Since we were within a half hour drive Parris Island and I didn’t get a chance to go there in the 70’s, we decided to drive up there and take a little tour of the place.
A little history on Parris Island, it’s right outside of Beaufort, S.C. and is one of two training facilities for the Marine Corps, the other being in San Diego, Cal.. All males that are recruited east of the Mississippi and all females country wide are trained here. If you live in the west you can make a special request to be trained here, they get a lot of these because the recruits father had trained here.
Marines were first stationed here in 1891 when it was a Navel Station, in 1915 it officially became the Marine Corps Recruit Depot and has been used as such since.
Between 1941 and 1945 (WWII) more then 200,000 troops were trained here, during 1952, the Korean Conflict (War) training more then 140,000 troops went through here hitting a peak of 24,000 in March 1952. Today they average 17,00 a year.
First we had to get a pass to enter the base, they have made this much easier then it was right after 9-11, you just need photo ID and current paper work for your vehicle. This is by far the busiest base that we have ever been on, as you’re driving around the base you have to keep an eye out for platoons marching around, since they use the same streets they get the right of way, it was weird watching a full platoon of recruits march pass in full pack while you wait to cross the street.
The museum is on the small side and takes about an hour to go through, there is a short video and two floors of displays. Right as we were finishing up and getting ready to leave everybody started running around screaming that the General was out front, the guy at the front desk grabbed the mike and started announcing over the speaker system that the General was approaching. Turns out the Major General Humble , he was the base commander a few years earlier, had since retired was coming for a visit. Before we could get out the door the lobby was filled with uniforms and people to greet the General, so we just stood in line and greeted the General and his party as they entered.
Our favorite thing was a wall that had pictures of all the celebrities and famous people that have gone through here for training, during WWII they could have called this place Hollywood East, very interesting reading.
If you were to do the 15 mile driving tour you could end up spending the entire day here, but there were so much training going on and platoons marching around we felt a little uncomfortable just wandering around so we decided to save this for another time.
Just a little hint if you decided to join the Marines, do it in the winter, the bugs and 100 temperatures here in the summer would make it much worst.
On the way back to camp we did a little detour to the Sheldon Ruins. This was a church that was built in 1745 and burnt by the British in 1779, then rebuilt and again burned by Sherman in 1865 during the War of Northern Aggression, after that they just left it as a reminder of the war.
Just a weird tree we came across, notice the brick like bark.