What does a drill sergeant do if a recruit arrives at the recruiting depot then realizes what he's gotten himself into and refuses to participate and demands to be sent home?

I was drafted in 1953 and took the USAF option. Everybody was motivated because if you failed basic, you went right into the Army and Korea was still iffy.

We had 2 guys drop out. One had an epileptic seizure - the only thing I ever saw panic the DI. The unfortunate man was taken to the hospital and returned just long enough to get his stuff. The other dropout was a capable, married, 19 year old from Montana, He was raised on a ranch and never learned to read and write. Wasn’t too swift on math either. Not sure if they educated him or just sent him home. But, he was gone as soon as we started classes.

From the posts above I gather that it is a different world today.

They always drafted what they needed. Nearly always that was Army because the other services filled up from volunteers for various reasons. Occasionally more Marines were needed.

When I enlisted in the late 80’s, you had to pass a reading test equivalent to an 8th grade level. I recall we had one young man who failed it and they gave it to him three more times until he finally passed it. Not sure what job he was assigned, but I imagine it wasn’t more challenging than food service or supply.

Those of you disparaging the character Gomer Pyle must have never watched the show. Gomer was naive, a hick, etc. but for all intents and purposes was a hell of a soldier. In many episodes, Gomer saved Sergeant Carter’s ass in front of the brass. The portion of Forrest Gump when he goes to Vietnam is patterned after Gomer Pyle. Forrest received the Medal of Honor for saving most of his platoon, including Lieutenant Dan!

Speaking of Gomer Pyle, I miss Jim Nabors singing at the Indy 500. It’s just not the same without him.

Semper Fidelis, Jim Nabors. You made Gomer Pyle one helluva Marine.

We are talking about the movie Full Metal Jacket, which has the character Leonard Lawrence. He is nicknamed Gomer Pyle by the bullying drill instructor. And that character really is a dangerously incompetent moron.

DSs give everyone nicknames. They called me “college,” even though there were actually six people with degrees in my unit. I happen to have a really good memory for random facts, and in the days before you could pull out a Smart phone and look something up, if a DS wanted to know some random fact, they’d ask me, and I never failed them.

Once they brought a TV into the barracks, because there was a sporting event people wanted to see (more to the point, I think, the DSs wanted to see it, so they acted like they were giving us a special treat. I went to bed early); it was the stupid “superbowl,” which I know is football just because I once had a roommate who liked that stuff. Never seen an episode myself-- anyway, there was an episode of Jeopardy on, and I knew literally (yes, NOT figuratively) every answer. People were staring at me like I’d just fallen from another planet. I didn’t know which teams were playing in their “superbowl,” but I knew what the Bayeux Tapestry was, and what SCUBA stood for (those are the only things I remember, but it was actually a pretty easy show that night).

No one escaped without a nickname, though, and I got off pretty easy.

I’ve always had a crazy memory; I could never be on Jeopardy, though, because as soon as the camera came on, I’d turn to stone.

Believe it or not, you forget the entire setup is there, about a minute after they lead you to your podium. It’s that easy to get caught up trying to play the game. Mastering the clicker…is not quite as easy. The very short interplay with Trebeck seemed really long though.

Great nickname story. It sounds much less harrowing for you than it might’ve been for other people. I’d heard the ideal was for the drill instructor to look at you at graduation and ask, “Who the hell are you and why are you in my formation?”