Roving Patrol

In 1985, I was a member of “Hotel” Company while attending The Basic School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. We were barracked at Graves Hall.
One evening I was traveling back to base from a night out with my new girlfriend. As we slowly made our way through the Graves Hall parking lot, we passed another second lieutenant walking among the rows of cars. He wore camouflage utilities and a helmet and was carrying a flashlight. My date asked, “What’s that guy doing?”
“Guard duty. He’s the rover. He basically walks around the area to make sure there are no problems—no theft, no vandalism, no emergencies, that kind of thing.”
She seemed fascinated. “How long does he have to walk around like that?”
“Four hours.”
“Four hours! That’s a long time!”
“Yes, yes, it is,” I said. “I had that duty last weekend.”
As we drove past the poor boot lieutenant, she stared at him. “What’s that thing on his back?” she asked.
“Oh, that’s a PRC-77 radio.”
She considered that for a moment, and then offered: “Well, that would help, I guess. Four hours might not be so bad if you can find a good station.”
Jonathan Manis
USMC, 1985-94
Granite Bay, Calif.

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