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Mar-28-2011 05:00printcommentsVideo

Confessions of a Marine Corps Mutineer

Definition of MUTINY - forcible or passive resistance to lawful authority; especially : concerted revolt (as of a naval crew) against discipline or a superior officer

Tim King about two months before being sentenced to 30 days at the Correctional Custody Unit at the Camp Pendleton Marine Base in California
Tim King about two months before being sentenced to 30 days at the Correctional Custody Unit at the Camp Pendleton Marine Base in California. Photo: U.S. Marine Corps

(SALEM, Ore.) - I became a bit of an expert on the military legal system during my time as a U.S. Marine. I don't know if it was half me and half the Marine Corps, or just how it all came to be the mess that it was; but I do feel that I became a qualified expert of sorts at being a Marine troublemaker. In Marine Corps jargon I was a 'Shitbird' and believe me, it was more like a club than just a word used to belittle us.

The Marine officers I answered to were merciless hollow-shell men. They inspired sayings like: "There's nothing wrong with the Marine Corps, but there sure is with something wrong with the people who run it".

Not long ago I wandered through the offices that used to house these men during the day; these men who screamed and ranted and raved and sometimes threw blows at us to teach us discipline. Today the place is completely abandoned and the only voices come from ghosts[1] .

These men who were in charge were not our leaders, they were simply against those of us who didn't kiss their asses. And if they thought I was a pain in the ass as a Marine, these indifferent jerks who subjected my friends and I to stupid levels of abuse surely never thought I would become a writer.

Unlike that point in my life, today I have as many friends as enemies in this Marine Corps world.

I also know that I am not the only one who found myself in real serious trouble with Marine authorities time and time again.

USMC-Uncle Sam's Misguided Children

I joined the Marine Corps on 12 June 1981, graduating basic training or 'boot camp' at San Diego in September '81, and by October I reported to my first duty station, Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in Southern California.

Origin of MUTINY -

mutine to rebel, from Middle French (se) mutiner, from mutin mutinous, from meute revolt, from Vulgar Latin *movita, from feminine of movitus, alteration of Latin motus, past participle of movēre to move
First Known Use: 1540 [2]

In November, I was five minutes late to a morning formation, and I was written up for being "UA" (Unauthorized Absence) and informed that I would go to Office Hours with my commanding officer for my offense.

'Office Hours' is Marine terminology for being tried and sentenced by a commanding officer.

A Marine facing charges for a somewhat minor offense, can ask for a summary court martial if they choose to; but typically opt for Office Hours, (non judicial punishment) - Article 15 under the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice).

I was sentenced to a facility where I ultimately found myself in a position of resistance, and there was a window of time when two senior Marines were in the process of charging me with leading a mutiny, which is a very, very serious matter.

Salem-News.com photo by Bonnie King

Following my crime of being five minutes late to formation, exactly four months into my Marine Corps experience, I was sentenced to 30 days in CCU (Correctional Custody Unit) known as "The Remotivation Platoon", placed in the back of a van and taken from El Toro to Camp Pendleton where I would begin my sentence as Confinee King. After arriving, I was even given a white tag with that unflattering title, and told to clip it to the pocket of my uniform.

'What a terrible place' I recall thinking, there was no other way to describe it. Loud, screaming pissed off Marines who were charged with making those like myself tired and miserable. And I was going to be here for a month.

Marine Corps CCU at Camp Pendleton, what we simply referred to as 'CC', as I have always told people, was like boot camp, only without officers patrolling the area, trying to catch drill instructors beating or abusing recruits; helping the Marines avoid the heat of families and lawyers unhappy with the treatment of their son.

Before expanding on what happened at CC, it is important to understand that in boot camp, there are many people present in many situations. Most who did what they were told and had what it took physically and mentally, did not have major problems making it through basic. There were many in my platoon who did not have what it took and while Platoon 1044 began with around 100 recruits, our drill instructors graduated 74.

Marine Corps Recruit Depot- San Diego

By the time the 1980's had rolled around, the Marine Corps had outlawed the physical beating of recruits, which the Corps is legendary for. It still happened, but not the way it did to those Marines who served in the generation prior to ours. I was belted in the stomach once by my senior drill instructor, Staff Sergeant George Darner. It wasn't so bad, though I wasn't expecting it.

Senior D.I.of Marine Recruit
Platoon 1044 SSgt G.E. Darner

USMC Platoon 1044 MCRD San Diego, Calif. Graduated Sept. 1981

I was showing the mark on my stomach to a Marine recruit the next morning from the punch and of all things, an officer overheard me talking about it.

"Who hit you recruit"?

"Sir, the private wasn't hit by anybody, sir!"

"Bullshit, were you hit by your drill instructor"?

"Sir, no sir!"

"You're lying to me!"

"Sir, no sir!"

The lieutenant walked away in disgust, totally unhappy with my reluctance to say what had happened. There was a little more to the conversation, but that is the part I remember. This was Marine boot camp; I could have had Darner in big trouble, but that wasn't the way things were done.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Marine mental programming. Though I have to add that even now I don't regret that part. Darner was rational most of the time. Boot camp was very safe compared to what I would experience at CCU.

Subj: CORRECTIONAL CUSTODY UNIT (CCU) INFORMATIONAL PACKAGE

1. GENERAL. The West Coast Regional Correctional Custody Unit will be operated as prescribed by

SECNAVINST 1640.9B, MCO P1640.4C, Base Order P5000.2J, Chapter 15, and such other instructions as may be issued by competent higher authority.

2. MISSION. Correctional Custody Unit’s mission is to correct attitudes and motivate awardees through intensive training, and affirmative leadership. Thereby enabling them to return to their parent commands and perform duties and dependable hard work in an honorable manner.

3. PHILOSOPHY.

a. Correctional Custody is one of the most severe forms of non-judicial punishment. It is designed to be a means of disposing of minor offenses without stigmatizing the offender with a court-martial conviction.

b. It is corrective due to the nature of the program and the fact that there are no bars, locks, weapons, or fences. The time spent in Correctional Custody is not considered bad time, therefore, it does not have to be made up at the end of an enlistment.

