Losing history, and Thanking Marines
Every day we lose more and more of our individual history as Marines. The Corps has a rich history of our accomplishments, but what about the individual Marine’s history? One of the most important events of your life was the day you graduated Marine Corps boot camp.
Each of us did incredible things during boot camp: the push-ups, 3 miles runs, dealing with crazed drill instructors. Our journey in becoming Marines can be found in the pages of our graduation books and platoon pictures. These books and pictures represent who we are and reaffirm what it took in earning the title U.S. Marine.
These graduation books are getting harder and harder to find. We are doing our best in gather and digitize as many of these books as we can. This in turn offers future generation the opportunity to look back at our time in the Corps through our database. In many cases these books are purchased by Marines and non-Marines alike, then donated to the Yellow Footprints collection. Private collectors also supply listings of books they have on-hand. We take that data and add it to our boot camp database for public viewing.
This site would never have grown to this point if it wasn’t for you Marines and those that support our Corps.
All this is great, but we need more platoon pictures and books, so we need your help?
If you have your graduation book and or platoon picture, please consider providing copies to us so we can digitally store the pages. At the same time, it would allow us to hand out copies, FREE OF CHARGE to any Marine, and or his/her family who asks for them. This is a good thing people, please help if you can
Do you ever wonder why anyone would spend their own money to purchase graduation books, then turn around and donate them?
The following story is about one such person who donates books as her way of saying THANKs for what we do as Marines and to honor her best friend.
I give you the story of Geri Lewis.
This story is about FOUR high school best friends: Geri, Jeff, the future husband to Geri , Dottie, Geri’s sister, and Ken, the Marine. These four did everything together but most of all they took care of each other, an unspoken commitment that would be tested years later.
After high school Ken joined the Marines to do his part in the up and coming war. It was 1963 and Viet Nam was about to break loose. His friends were proud of what he was about to do but at the same time worried he might not make it back. Ken was special to all of them.
Fast forward to Con Thien, Viet Nam..... "hill of angels", 1967..September 21st to be exact.
This day 34 Marines died and well over 100 were wounded. Ken was one of the 34 who died that day in a battle with the NVA. 34 souls had given their lives for God, country, and Corps.
Over the years, Geri thought many times about the desire to help, and honor her Marine friend by thanking other vets in his name. Geri remembered Ken showing her his graduation book while on leave before heading to Viet Nam. Over the years the book was lost, Geri decided to find it. She decided to take on the mission to honor a friend. In her search for the book, she found Yellow Footprints and read about our mission of finding and returning these graduation books to those that had lost them. As in all research, you need information to go on.
Unfortunately, for Geri she could only remember a few bits and pieces of information about Ken’s book. She knew the date he joined, where he went to boot camp (Parris Island), but not his platoon number. The search was on…..
She began purchasing books on E-bay that had graduation dates of 1963, Parris Island in hopes of finding a picture of Ken in his dress blues. For month’s she purchased books to no avail. Every time she accumulate 6 to 8 books that were not the ones she was looking for, she would donate them to the Yellow Footprints collection for give away.
This went on for months, with more than 50 books being donated to the Yellow footprints collection. Although her search so far had not turn up the book she was looking for, she did donate a number of books that other Marines were searching for. Her donations were now being put to good use. A number of her donated books have been returned to Marines who had lost theirs.
During the time Geri was purchasing and donating books, a couple of other missions were taking place. Valerie Shield, and Steve McCrum both Former Marines were on their own missions to collect (inventory) and list books on the East coast. These inventories were then supplied to Yellow Footprints for entry into the boot camp database.
Valerie took on the women Marines training Battalion at Parris Island, while Steve covered the male Marines training Battalions at PI, as well as the Marine Corps museum at Quantico, VA. A mission they both paid for out of their own pockets. Thanks Marines!!
Because of the efforts of these two Marines (Valerie, and Steve) we were able to find Ken’s graduation book, which was located at the Marine Corps Museum at Parris Island. The Marine Corps Museum at PI was asked if it were possible for Geri to scan Ken’s book. She explained the reason why and the museum staff gave their full support. You have to be proud of those Marines at PI. They not only provided a place, but equipment if needed. They understood they were supporting a fellow Marine (Ken), and they gave it 110% effort in doing so. Semper Fi.
Let us back track.
Sometime before Ken’s book was found, Geri picked up on a tip that 1000 Parris Island Series books could be found with a private collector who might be interested in selling. Once contacted the collector provided a listing that showed the collection covered a LARGE number of years (1950 – 1999)
Turns out 350 of the 1000 books had no duplicates and they were for sale……Geri wasted no time in purchasing them: 350 books in all.
After getting the books home she started scanning. She scanned each books DI page and all the recruit dress blues pages AND she scanned ALL 350 books. As she scanned the books we (YFP) would receive updates she would mail to us for data entry into our database.
I do a lot of scanning for the site, but have to say, this took one heck of a person who was committed to going that extra mile in honoring a friend and ALL Marines at the same time. This was more than we could have ever expected. In addition, it gets better.
Now with all those books, she pondered what to do with them next? Geri wrote to me in one email, how about I DRIVE them to California and donate them myself…along with Dotty her sister. Something about shipping cost being too expensive…. so we will just combine a vacation with book delivery. My response, I’ll buy you lunch. Ha ha ha
It took me a couple of days to get over the fact she would do all this to honor a fallen Marine and friend.
On Saturday March 3rd at, or around 11:00 am Geri and sister Dotty did the unthinkable, they delivered 350 Series boot camp graduation books to California. See link for pictures.
As the pictures show, they were not even driving a truck, but a small SUV. Some statistics: 350 books packed in 17 boxes have the combined weight of 739.50 pounds with each box weighing in at 43.5 pounds. In addition, they drove these books from Pennsylvania to Sacramento, Ca !!
