Marine Corps Boot Camp

Angor Watt Cambodia September 2013
Angor Watt
Cambodia
September 2013

If I were to tell you I wasn’t scared I would be lying.   The gym was about one quarter filled with sleeping cots lined in perfect rows as we filed in one by one. “Welcome home ladies” the stocky young drill instructor facetiously barked as we entered the cavernous room.   “Home”for the next day or two was “Dan Daily Recieving Barracks” the infamous hall, named after a double Medal of Honor winner. A place where each day’s newly arriving recruits  were being pooled together. Awaiting the total of 80 new recruits who would form our “band of brothers” platoon, soon to begin training  together for the next 56 days.  One thing that sticks out most in my mind years later were the guys who were panicked by the screaming DI’s. As they rushed to shave and bath cutting themselves in the process, with cheap disposable razors, leaving blood streaming down their faces.

     “BANG BANG BANG”crashed in my ears as blazing lights broke the 5am dark, startling all of us into a groggy consciousness, that first morning in our new quansot hut home.  “What the hell is that”I asked myself as I leapt from my top bunk and snapped to attention on the cold cement floor.   The “that”was our three newly assigned drill instructors. “Gently” awakening their 80 fresh charges to their first full day of platoon life in Marine Corps boot camp by banging axe handles on trash can lids.  What an introduction to life as I would come to know it for the next 8 weeks.
      There was a war going on in Vietnam and these DI’s didn’t want any Marine’s blood on their hands because they hadn’t done their job.   Their assignment was to take these raw recruits and tear them down, both physically and mentally. This was their task during the first few weeks of training and then build them back-up—transforming the young boys into hardened Marines—the toughest fighting corp of men the world has ever known.
   Marines are also famous for their ability as professional sharpshooters and “snapping in” is the training that makes this happen.  The course consists of two intense weeks of specialized training carried out at Camp Pentelton the big Marine Base about 35 miles north of MCRD, San Diego.   Qualifying with the M-14 rifle was the goal and duty of every young Marine who goes through recruit training. These two weeks had been nervously anticipated by us all.  However, I did not expect what was to follow.
    “See me in the duty hut after chow” Sargent Stucker growled at me and private Calloway as we stood in line single file waiting to eat dinner.  Our crime— whispering back and forth in line—a big no no and we were busted.   “Oh shit” I thought as we entered the duty hut. As there we unfortunately found each of our squad leaders and our platoon leader—not a good sign.  Of our three DI’s Sargent Stucker was the platoon “hit man” with a well earned reputation. He was a real sadistic bastard and this night he would not disappoint.
    “OK privates so you like to talk?”  Stucker said,  “So start talking. And while they’re talking you other three pukes jump up on these lockers and hang by your elbows until there done”.   I’m not sure just how long they hung onto those 8 ft. high steel lockers. Calloway and I continued our forced little chat while they hung there with their hands clasped behind their heads, the locker’s top edge cutting into the backs of their upper arms. But it was sure long enough for them to start groaning and moaning before Stucker finaly gave the order to “drop to the floor”.
    My squad leader, Dan Kniezel, was a bad ass, good ole boy from Waco, Texas, but there was nothing good about the look in his eye as he glared up at me. As I stood at attention, he sat in a crouched position, sweat pouring off of his flushed and reddened face.  “They’re  all yours”,  Stucker grinned.  With his release given, Kniezel swung from the ground up—SMACK— hitting me full force and flush against my face. His open hand knocking me backward as I spun a complete 360 over the DI’s desk in front of which I was standing.   I rose slowly shaking my head while thinking “just another  day of fun and games in Marine Corps boot camp”.
    The time was 1966 and the Vietnam War was really heating up. Over the years I have often thought of how many of these strong young kids, who I would never see again— ages 17 to 23—ended up in Vietnam and what then was their fate?   Wounded or killed in action?   We all believed in the mission and the honor of the Corps—just a “band of brothers”—80 young guys molded together by 56 days of sweat, pain and fear. Guys who believed in America and who were just trying to do their very best for the country that they loved.
More lessons from the Marine Corps—-
The first time I said “I think I am getting too old for this” I was probably about 25.   Too old for what you ask?    Too old for Christmas stockings hung by the fireplace or too old for running up a long flight of stairs on his way to the 5th floor.  Is this a question to be asked of a person growing out of adolescence or one thinking like an old man aging before his time.    In this case the truth be known I was actually a young person thinking like an old one. This weak attitude was driven by an unwanted thick layer of fat which had  settled in around my belly for the first time in my still young life, brought on by the usual suspects of too many calories and too little exercise.
      Look here’s the point—I was out of shape and over weight thereby justifying in my mind the feeling that I was already too old to participate in certain activities which I perceived to be beyond my age related capabilities.   In other words I was just being plain lazy.    The truth is that many of us can always find a reason to not do something which we feel is too uncomfortable.   This is a mind set born out of an attitude that looks for an excuse not to do something rather than a mind set that says I can do anything given enough time and determination.
    The Marine Corps, I learned at 23, is a great example of a place where you are pushed to do things you never thought possible.   Boot camp drill instructors are trained to push their young recruits, both mentally and physically, to go far beyond the places where their preconceived notions of  their current abilities could ever take them.    I remember thinking I can’t do another push-up or march another step until the extreme fear of the DI’s painful retribution moved me forward to new previously unimagined levels where I never thought I could go.
    Transferring the drill instructor’s skill of meeting and overcoming the impossible, would prove to be the key to conquering future challenges in life that would have otherwise been for me impossible.  I have oftentimes thought back, when facing difficulties,  to the visual image of the drill instructor saying “we’ve been trained to know your ultimate limits and that’s where we’re goig to push you”.  This instilled in me the fact that what ever it was I thought I couldn’t do, be it physical or mental, I was wrong.