4. POLICY. Correctional Custody should only be imposed after other less severe means have proven to be unsuccessful in improving the conduct and attitude of the offender. Correctional Custody is not intended to replace other more appropriate punishment authorized by Article 15, UCMJ, nor is Correctional Custody for the chronic or serious offenders. Correctional Custody is not a warehouse or baby-sitting service for individuals awaiting an administrative discharge or court-martial.

5. PRINCIPLE OF OPERATION.

  • Around the clock, close supervision.
  • Extensive counseling.
  • Intensive physical training program.
  • 40-hour hard/physical work per week.
  • 12-hour classroom instruction per week.
  • 8-hour physical training per week.
  • Weekly formal inspections (Personnel, clothing/equipment).
  • Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test conducted weekly.
  • Work hours, six days per week (0415-2100)
  • Working parties Monday thru Wednesday, and Friday from 0900-1500. (Meaningful work and generally requiring hard physical labor).
  • Church call on Sunday Mornings.
  • Visitation Call on Sundays and national holidays, from 1200 – 1500.

From: www.pendleton.usmc.mil

Correctional Custody Unit- Camp Pendleton

Correctional Custody Unit at Camp Pendleton was located in a wooden two-story World War Two barracks that was surrounded by a fence, but nothing very intense; enough to get the idea across. I tried to pinpoint the building in the Google Earth image accompanying this article; I know it is 52 Area, building 5231107. If anyone can help pinpoint the building or has a photo, I would appreciate hearing from you.

At CCU there were three crews of Marines who ran the place. They ranged in rank from corporal to gunnery sergeant. They worked 24 hours and then had 48 hours off.

We were endlessly drilled and PT'd (Physical training) and we were tested in every possible manner except as I recall, rifle training. After all, we were 'confinees' and not even allowed to use our own rank when identifying ourselves.

Of the three crews, one was there to do the job of drilling us all day long but they were very reasonable as human beings and didn't do anything out of line. I got along particularly well with this crew and one staff sergeant whose name I can't recall, asked endless questions about what it was like growing up in Los Angeles and surfing and was just very curious about Southern California culture.

He designated me 'house mouse' which meant that I stayed inside and helped with clerical items and basically shot the breeze many nights with this crew of sergeants, who were all well-natured men.

The second crew, if you will, was not overly friendly though I did seem to get along well with an African-American gunnery sergeant who headed this second group of NCO's (Non-commissioned officers).

They put us through the moves and might have enjoyed their work a little too much at times, but we were there to be punished and pushed and they liked to have us pick up telephone poles and run and that kind of thing. Sometimes we were given ten pound sledge hammers and we broke big rocks into little ones, really.

None of us were under the illusion that we would be treated well, but like all people, we expected to be treated at least humanely. Cruelty we couldn't avoid, but illegal behavior; that we should never tolerate. That is what this story is about.

The third crew as we will refer to them for the purpose of this article, was nothing less than a sadistic team of Marines who needed to be tossed in Fort Leavenworth for their crimes. Instead, for a short time, it would seem that I was going to be the one going to Leavenworth.

And I want to point something out about the whole shitbird thing and the Marine Corps' position in the early 1980's toward Marines like myself.

A stereotypical 'shitbird Marine' is a slacker who wears their cover (hat) far back on their head and has their hands in their pockets, which is forbidden for a Marine to do. (Yes, it is an offense to place your hands in your pockets in the Marines). That is the stereotype, the picture that comes to mind.

Tim King in the Marine Corps 'Alpha' uniform.

These guys do exist, they are often Marines who have been in for a long time and have little rank. I had a friend in the Corps who had two hash marks indicating eight years of service, but was only a lance corporal; an E-3 in the Marines.

Sometimes they are unable to follow directions for whatever number of reasons, but that friend who hailed from the state of Nebraska, knew our operation better than almost anyone there.

His sin?

My friend Terry, whose last name I will leave out, had been caught with pot. So they gave him office hours and made him the equivalent of a Marine who had been in about a year and a half, in terms of rank.

I was reliable when I did my job and I was proud to be a Marine. I believed at the time that I had all of the essential ingredients, except for that rare quality some people possess, that allows them to stay out of trouble.

And for the record, I was caught in a urine test for having marijuana in my system, but that was in 1981 and Marines were not prosecuted for a positive urine test until the beginning of 1982.

I stopped using pot and never was in trouble for that in any official terms, though I would always be associated with it because of the test in 1981.

I was one of two guys in my squadron for the duration of my time with MWSG-37 (Marine Wing Support Group) at El Toro, who regularly spit shined my boots, and I pressed the hell out of my uniform every night for the coming day.

One reason I was branded a shitbird is because I parted my hair in the middle, seriously. I had a shitty attitude in the beginning but I tried to keep pushing forward.

I just never adjusted to being beaten for my mistakes by a sergeant who was practically overdosing himself on steroids while looking like a monster troll, all in the good graces of our command.

If there had been even reasonable treatment, or if I had been a couple of years older, I think it would have worked out much better.

From the report: Rat Patrol in Iraq: Air Wing Marines Fill Infantry
Role (VIDEO) - Tim King Salem-News.com

Instead I was one of hundreds of Marines at the time who were in trouble, many of whom were being kicked out, and just putting up with endless, needless harassment.

It's funny; I was covering the war in Iraq in 2008 as an embedded reporter with what other group than my own alma mater, MWSG-37 which was operating in the Anbar Province, when I quickly learned that absolutely nothing has changed in the United States Marine Corps.

I talked to several Marines in a short period of time who were in trouble for one thing or another, facing charges, losing rank, being restricted to barracks, etc. It looked like little had changed over the years since I checked out from the same squadron.

Also, it is important to note that some of the Marines I talked to were not part of MWSG-37; the problems I described about Marines having trouble staying out of hot water were in no way unique to my former aviation support group.

In fact the Public Affairs staff at the al Asad Airbase, was the absolute best; rolling out the red carpet when I arrived, with two lieutenants there to carry my gear.

For all the negative things I reference, there is something equally good taking place in the Marine Corps. Marines are high caliber human beings; the legendary esprit-de-Corps just needs to be more of a constant thing.

Marines need to always take care of other Marines.

