(Chuck) 18/?? February, Ogilby Road, CA Boondockers, FB (N32.83543 W114.83350) 440’ . This is how I carry this site in our daily log. The Boondockers reference is about another Escapees BOF (Birds of a Feather) which commonly use this area of the desert. We are members of the Boondockers and are parked with them, but we have so much going on at this time that we have not socialized with them much. Another time we will get to know them better. They are a casual group which seems to respect each others space. The rigs are scattered in the desert. There are easily 50 to 100 yards between rigs. They coffee each morning and socialize each evening at a central campfire. Each can attend as they wish. It is a good arrangement.
We are in a small wash area with Poutney’s and Sheeley”s. Last night we three couples attended a one hour performance of The United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, and the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon. It was a treat to watch their precision marching and the unique silent exhibition movements of the drill team. For many years I was on a drill team of veterans in Manning, Iowa. Our main purpose was at a funeral, to present the flag to a veteran’s survivor, and fire the salute. In addition to that we preformed at Memorial Day, Veterans Day, parades and other social occasions. We always thought we were pretty good, and we were for a bunch of old vets who were still trying to make a living in the real world. Well, enough of that old stuff, these men were very good. This group of 24 Marines executed a series of well calculated movements on the parade field. They carried M-1 Garand rifles with no slings. Their demonstration consisted of many in the air spins of the rifles. Much of the time their close quartered movements were done with “fixed bayonet”. The demonstration included a march in review for the commander of the Yuma Proving Ground and several NCOs’ and local college dignitaries. The final movement was a unique inspection of the ranks. Two times the inspector stopped at a Marine and “inspected” his rifle. It consisted of very elaborate spins and tosses of the rifles. Many movements of this performance were behind the back and over the head. The Garand weighs 10.5 pounds and they handled it flawlessly. These men make many performances all over the world during the course of their commitment to this Platoon. In addition to this they are infantrymen as all Marines are.
At the end of the evening the commanders gave inspirational words to the men. The spectators were offered a chance to gather on the field with the men and when they were released they were told to “meet Yuma”. They then individually talked with the people and it was a pleasure to see them interact with the younger children and older folks alike. The evening was rather chilly and wet with a light sprinkle. I don’t think anybody noticed it while these men were on the field.