Acting like you’re 40 when you’re really 71—

Preparing to jump 40' to the water below at 71 y.o. Costa Rica May12,  2014
Preparing to jump 40′ to the water below.
Costa Rica
May12, 2014
Nauyaca Falls Costa Rica May 12, 2014
Nauyaca Falls
Costa Rica
May 12, 2014

Jumping off a 40′ cliff  at 71 can be like discovering the Fountain of Youth,  especially when you hit the water.

Thinking to myself  “if once again I was 40 years old I too would be jumping off  that 40′ cliff”.   I sat on the rocks  about 20 yards across the water from the famous Nauyaca  Waterfall in Costa Rica.   Watching my fearless 30 something classmates leaping into the water 40′ below,  my mind was made up.    I thought to myself “Hell yes you can do that”.  I had actually made a similar  jump 35 years before on a white water rafting trip on the Stanislas river in California.   Having  just hiked a challenging 4 miles up a steep, hot, and dusty trail to reach these beautiful but isolated falls I hadn’t  intended to jump—but then I changed my mind, “why should I deny myself the fun,” I thought  “just because your 71?”   “I can do anything I put my mind to and this is no different.”   I had given my swimming trunks to my new friend Jarrett, after his trunks had split on a daring 65′ plunge  from the very highest point—so here I was stuck with only my underwear.    “No problem” I thought as I pealed off my shorts and entered the cooling water swimming toward the cliff.

Water splashed annoyingly in my face as I strained on the rope to pull my heavy, water soaked body up the face  of the falls.     I was concerned that my feet might give way on the slippery rocks sending me crashing to the hard surface below.   Two thirds of the way up our guide asked me if I wanted to jump from there—“Hell no” I said, wanting only the top.   Finally with one last powerful effort I reached the summit  carefully picking my way to the spot from which I would leap.  Yes, looking down, I was nervous but honestly speaking the worst was now behind me.   I took a deep breath and hurled my body out into space away from the cliff as far as I could go.    SPLASH—it was over and I was fine, happy that I hadn’t given into my unfounded fears.   “Now that’s how a 71 year old man acts like a 40 year old guy” I satisfactorily  thought to myself.    Forty eight  years later my Marine Corps training had once again paid off.