The Marine Corps I Knew Then- And Now

I have come to know the Marine Corps in ways that I never expected. It started when I was still in, stationed at El Toro, and I learned that our executive officer (XO), a career fighter pilot, was hanging out in the more flamboyant establishments of Laguna Beach. This same man who was a major, had tossed two guys in our squadron out for reportedly being homosexual.

I don't know or care if they were, but there was no advocacy for them from their command, only trouble. To know that the second officer from the top was probably gay, just makes it all look like a big pile of hypocrisy.

Learn more about
Marine Col. Jim Sabow

A few years after I was discharged from El Toro, a colonel who was third in command of the base, James Sabow, found out that large shipments of drugs were being unloaded at El Toro off schedule in the middle of the night. This was five to six years after the Iran-Contra hearings, and the shipments of drugs and weapons to Nicaragua were still moving back and forth.

Both the commanding general of the base and the one colonel senior to Jim Sabow, appear to know far more than they ever let on about his "suicide" in his back yard on a sunny morning. Col. James Sabow was murdered, there was not a single thing about the investigation that said suicide and the colonel's brother is a medical doctor who has never given up his quest to see his brother's killers arrested and convicted. [3]

One of the bases where I spent time, in addition to El Toro and Camp Pendleton, was the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona. This is a Harrier base and a very interesting place.

Tim and 3 of his five sons; Sean, Austin
and Matthew, in 1995 with KYMA's live van.

In 1995 I was hired by the NBC station in Yuma, KYMA Eyewitness News-11, as a news photojournalist. Over the next two years, I saw another side to the Marine Corps; that was the side where aircraft frequently crashed and reports sometimes barely made the news. It is a tragedy because, at least at that point in time, the Marines were always struggling with limited budgets that were inadequate in addressing serious problems with tired, aging planes. The worst example I covered was the crash of an EA6-B Prowler with four officers aboard, all of whom were killed. My crew actually was allowed to enter the range and report from the scene of the tragic crash.

I recall driving away from that crash and recalling how the Marine Corps was not given enough, and it seems they were not very good then at using what they had to maximum sufficiency. That last part is strictly my opinion, but I have a level of distrust these days toward the Marine Corps' top decision makers. Because of having written so many stories about the Marine Corps in recent years, I am frequently contacted with new stories and leads. Parents of Marines contacted me in August 2009, saying that their sons were repeatedly being sent into a deserted town in Afghanistan's Helmand Province called Now Zad, and taking casualties over and over without any good reason.

I wrote about it and fortunately a short time later, the Marines were not dying in Now Zad. I always remember this comment that a Marine named Andrew left on the story:

andrew September 26, 2009 7:54 pm (Pacific time)

"Tim- I was one of the first Marines in Nowzad with Fox co. 3rd plt. 2/7 in summer of 2008 at the time I didn't know why we were there but i can tell you from first hand experience our presence there is absolutely causing the taliban massive problems if you get a chance to go there tell the guys there keep up the good work and kill bodies.
SEMPER FI."
[4]

From Tim King's report: Sick Marines and Contaminated
Water: Questions Surround El Toro Marine Air Base- July 2008

Then last year, we learn that the Marine Corps has been lying for years about the levels of Benzene contamination at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

This, after our project launched in 2008 to expose the contamination of El Toro which like Camp Lejeune, has caused a widespread cancer and health problems among veterans. [5]

I know the Marine Corps these days in ways that I didn't know it then, and believe me it is a love/hate relationship.

When I was in Camp Pendleton's Correctional Custody Unit at the age of 18, I knew that I hated the Marine Corps with a passion. Today I love the qualities that Marine Veterans possess.

Many of my good friends and fellow Salem-News.com writers are former Marines; I have Marine buddies from when I was in, and another group that I accumulated while covering the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it creates an incredible bond for life.

One friend who is a former Marine, Salem-News.com's Robert O'Dowd; has been putting in extra hours combining our stories from the last three years about El Toro into a book that will be released in the coming months.

Watch for, A Few Good Men- Too Many Chemicals, hopefully before the end of this year.

The Red Badge of Indifference

As I mentioned, CCU was rough and as the sidebar on the right side of the story above shows, they had quite a schedule for those of us unlucky enough to be there. Every week we took a full Marine Corps physical fitness test (PFT) and each week our uniforms were inspected to the hilt and we were tested in the classroom each week also. If you did very well in the PFT and the inspections and tests, you received a red mark on your white ID card that was clipped to your breast pocket. This was known as a red badge, and a lot of Marines in CCU didn't get one.

I maxed my scores week after week and became what is known as a 'Double Red Badge' which meant that I had excelled in every possible way. Double red badges were released a week to ten days early, but not apparently when you are the ringleader of a mutiny named Tim King.

A Prelude to Mutiny

One particular day, this third group consisting of one corporal, one sergeant, and one staff sergeant, had a particular thorn in their side. Everything was overdone, we were threatened all day that at night, we would run the barracks. It wasn't the first time, this crew frequently made us run the barracks. That meant running the length of the building, then down the stairs to a landing, and then we hooked a 180 and went down the second half of the stairs. Then we ran the length of the building downstairs, and went back up the other stairs, round and round.

We ran hundreds of laps, and on this particular night it went on and on. Then the sadistic crew of Marines started grabbing the ankles of tired 'confinees' coming down the last section of stairs and they would trip and fall, striking their heads, bleeding; forced to keep going. Eventually people kept falling and the floor at the base of the stairs became wet with blood and sweat. More Marines fell.

The next morning, before it was light, they had us outside running in a circle, the whole group of several dozen CCU Marines, running and running after being run to Hell on the stairs the night before. Crew number three was enjoying the whole thing. We were marched to chow where we devoured everything we were given, then back outside and in formation. Soon we were being marched from the chow hall, back to the CCU barracks. Halfway or so there, crew number three began drilling us from two sides simultaneously with a reverse cadence. As one yelled "Left right" the other yelled "right left" and soon the platoon was marching out of sync and we were stopped, "Platoon... halt!"

"Okay, assholes to elbows" the one I recall as a corporal called out.

