21august 2020

No Regrets


We stood In ranks that morning cold

In June of forty one

Not knowing what we would be told

Boot Camp had just begun

I had joined the Corps at seventeen

They offered bed and board

And twenty one bucks a month in green

A fortune I could hoard

A depression youth of hunger bred

Seeking solace from that storm,

it was Three square meals, my very own bed

And clothes to keep me warm

Brand new shoes, not hand me downs

And greens of olive hue

A campaign hat with pointed crown

A coat of deepest blue

A Springfield rifle, nineteen aught three

Tin hat and stove pipe pack I

thought this can't be all for free

They're bound to take it back

Two button skivvies, and high top shoes

Square Fields scarfs and Battle Bars

Peter Bain belts and buttonless blues

Blanco, green and khaki in jars

Two man tents, and parade ground drill

And those big three squares a day

Where a hungry lad could eat his fill

And that twenty one, green, in pay

I had never experienced life so fine

Nor owned such worldly things

From Chicago slums, which had been mine

It was like living the life of Kings

Hey what's the catch? I asked that day

It was my first day in the Corps

I laughed, as I heard the Sergeant say

There's gonna be a war

We're going to make a Marine of you

For a civilian you are no more

Childhood days are gone and through

You're now a member of the Corps

They taught me how to shoot and shave

And how to shine my shoes

To handle a boat in crested wave

And hang up clothes with clews

To roll my pack and column right

And how to polish brass

Rear march, rear march, day and night

With methods I thought crass

Inspections, daily troops and drill

Better keep your rifle clean

Pass in Review, oh what a thrill

To this lad of seventeen

I hear the band play Adjutants Call

See Troop Commanders, Post

We stood in ranks, so straight and tall

That's what I miss the most

That cool June morn, I stood there green

So fearful, I could never forget it

The first day of 7300 as a Marine

And I've never had cause to regret it