 

 

 

 

The reasons Why I’m going on 40 at 70—

Elk feeding in the meadow next to my hiking trail at 8300' elevation Evergreen, Colorado April 15, 2014
Elk feeding in the meadow next to my hiking trail at 8300′ elevation
Evergreen, Colorado
April 15, 2014

Would you like a gift of 30 healthy years added to your life?    I can promise you this—that gift is yours for the taking.  You know being 70 but looking, feeling and acting 40 is a super thing.  I, Scott Crosby, am a grandfather of 8 who has lived the last 40 years with no major illness and  always feeling great.   This is the result of 40 years of healthy living  in which I constantly ate nutritiously,  exercised regularly and lived a mostly low stress life.    I am living proof that the way I lived my life really works.   Here is how I did it and how you can too.

It all started with a book I read  at age 27  about how we were designed by God to live to be 120 years of age.   It explained that if we just treat our bodies properly  we can live an illness free life—that the body is it’s own great healer—and you know I found over all these years that that’s really true.   Another thing it said, that really impressed me, was that we could program our subconscious mind by using affirmations.    So I would wake up every morning and repeat this affirmation—“I will live to be 120 years old and I will  feel great every day of it.”   I did this for years and in my mind I still believe it to this day—I believe I still have another 50 healthy years to go.

My path to wellness began in 1972 at about the age of 30.   I went under the dietary  care of Dr. Ed Wagner a cutting edge holistic doctor to the stars in Malibu, California. I followed Ed’s plan religiously for over a year before I adjusted to eating a more moderate diet.   But in that time I developed a solid foundation of healthy and nutritious eating never returning to the “steak and potato” diet of my first 30 years.   With Dr. Ed’s inspiration I began a life long passion for learning about all the facets of healthy living—still listening to different opinions  but following only a carefully selected  few.

I began running  compulsively  10 to 15 miles a week  a year before I discovered my new diet.  Having been forced into “running”, at 23 in Marine Corps boot camp, I had sadly allowed my body to fall into a state of over weight dissipation by age 29. I actually remember the day on the tennis courts at South Pasadena High School being so disgusted with my winded condition that I threw down my racquet, walked a few yards up to the 440 track, and jogged a mile. This I’m happy to say was literally the first day of 40 years of continuous vigorous exercise which I now credit with being instrumental in the A+ rating I received last year from my cardiologist after giving me an EKG stress test at the age of 70.

After 10 years of only running,  at the age of 40, I also began a rigorous regime of resistance training which I continued, along with the  cardiovascular training, for the next 30 years.   During that time I reaped the benefits of intense resistance training coupled with high intensity interval training which provided me with a lean, strong and muscular body, exceptional for my age, for many years to come.

Is feeling healthy and strong every day a way you would like to live  the rest of your life?  If you’re like I was, all those years ago, you are now an out of shape 30 something . I enthusiastically encourage you to take my 40 year example.  Start putting “money in the bank” for your future years to come by beginning a program of exercise and healthy dieting today.   Or if your a 70 year old who never  exercised or ate a healthy diet—the  good news is that it’s never too late to start—-you too can begin your new life today.

Finally the last key to healthy living is  keeping a strong positive attitude coupled with a strong spiritual awareness.   You have a choice to make each morning upon awakening— you can choose to be a happy positive person or you can choose to be a negative grump—it’s up to you—the choice is yours—who do you want to be?

Want to learn my secret?    Do I have a grotesque and aging  portrait, like Dorian Gray, hanging in my closet?  No it’s much more fun and exciting than that.     So join me as I share my story of 40 years of fun filled amazing adventure—where I learned about  health, life and God.   Living life like a millionaire only on a simple budget—yet living one rich in experience, relationships and exotic travel.   Experiences that have taught me many of life’s most valuable lessons.   Lessons not  learned in books or school but ones learned in the challenging world of real life and distant travel.  Lessons that provided me with a street wise sense of how to successfully move at will in a foreign land as well as at home—ones that you can only learn on the street of life and in the university of hard knocks.