This is one of the Marine Corps' most humiliating practices; making the platoon scrunch up to where each Marine's face is literally touching the back of the head of the guy in front of you. After making the platoon assume this formation, the platoon leader or drill instructor, whatever the case may be, yells, "Forward March" and the first Marines walk; the three squad leaders (Basic training has four squads) march, maybe the second row of Marines, and the rest of the platoon falls down quite literally on top of one another.

The night before had been exceedingly difficult, we were being PT'd before the sun came up on this morning and our bodies were being taxed, even as Marines, and now this assholes to elbows bullshit.

I was the second squad leader; I looked at the guys on each side of me and said, "Hey, f*ck these guys, don't march when they say forward march".

They both replied, "What?"

Honestly, I could have just attacked these two abusive jerks from the CCU staff myself. It didn't take a lot of convincing with my fellow Marines, after all we were Marine shitbird troublemakers; the word spread down the platoon.

The skinny corporal who was the worst of this crew, yelled "Forward March!" and we didn't move. He screamed at the top of his shrill voice, "Goddammit, I said forward march you pieces of shit, what the f*ck is wrong with all of you?"

We slowly broke formation and began walking toward the two NCO's, who were standing between our platoon and the CCU. They quickly shut their mouths and stood by as we quietly walked into the barracks we lived in and sat down.

"Holy shit" is the first thing I recall another Marine confinee saying after we all had moved back into the barracks. We could hear the CCU Marines in the building with us, probably in their offices down the hall, but they didn't enter the squad bay where we were located.

Within just ten or fifteen minutes, the African-American gunnery sergeant whom I got along well with, came to the barracks and immediately approached me.

"King, what in the Hell were you thinking about? Those guys are charging you with MUTINY, do you have any idea what that means?"

"Not really", I replied.


View Larger Map

"It means years and years at Fort Leavenworth. This is the United States Marine Corps, you can't just decide that you are going to disobey an order and talk the platoon into doing the same thing, Christ! You really did it this time".

And this is where I made my move; one that likely allows me to be sitting here now. I looked at the gunny and said, "Gunny, you have no idea what those guys are like to us. They were tripping Marines that were running the stairs after going like 300 laps. They're bastards and if they want to write me up that is fine, but I think you know my family is from the local area and the first chance I get, I am going to call the LA Times and tell them about the abusive crap taking place here at CC and I guess we'll have to see what happens."

I don't think I really appreciated the position I had placed myself in at the time. Today I look back at it and can imagine really doing nothing else. Authority is not real when it is misused. The people who are willing to break the law in the process of enforcing it, are no better than the convicts.

The gunny left us in the squad bay and came back a few minutes later, presumably after telling the other CCU guys that I was going to rat their behavior out to the media. The gunny took us out to the bleachers and let us smoke a few cigarettes.

Not of course, until after the obligatory CCU cigarette chant:

"Sir, the surgeon general has determined that cigarette smoking can be hazardous to your health, and we don't give a rat's ass... sir".

In Marine Corps talk I "skated" on this one, and that is good. I am glad I stood up to those assholes and I hope in a way that it set an example for the other Marines who were there that day. Like me, five minutes to a formation, they were in some cases, just scared young guys going from the frying pan to the fire. It was good to be able to have a level of control in all of that madness.

Flying Converse

The last time Tim King dealt with Marine MP's was while covering
the Iraq war in 2008. Photo at al Asad air base in the Anbar Province.

Red Badge confinees at CCU at Camp Pendleton (Which is currently closed due to the wars overseas- so much for remotivation) are supposed to be released early but I was allowed to stay instead, for the full thirty days. Finally it was over and two MP's from El Toro had driven down to Pendleton to pick me up and take me back to my base. My gear was laid out and waiting, and my white tennis shoes were tied to my sea bag (Marine duffel bag) as per protocol. As I went to place my gear in the van, one of the CCU NCO's took one of my shoes and tossed it up on the roof of this ancient wooden barracks.

"Go get it!"

I had no choice, so to the great entertainment of everyone there, I took my life in my hands and climbed to the roof, got my shoe, and headed back down the ladder. One of the MP's in typical fashion looked at me and said, "Hey man, we need to go".

After all it was Friday afternoon and these guys had plans. Of course I hadn't been the asshole who threw the shoe on the roof. As I reached the van, that sergeant threw my other tennis shoe on the roof. There was no leaving it up there, so before I left CCU, I climbed the crappy ladder twice and wondered if the ladder was going to hold each time.

It is a small world and I suspect it is possible one or more person who was in CCU with me might read this, if so I would appreciate hearing from you.

Welcome to the Marine Corps, the side that you rarely hear about.

I suggest finishing college and joining the Peace Corps instead.

References:

[1] Memories of the El Toro Marine Air Base: a Modern Day Ghost Town - Tim King Salem-News.com

[2] Merriam-Webster -'mutiny'

[3] Who Killed Colonel James E. Sabow, USMC? - Robert O'Dowd Salem-News.com

[4] U.S. Marines and an Afghanistan Ghost Town Called Now Zad - Tim King Salem-News.com

[5] Marine Corps Busted Over Benzene Contamination at Lejeune - Tim King Salem-News.com

_________________________________________________________

Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.

Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 82 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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Jeffrey S. Elletson January 19, 2016 12:32 am (Pacific time)

Parris Island April 1 - June 1 1980. 3rd MAG, H&MS 13, El Toro. Aviation ordnance - specialized in napalm, smoke, missile/rocket technician Terminal lance/shitbird here. Consistently in trouble as well, lost 3 stripes, several paychecks, 35 days CC at Pendleton where we had a mutiny against a sgt. that liked asshole to bellybutton marching way too much. Never seen him again. Hardest thing I've ever done, including boot. Eventually made to see psychiatrist who diagnosed personality disorder. BTW - I broke the Corps pull-up record in boot, but day of the field meet got cancelled from heat - 120'. Still, managed to get an honorable discharge. So many stories-so little time.


