View Full Version : Former Marines to relive basic training in S.C.

07-30-04, 07:24 AM
Posted on Thu, Jul. 29, 2004

Ex-Marines to relive basic training in S.C.



GULFPORT - Some 46 former Marines set out on a road march early Wednesday for a nostalgic visit to Parris Island, S.C., where many of them will relive their days of basic training.

A bus left the Armed Forces Retirement Home on U.S. 90 at 7 a.m., bound for a visit to the Recruit Depot near Beaufort, S.C., where all recruits from east of the Mississippi River and all women recruits are trained. Some 20,000 Marine recruits are trained at Parris Island, while others are trained in San Diego.

"I want to see how rough boot camp was," said retired Capt. James W. Carrington, who escaped from a Japanese prison camp to become a guerrilla fighter in the Philippines.

Parris Island is home to a museum of Marine Corps history, which is the primary interest of Carrington, 83. He joined the Marines in 1939 and was captured on Corregidor.

After his escape, he was sworn in as an Army officer by Col. Ed. P. Ramsey, who led a group of guerrillas, even though he was still a Marine corporal.

Though Carrington went through basic training in San Diego, many former Marines on the trip have been stationed at Parris Island.

"Probably not a lot has changed in the training," said retired Maj. Ken Bourgeois, who worked at a drill instructor at Parris Island between 1957 and 1960.

Bourgeois said notoriously tough drill instructors have three personalities: one for the recruits, one for their peers and one for their families.

"Most of them are out of the same mold," said Bourgeois, who spent 27 years as a Marine and received the Purple Heart for wounds in Korea.

During the 12 weeks of basic training, some Marines drop out, but most endure to become warriors.

Witnessing the transformation can be rewarding for a drill instructor, said Bourgeois.

"You can see a result after 12 weeks," he said.