouse with about 500 guys in formation.  The voice went through the first 200 or so with,… step forward after your name and as the branch of service is stated … in the early 200s a name came up … step forward …US Marine Corps…the guy almost passed out.  It went on for another 150 or so then … Daniel N Carney United States Marine Corps … I didn’t step forward but said …hey I’m going into the Army.  Within seconds a 6’4″ Marine Staff Sergent was standing next to me and convinced me to step forward.

Only three out of this 500 or so guys were drafted into the Marines.

Hours later I was headed to Beauford, South Carolina.

On a train in a private compartment shared with the 3rd draftee.  We stopped briefly in Washington DC and then were transferred to a bus.

The stop in DC was interesting but because I was still in shock I just don’t remember much…or for that matter of the bus ride to Beauford … but I do remember this …

April 4, 1968, Beauford South Carolina.

Heading into Parris Island the bus driver yells out they just killed the fucking nigger!  The bus erupted in cheers…save the 3rd draftee, a drafted jew from New York, and me.

Needless to say, I was not looking forward to the next 13 weeks.

Up soon, my 8-week weight loss program and the road to Head Quarters Marine Corps, Henderson Hall, Washington, D.C.




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