Danny November 4, 2015 8:54 am (Pacific time)

Wow, good story Tim. All those terms you referenced I remember like yesterday. Was in from 82-89 and at Lejeune from 83-86. Recall seeing the CCU out at the Rifle Range and met one of their CCU SGT's there on the road, he yelled at me thinking I was one of them then I made him aware of my rank, SGT. He then scuffed off. CCU was a mini-boot camp it looked to me. I would not have wanted to be there. Didn't look fun. It's a shame the mentality of the Corps was as it was back in the day and as I read here, the same. I remember officer's where treated as GOD and the rest of us kissed up to them and our ranking SGT's E-6 and up. That's why I got out and I even made SGT in just over 3 years and few months. Joined the Army in 90, Warrant Officer flight school and retired CW4 in 2011. Army has little discipline compared to the Corps but the USMC is way to far on the other end spectrum. Both need to meet in the middle in my opinion. The Marines want a young force, the Army is much older. Respect for each other in the Army no matter the rank is far more pushed. In the Corps, non rates, Lance Corporal and below (E3) and below were treated like crap. As for the CCU, if not already, it should go away completely. I think it is a shame the USMC treats their own in such a manner of ridicule. Grown adults who have earned the title of Marine. I really don't blame the CCU staff as they know no better, were young and brainwashed BUT the Colonel's and General's who allow(ed) this to happen. My Army colleague's whom I work with as a Dept. of the Army Civilian now can't hardly believe what they hear regarding this story.


R nolden March 30, 2015 1:50 pm (Pacific time)

I was fortunate enough to be a USMC shit bird too. I spent time in the Brig at great lakes naval base several times, also both Brigs at camp Lejeune , and then I was sent to Portsmouth , That was a lovely place. LOL


Harry Craig Wilson October 14, 2014 1:50 pm (Pacific time)

Some further comments on CC Oki Japan 1982. The 26 yr old American Indian Marine I met there said FU to a Cpl there overseeing us. The Indian's punishment was to break rocks, 700 hits, then water, 10 min rest, then 500 more hits, water 5 min break, then 500 more hits, all for saying F### You. Another young Marine 18 or so, was really freaking out at CC. I told him to chill, it is just like boot camp but easier,, but he did run away went UA from CC,, on an Island?? OKI? You cannot escape an Island. He went to the brig, next door to CC. He was made to sit in a cell, naked except for undies, Skivvies. HOT Aug of 82 Oki very humid. He got bread and water only until he obeyed, worked etc. I assume he was discharged at some point. I loved CC!!! I lost 30 lbs there, loved the exercise,, I could out run, out do on the obstacle course, every 18 yr old there,, I could out run and out do every DI There, every Officer. 25 pullups, me age 30 and 11 months. ran 3 mi in 16:20 at CC I loved it. I ate egg whites all healthy food, no candy no fat etc, I lost 30 lbs from 188 to 155 in 30 days. thank U USMC


Harry Craig Wilson October 14, 2014 1:13 pm (Pacific time)

Tim King: I too was in CC, at Okinawa. Aug of 82. I was 30 yrs old, on my 3d enlistment, still a L Cpl. I had made Cpl at age 24. I joined the USMC at age 22 with a BA in Math. As a Cpl I did go to OCS, I quit OCS very soon, too much BS, such as "get over here!!!" we all run over there, "Get back!! Too slow" !! I said to myself, I am outta here!. You are allowed to quit OCS of course. DOR Drop on Request. I was 25, I could do 25 pullups ran 3 mi in 15:58, did 80 situps in 100 seconds. But being an Officer is more than running and pullups. I do respect most Officers, not all. Back to my CC. I was a Disbursing Clerk, but not a good one. I'd rather run, rake leaves etc do physical work. So CC was a breeze for me. I ran 16:20 3 miles at CC at age 30 and 11 months. An officer there was going to race me but he chickened out. How and why did I find myself at CC? I was kind of a smart ass. I joined the USMC just to get away from LA and my dad, for the challenge etc. the cool uniform. The Marines did push me to my limits, i did benefit from boot camp tho' it was a lot of BS. I left the Marines after my 2 yrs were up, tried to be a Math teacher back in LA.. Not for me not everyone can handle a classroom or be an Officer or Cop or .... etc. I returned to KC MO MCFC Marine Corps Finance Center, fun duty sta. I was a crappy clerk but the officers lived me cause I could run, PT etc. I really should have been on the USMC Track Team. At Quantico, after quitting OCS, I met a Native American Marine who was on the track team, his whole job was to run, lift wts, eat, sleep, stretch. my running times did qualify me to apply for track team,, I learned all this later. They wanted a one mile time of 4:54, I did run this time at age 25, at age 30 in the Marines KCMO I ran 4:49 mile, at age 16 ran 4:47. At Okinawa, age 30, I was messed with by assorted SSgts, they did not like me for coming and going into the USMC, in and out, still a LCpl. Oki was a vacation for me I said. They tried to give me 10 duty days, be the Duty at the Disbo office, mosquitos there, a sleeping duty 24 hrs. I refused. I got one week confined to the barracks, I violated that, got 2 weeks, same barracks restr. i violated that. A girl Marine asked me to give her a ride to town, I had a motorcycle on OKI. I did give her a ride Lady captain saw me. I later figured out I was set up. I got 30 days CC, At CC a mean black Gunny wanted me to yell Louder!! my first few seconds at CC,, I yelled the best I could, not good enough. I said This is as loud as it gets. He left the room, I soon got checked in to CC, I was 30, a 26 yr old marine confinee showed me the ropes, what we do at CC. I decided to make CC my personal trainer, I ate egg whites, salads, total healthy diet, I lost 15 lbs fast, lost 30 lbs in 30 days. I got down to 155 at CC rock solid, in shape. On my return to duty, another black Gunny, in charge of my barracks, asked me how was CC? I said, Oh man, I lost 30 lbs, In LA people would pay $100,000 to lose 30 or 40 lbs in 30 days! It was great!!" Smoke came out of his ears. The USMC does not like it if you enjoy CC. I made myself a "CC" t shirt, white. You cannot enter the mess hall w a white t shirt unless it has a logo on it, LA Raiders etc. My logo was CC. Soon the same lady Capt, very cute, offered me a general disch, HONORABLE char of svc. I accepted. was on a plae to LA in hrs. To Camp Pendleton to be discharged. I am now retired from City of LA Ca DWP water/Power, good pension, equal to that of a ret LT Col!!!! I bought back my 6 yrs USMC time towards my city retirement. retired at age 59, excellent benefits, IBEW was my Union very strong. I loved CC!!!!!!!!


