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Sleepy Recruit

Before lights out we were required to study the Marine manual. All boots were sitting on their foot lockers studying—except me. I was lying on my back on the deck at the north end of the platoon bay.

My fatigue cover was on my head; its bill and the manual were in front of my face shielding my eyes. It looked like I was intently studying. Not so. I had fallen asleep.

I was told later that our DIs had come out of the duty hut, spotted me and then told all the other boots to study as hard as Private Champagne. Fortunately for me, I didn’t snore.

I survived and much later was promoted to sergeant—a rank I will always be proud of. I am and will forever be a United States Marine. I was 22 years old in boot camp and now I’m in my late 80s. I still have and still fit into my uniforms, which I wear for many occasions.

Sgt Joe J. Champagne

Gold Bar, Wash.