Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sir, Yes, Sir.

In the summer of 1985, I decided to follow a friend, who followed his brother, into the United States Marine Corps as a reservist. For those who do not know, Marine reservists experience the same basic training (boot camp) as regular, enlisted recruits. The first night of boot camp was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. After a long day of signing paper work, invasive physical exams, and interminable waiting at MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) somewhere in the Los Angeles region, I was bused with other recruits to San Diego. Upon arrival at the dead of night, a Drill Instructor (DI) boarded the bus and barked, “YOU ARE NOW AT THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORP RECRUIT DEPOT AT SAN DIEGO. THE FIRST AND LAST WORDS OUT OF YOUR MOUTH WILL BE SIR, YES, SIR. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!”

We instinctively yelled back, “Sir, Yes, Sir.” The DI then yelled at us to get off the bus and stand on yellow foot prints on the ground. A host of other DIs met us where we stood and yelled directly into our faces in rapid fire as we stood on the foot prints just before our hair being completely shaven from our heads. I think the fact that this took place during the late evening made this extremely disorienting. I did not sleep at all that night. I wanted to contact the lawyer I did not have to get me out of the there.

Whenever I get together with fellow Marines, we never fail to exchange endless boot camp stories. For non-Marines click on this link of the movie The Boys in Company C to get a small sense of the greeting Marine recruits receive at Parris Island or San Diego. Viewer discretion advised.

Con Safos


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Not only in Berkeley or in East Los Angeles—also in Oxnard

The LA Times printed today the informative column of Hector Tobar on the Chicano Moratorium protest march of August 29, 1970. The piece highlighted Rosalio Muñoz’s organization of the protest and the exhibition commemorating this historical event at the Mexican Cultural Institute next to Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles. Check it out. Both the column and exhibit.

Tobar concludes his essay by writing, “‘One tourist who went there recently told Muñoz: ‘I thought these things only happened in Berkeley.’ No ma'am, he answered. They also happened in East Los Angeles.”

So, anti-war protest occurred in many communities, one of them in the City of Oxnard. Twenty-two days later, on September 20, close to 1,000 Chicanos and Chicanas and their supporters also protested the Vietnam War by taking it to the streets. Organized by persons such as Ricardo Carmona, Roberto Flores, and other Brown Berets, the people of Chiques listened to the anti-war speeches of Muñoz, Blase Bonpane, Roberto Aliasa, and others.

Con safos