Anonymous September 26, 2014 12:00 pm (Pacific time)

So over 99% of those who are veterans have had no similar bad treatment, why just that less than 1% have problems? Could it be that the training NCO's and officers simply recognize the need to toughen them up, or discharge them so as not to weaken the military with inferiors?


Tim King September 21, 2014 1:05 pm (Pacific time)

Joe, Wow what a cool surprise, I absolutely remember you and I picture you over in the hangar doing fuel analyzis, hope I remember that correctly, I think you were also a friend of David Ortiz, who was also a good friend of mine. I appreciate your comment so much, and your life after the Corps and before is utterly fascinating, please feel free to drop me a line if you get a chance, you can reach me at globalnewscentre@gmail.com and on Facebook I am TimKing/reporter, I am glad to hear from you!


Cpl Joseph Radzinski September 20, 2014 5:44 am (Pacific time)

I was a criminal.I shot a guy and he refused to press charges.He was afraid I would kill him.I then got drunk and ran a person over on a motorcycle intentionally. The judge was going to send me to jail. My lawyer convinced him to let me do four years in the marine corps. I was given a youthful offender conviction. It doesn't bar you from joining the Marine Corps. I was a bad kid, I grew up in the North Bronx and Yonkers NY.  I went in the Marine corps. I went to boot camp in Parris island. First battalion.They assigned me to a platoon.The drill instructors were sadistic idiots.The pour the bleach in the shower and turn the hot water on and PT you types. Make you stand at attention and punch you in the stomach. Put your web belt around your neck and drag you down the squad bay types.

I couldn't do pull ups. They sent me to PCP. They showed me how to do a "Kip". Result ten pull ups.I go right back to my platoon. I went to the field for training. They break you into fire teams. This was out on an old airfield in parris island. After lights out they collapsed our shelter half tent and beat us. That way we couldn't ID them. After the field we marched back. They put wisk in the garbage cans.You clean your M-16 in them to get ready for inspection. The drill instructor put a recruit up to punching me in my back. I turned around and he "What you gonna do now?" I walked out and sat on the steps. They called the MP's. They locked me up. Off to CCP I went. I go before Lt. Colonal Ron Christmas the next day. He gives me 7 days in the CCP platoon. BUT he did it like a gentleman. He said don't give up. I told him if he put me back in that platoon I was going to kill that drill instructor. At that time of my life I was very capable of doing it.

He sent me to CCP and had me transferred to a platoon in 2nd battalion.I sailed right through the training.Those DI's were excellent.I graduated went to heavy equipment repair school.I went to Okinawa.I rotated to the US and went to el toro.MWSG-37.I made corporal.I was a mechanic in Tafds.I knew Tim King.I was one of his NCO's.He was a OK marine.He just got the Belt fed version of the Butt banging the corps did to people.I was real familiar with the process. It happened to me. I did my four and got out honorably.I went to school.I graduated. I joined the DIA. I went to AFETA for training at Camp Peary Virginia,then to Harvey point north Carolina. From their I went to JOC (Jungle operations Coarse) in Fort Sherman Panama. Thats run by special forces.  

I served on the Thai Cambodian border. I was assigned to the Chanthiburi Trat task force with the Royal Thai Marines. I conducted operations aganst the PAVN (Peoples army of Vietnam). Not directly. I was laison to the KPNLF at SokSan (Site E) refugee camp.I also dealt with the Kymer Rouge at Site K. I was assigned to the US embassy Bangkok Thailand.I didn't like it. I resigned. I went back to NY and became a cop. I made detective in two years.Sergeant in six. I was involved in four shooting incidents, six car wrecks and was hit by a car. I retired. The marine corps changed my life. I 
learned honor, loyalty, self determination and many other things that helped me survive some of the worse moments of my life. There is no room for idiots in the recruit training arena. Should I ever run into those drill instructors they will be in for a rude awakening. Not for what they did but for violating their oath. The drill instructor creed. 

Semper Fi Tim.


Johnny June 18, 2014 7:21 pm (Pacific time)

Interesting story. I was MWSG 37 WES 37 at El-Toro 1984 to 1985. I have a story of abuse by my NCO's while in Korea when I was with 7th Communication Battalion, Okinawa, Japan. The Platoon Leader and other Officers and NCO's knew about and did nothing. Except transferred me from Korea back to Okinawa. Ruined my military career. So I know the feeling about Bad NCO's and Officers in the Marine Corps.


RT February 10, 2013 6:42 pm (Pacific time)

I was at Parris Island in '66 Drill Instructors caught a turd eating Sugar Crisp one night and said he could take the DI punishment or go to Motivation. We already saw what the guys looked like who went to Motivation and they sure didnt want that but you didnt know what "games" the DI was going to play. DI told him to get his Sea Bag and all his 782 gear and leave out the bottle of Bo Peep ammonia. He put him in the deep sink, opened the bottle of ammonina, had him put his field jacket on , cover and helmut...shut the door and left him in there all day. He opened the door about lights out, paraded him in front of the plt and said, "Let this be a a lesson to you turds...dont ever lie to me again".... What a group


TC December 23, 2011 5:06 pm (Pacific time)

I was in the air force in the 80s I was 20 minutes late to a commanders meeting I had been sick this started a chain of write ups they wore me down first it took them about 3 months but they put me in cc alone for a month it was pretty bad they didn't hit me though worked me alot left me alone for a very long time sometimes a lot of mind games it wasn't too nice they would stand you out side so people could see the bad guy a lot of other things the treatment was bad when out of cc I was threatened with 6 months and a bc discharge if I didn't act perfect over a year later the officers figured out I had been set up they gave me a stripe and apologized it would have been nice if the looked into it before they tore me apart for 16 months the tsgt that caused me this trouble was not allowed promotion or re enlistment because of this I got some justice not much they offered me a fourth stripe to stay but I got out I was very lucky I knew many like me and most got bad discharges or worse I would have to say don't enlist in any service its too corrupt if someone in power doesn't like something about you you're done I had a good record before this and after but still it didn't stop a bad sgt from harassing me for well over a year it just got so ridiculous they had to stop it.

