I arrived at MCRD in Sept. 1949, having traveled from my home in Carson City, Nevada. I was one of only eight men in the receiving barracks. The next morning we were marched to get a total buzz cut. Back to the barracks for more abuse. We were then told to fall in and we all rushed outside.

The assistant D.I. came around and with a marker wrote a number on our chests. The trouble started when I was marked with the number "one." Then the drill instructor, SSgt. Richard Pryor, instructed us to answer up when our name was called. He called my name first, and I smartly answered, 'UP."

He stopped, glared at me and came over to me almost with his nose in my face, demanding to know if I was a clown, a comedian or an idiot—maybe even a smart-ass. I was petrified and had absolutely no idea what he was talking about, and figured he meant I should shout very loud and clear when told to answer up. He then proceeded to give me another chance. I screamed out with all the lung power I could muster, "UP."

The guy went ballistic. He stormed over to where I was standing at attention, called me a few more choice names, and told me to assume the "parade rest" position. Having done that, he told me to bend over and proceeded to kick me in the ass so hard I must have sailed forward about 10 yards. I still didn't get it and wondered why the crazy son-of-a-bitch was doing this.

It was only when he called the next guy by name and he answered "here" or "present" or something like that that I began to get it. I don't think I have ever felt dumber in my life. However, I answered exactly as he instructed.

I survived Chosin and the rest of Korea and came home to end my career as a college instructor at San Francisco City College. I even ask my students to answer up when I call their names. So far, no one has repeated my dumb response in the Corps.

Semper Fi!