Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island --
Approximately 20 former members of 2nd Recruit Training Battalion gathered at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island S.C. June 6, 2019 to share memories of when they attended recruit training in 1955.
The group has reunited several times in the past, but this year’s reunion was the first to be held at the depot.
“This has become a labor of love for me,” said former Sgt. Al Pasquale, the program coordinator for the reunion. “I should have been a travel agent,” he joked.
Also in attendance were eight current drill instructors from 2nd Recruit Training Battalion.
“It was great to see the two generations of Marines interacting and telling stories from both generations,” said Sgt. Maj. John W. Schlaud, 2nd RTB sergeant major. “It showed once you’re a Marine, you’re always a Marine.”
Pasquale planned the reunion to rekindle friendships and reminisce about past experiences. He was impressed with the turnout at the gathering, but said the real win came when he got in contact with his old drill instructor, retired Sgt. Maj. Francis T. McNeive.
“I’m very grateful for him,” Pasquale said “He’s a very important part of my life.”
McNeive was a drill instructor on Parris Island from 1954 to 1956 and then again from 1960 to 1962. He served in the Korean War at the Chosin Reservoir, serving a total of three decades in the Marine Corps.
McNeive said the future of the Marine Corps is in the hands of the newest generation of Marines, but encouraged those Marines to continue the legacy by passing down traditions and knowledge to the men and women who follow in their footsteps.
“I spent 30 years in the Marine Corps,” McNeive said. “And it went by too fast.”
Pasquale said that the Marine Corps has changed and adapted to the current era but has remained the same at its core.
“The Marine Corps gets better as time goes on,” Pasquale said. “The one thing that hasn’t changed is the discipline, and that’s what makes a Marine.”
Pasquale added he doesn’t know the next time he’d see any of the Marines again, but he wanted to make sure he broke bread with them one more time.
“This could be the last one,” Pasquale said. “God knows how many years we have here on this earth.”