Tim King: Thank you so much for sharing that, I find the experiences of people in the other services very interesting, only you weren't even guilty as it turns out, that is obviously all the worse.  I was guilty of being late that first time but the severity cuts our chances of even improving ourselves.  Again, much appreciated.  


Bob March 31, 2011 10:56 am (Pacific time)

Tim, Just a great story. I was in the Corps 20 years before you and the last place you wanted to be was in a Marine brig (red Lined in my day). You did good, brother. Mutiny! There are leaders and there are assholes. The knuckleheads running the CC were in the latter category. The LA Times would have had one hellava story. Semper Fi


Anonymous March 31, 2011 9:11 am (Pacific time)

I dont care if people believe this or not, I have researched it for over 20 years, and all my research is spot on. Henry Kissinger is a very powerful elite/globalist, that has extreme power in western policy. Henry Kissinger, called those in the military, cannon fodder. The military is NOT fighting for our security, or to spread democracy, the military is fighting for the globalists to control the world and steal other countries resources. PERIOD. WAR is a scam. If you would turn off your tv and actually do some research, it would become blatently clear. War is a scam to make the elite more rich and powerful. Look around, its freekin obvious. Bombing Libya is even more proof. Humanitarian reasons? Iraqis are giving birth to deformed babies because of the D.U. so will those in Libya. Humanitarian reasons, kiss my rear end. Tim still has a bit to learn, but he is on the right track.


Anonymous001 March 29, 2011 1:10 pm (Pacific time)

I was in the Air Force, but had a good friend in the Marines who told me about a guy who drank bleach due to the duress he felt during basic training. The drill sergeant kicked him across the face and gut, laughing and let him suffer for an hour before finally calling the medics. I thought that was bizarre, as I had nothing but positive experiences in the AF.


Tony Moyletti March 29, 2011 10:02 am (Pacific time)

Say I went to the "Raider" training program with the 82nd , then later to Ranger School. I don't know Stiles, but he certainly was not demeaning Rangers, for he said he went to Ranger school: "Raider School." It no longer exists. It made Ranger School seem like a walk in the park." He is correct on this in my opinion. Raider school was very intense, very primitive, and far more difficult than Ranger school. The Raider training was nothing similar to prior Raider Units, it was a training program, as was the Ranger school during the 1960's. It was very common during my time period in the military to go to Ranger School usually right after Jump School if you were an officer. Most graduates at that time did not go to a specific Ranger unit. If you were enlisted going to special training programs like Pathfinders, Jumpmaster School, Raider training (only with 82nd) allowed one's application to Ranger school to go to the top of the list. At this time we also had the beginnings of HALO, which was at Smoke Bomb Hill (Special Forces)Fort Bragg, NC. It's goal in around 1965 was to be able to jump a battalion from north of 30,000 feet and for them all to land within an area the size of a football field. Congress whittled down the funding in 1966 as Vietnam picked up in size and scope. I have tremendous respect for anyone who went thru the 82nd's Raider training. The last thing prior to graduating was to tear off a chicken's head and to drink the blood. If you had gone thru this program you would understand that final act. Less than 25% finished that training (and all trainees were airborne and in great condition), and that's why it closed down, for they were not going to make it easier. That is what happened to LRRP training in Vietnam, standards for training were reduced and casualties went up. Seems reducing standards has been a very serious problem in not just the military. Anyway sorry about your problems in the Marines, but glad you stuck to it and served honorably. No one likes a quitter.

Tim King: Damn Tony, that sounds like a Hell of a place, thanks for explaining.  


A real "girly story" March 29, 2011 8:09 am (Pacific time)

Thought I'd share my "girly story". I'm leaving out most of the smaller details, for sake of brevity, and the lengthy space it would take to recount ugly truths about the specifics of the abuses I experienced at the hands of a few military veterans, in my own life.

I also have military veterans in my life, two daughters (1 is a 'step') and a step-son, who are now (all three) wonderful parents.

My "girly story":

I'm a "baby-boomer". I had a military veteran (WW II) step-father who beat me from the age of three to twelve. He was a college grad and a BIGTIME jock. He was a college basketball star, and was later picked up by a minor league baseball team around 1950 or so. He taught high-school history for a few years, and then sold pharmaceuticals for some of the big pharma companies. My mother got him out of our lives when I was twelve, after she found my backside bruised from my shoulders to my knees, due to his having "disciplined" me with his wooden shoe-horn for my forgetting to dump the garbage after school. I knew the shoe-horn very well for years prior.

My father was an active active duty Navy pilot most of my childhood (birth to fourteen). He abused me when I was nineteen [on a camping trip on my birthday while I was asleep in my sleeping bag]. I fled into the night, at the resort we were camping at. Some very kind people called the police. He wrote a four page letter trying to explain why he did what he did, and left it on my apartment door. It was there when I got home. I returned home many hours after the incident; after spending the rest of the prior night and most of the next day under observation, sedated by a doctor from the rural community where my father had taken me camping as a "birthday:" outing. He would have gone to jail for his assault on me if I had NOT decided to NOT press charges. He was a grade-school teacher (at the time) and for many years in Washington state; where he retired from his job.

My daughter, at 17 years 2 months (in August 1994) was the youngest US female known to get her Airborne wings. She was also the "keeper of the coins" for her jump group at Ft. Bragg. She was commissioned as an Army officer in 1996, after two years on the "fast track" at Kemper Military Academy in Army ROTC. She was nineteen. A Colonel at Ft. Lewis (WA) told me she had what they called "hairy ovaries". She did her Army time, and is now a homemaker with children.

My step-daughter (who I raised from 1990 to 1996) did ten years in the Army (1997-2007), once to Iraq. She is going to nursing school now on the GI Bill. She installed computer networks while in the service, the last one she did was for the top General at Ft. Lewis.

One step-son just retired after 20 years in the Air Force.

My ex-spouse )of seventeen years, 1974 to 1990) was a US Marine. He served twice in Vietnam. Was sent to Guantanamo in '61 during the missile crisis. [ I lived at Gitmo in 68-69-70 as my father, then a Commander, was assigned to the Naval Air Station-Gitmo]. My ex went straight from the Marines, in 1966, to work for Continental Air Services out of Laos. He had completed a degree in psychology at Univ. of Maryland, while in the Corps. Psyh Ops was his "specialty". For Continental he monitored inbound flights of rice, arms and people, and outbound flights of drug contents for "the Customer". Later, in 1989 he was hospitalized by the VA in Portland, Oregon for mental health problems, he was fantasizing about killing me and our five children; Diagnosis by VA: PTSD. I had to arm up, and place my children with other families for their safety until I could relocate where he couldn't easily find us until I divorced him.

The moral to this short-version "girly story" is that all kinds of people serve in the military. Some go in abusive, and come out abusive. Some go in with a need to overcome self-esteem problems, and come out with "military egos". Some go in humane and come out humane.

I was prepared for life by my childhood of physical and psychological abuse from the age of three to nineteen by two ex-military father-figures; which was later followed by psychological and physical abuse by my ex-Marine spouse for about an equal number of years. All the abuse (and the only abuse) I have experienced in my life was at the hands of US military veterans, one ex-Marine, two ex-Navy. None ever apologized. Two are deceased, now.

I came out on the other end of all their abuses very thankful, for it prepared me for many things later in life, especially after I entered my mid-thirties. One thing I know, I was MOST definitely cut out for the military, probably better than any of my ex-military “abusers”. They served for many less years in the military between them, all total, than I served their need to abuse. Adding it up, I served under the control of ex-military individuals for over 27 years.

I think my daughter inherited her “hairy ovaries” from me. I am a survivor. I have no need to harm others just because I was 'harmed' by quite a number of military-styled abuses. I sucked it up and went on. I am now, in an odd way, "the keeper of the coins" for my troops of fifteen grandchildren. Who knows how many of them may serve by choice or conscription in the US military? I was able to "hold up under pressure", I sure they will, if they must.

Tim King: I was hoping people would take the opportunity to share stories like this, and the others, and I appreciate it.  I am twice as glad that you were able to negotiate those challenges that no human being could ever really be prepared for.  It is no wonder that your children have turned out to have a great degree of success in their lives; sometimes the worst environment can bring out the best people, I'm thankful for that too.  


David Dehart March 29, 2011 5:00 am (Pacific time)

Tim: Things we experienced at Parris Island Basic Training in 1968 just after the Tet Offensive. 1- After lights out in the third Battallion at 10pm, one or more hours of PT, physical and mental torture such as being beat with winter glove covered fist in the head and kidneys. Beat with a swagger stick. Made to stand or sit in contorted body positions without moving. Whack, whack. Wallowing in body fluids left on the painted cement deck. Wall locker torture, blowing cigar smoke in after you were locked in it. Smacking our ears with an open hand. (hard). Putting our thumbs in an open bolt of an M-14 rifle. (mangled thumb). Drink thick tobacco juice from a canteen cup, ect. Tim, on a Sunday night in the 1950's a DI was drunk, took his platoon out into the swamp and some recruits drown. At his Court Marshal CHESTY PULLER testified "if I had such an unruly platoon I would have done the same as this DI. The DI "walked". I barely escaped going to the motivational platoon, they always come back with sewage covered utilities that had to be burned. A recruit in the the next rack was sent to Correctional Custody for mailing a letter for a recycle who was kept in the mop closet for 8 or 10 days. The Sargent who was torturing the recycle was facing a court marshal when I left the Island heading to ITR. BUZZDAV@YAHOO.COM

Tim King: Holy crap Dave, that is the thing, I think I had it bad and then consider how much worse it was for those who came before me.  Sounds like a book in the making, thanks for writing!


Colli March 29, 2011 4:24 am (Pacific time)

Stiles: Are you saying that the thought of spending years in Levinworth rather than being a productive human being wouldn't make your stomach clench? Gee, unbelievable!


Ralph A. Perez March 28, 2011 3:00 pm (Pacific time)

Tim, Very well put. It was for reason like that, is why I got out of the Corps. I too was a shit bird, only because I took no crap. I had every thing it took to make a good Marine,but kissed no butt. I have stories as ulgy as yours. The ugliest was being a Lejeune and El Toro and my state of health now. I guess they got the last laugh.


Stiles March 28, 2011 1:43 pm (Pacific time)

I don't understand why they just didn't seperate you from the service, and give you a bad conduct discharge.

 Tim King: I never did anything to justify their giving be the big chicken dinner.  Many of my friends received this discharge.

When I was in, the draft and Vietnam were going on, but if we had people other's could not trust to hold up under pressure, they were usually put into jobs that were more or less crap details, and kept away from team-orientated MOS's that involved life/death scenarios. Those who acted out like you were kicked out. Did you ever play any team sports?

 Tim King: I was on my high school surf team.  I also ran track.

My high school football coach was a former drill instructor and he rained all kinds of crap on us, but for those of us who came out on the other end were very thankful for it did prepare us for many things later in life. I had gone through special training while with the 82Abn Div, called "Raider School." It no longer exists. It made Ranger School seem like a walk in the park. Some people are just not cut out for the military, so it is unfortunate that you had that experience, but frankly sounds like pretty minor stuff and an over-reation on your part.

Tim King: Thanks for the sensitivity.  I am considering the suggestion, but I know there were Marines who were treated differently in other squadrons.   

My guess is that most Marines who would offer their opinion on your girly story will not be posted, and that's understandable. I mean who cares outside of those who have never been in the military and those who have attitude problems and never did well in the service. I mean this guy posted he won't be able to unclench their stomach for a day or so. Gee, unbelievable.

Tim King: Well you're just kind of a charmer aren't you?  You were in Raider school (Marine Raiders were disbanded after WWII) and you insult the Amy Rangers?  I think you're blowing smoke and I have friends who are Rangers and they are bad ass dudes..  Time to set the bottle down and think about your little rants.  You sound like a complete and total asshole.  


Colli March 28, 2011 8:16 am (Pacific time)

Wow, now that was an awakening I didn't expect. Great article Tim. My stomach should unclench itself in a day or so!

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