There is a Marine (Ken) up there looking down with a smile on his face, you did good Geri, you really did good. Thank you so much.
To those of you that have not taken the time to submit your books and or platoon pictures please remember that many of your brother and sister Marines are looking to get their piece of history back. YOU may have the one thing that brings us all together: the love, and support for our brother and sister Marines. There is nothing like it, it is who we are.
If you have history in your hand, consider sharing it with the world. We can help if need be. You can send your scanned pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks again Geri and thanks to everyone who has already sent in your books, and pictures.
Cpl Miller USMC 1964 - 1970This message has been edited. Last edited by: CplGMiller,
Thank you, Geri, and well done.
I joined the Marines on June 29, 1957, arrived at Parris Island on June 30, 1957, and was assigned to the 1st Recrut trng Bn.. The Co. of that Bn was Lt. Col. O.F. Peatross. The information on my record of service showes me on Oct 4, 1957 still with Recrut trng. On the next line it showes me on Oct 5, 1957 with H&S Co. Infintry trng Bn. Camp Lejeune,Camp Geiger).
There must be a way with all this information that I can find my year book for platoons graduating on Oct 4, 1957 from the 1st recrut trng Bn. with a Co. of that Bn. Lt. Col O. F. Peatross. Anyone that can help please.
Cpl Miller stated if you can find in your records when you left Parris Island, and where you went to you could find your year book. I will be glad to do what ever i have to to help with this project. God's Speed, and Semper Fi.
Larry M. McGrath
Normally there is only one date where your looking. This one date reflects the date you were assigned to advance training. This is the same date we use for your graduation date as well. I haven't seen doc's with two dates but becuase their close together I would say it is your graduation date....Oct 4, 1957.
I need to clarify one thing though, having this information does work to find your book in only one case, that's if you went to San Diego. They keep records that help them find your platoon number using the date you graduated, and knowng your DI's names also can be used.
Parris Island does not keep records in a format that allows them to find you platoon the way San Diego does. At least that's what I've heard.
Because of this we have a section in our database under each year where we list unknown platoon numbers. We post a recruits name in case others from your platoon recognize your name.
As a heads up, if you go to the year (1957), double click on the date(year) ALL platoons for that year will list on your screen. If that helps.
Where do i go find these dates in 1957. Is it on this site or do I go some where else.
The date I was refering to was the date you gave from your military documents. Your graduation date.
Gary, Im sorry fo being such a pest, but I feel I am so close to finding my year book.
You stated " If you go to the year 1957 double click on that date (year) all platoons for that year will list on your screen.
My question is where do I go to the year 1957 and double click on that date ( Year ) Where all platoons for that year will show? Do I go somewhere on this site. Sorry but I am confused, and not very good on computers.
Sorry Larry, I was talking about your military documents you have. I should have directed you to this link:
This takes you to the boot camp database. Scroll down to the Parris Island section, select year. When the screen pops up with the range of years double click the year 1957. This will then listing all platoons listed for that year (1957).
If you need further help you can reach me at:
Congratulations go out to Ronald Marquez of platoon 3041 San Diego, July 1974 for finding his boot camp graduation book in our boot camp database. We are presently scanning the training pages of the book which will be added to his platoon section before we ship the book to him.
According to his email to us, this has made his day, as well as his son's.
Semper Fi Marine
The Yellow Footprints Team
Congratulations go out to Brian Andrus for finding his graduation book at Yellow Footprints for January of 1994, San Diego, Platoon 3073. This is a Series book that is shipping out today.
Another great find, history heading home…..
Congradulations go out to Allen Wilson, we have your graduation series (1028) book which has been scanned and will ship out to you on Monday 4/2/12.
To view Allens Series book along with the training pages please visit the following link:
The Yellow Footprints Team
Lets see if this link works....
Am looking for Platoon 242, MCRD San Diego May 1966 graduation book. Mine got water damaged. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Semper Fi from Sgt Phillips.
Although we did not have your platoon in our database I have since created it for you. You might want o consider posting your contact information in case others from your platoon find the listing....enjoy
your not allowed to publish your personal information on this site. contact Gary at yellowfootprints....This message has been edited. Last edited by: TomHansen,
Thanks Tom, I was going to say something but figured it wasn't my place.
Congratulations go out to Jim Savage.
Congratulations go out to Jim Savage of Series 1064, platoon1064 from Parris Island 1987. Jim found his book in our collection of donated books. This book is one of the recently donated books to our database from a donation of 350 Series books by one donor.
Once we’ve created a digital copy of the training pages and uploaded them to our database the book will be sent to John FREE Of Charge.
Again, congratulation John
i am looking for my platoon graduation book,platoon 373 parris island senior drill ssgt tredell.and platoon picture. all where lost and burn in fire.
What month, and year did you graduate from?
my date of graduation was july 20/1967.parris island..platoon 373 cplgmiller said you needed this.
We've taken the liberty in craeting a platoon section for you in our boot camp database. You might want to consider adding your contact infor (email address) in case others from your platoon find the listing. Let me know if I can of any help here....
Gary,here my email address email@example.com. you said you need this in case some members of my platoon 373 july 20 /1967 parris island see this listing. will you put my email address in the right place,
Congratulations go out to Alfred Trotter of platoon 2200, Series 2200 1986 Parris Island December.
Alfred found his series book in the Yellow footprints database. We are presently scanning the training pages of the book which will be uploaded to his Series section this weekend (5/26).
Another piece of history is heading home……
The Yellow Footprints Team
Congratulations go out to Richard Miller of platoon 1066 Parris Island.
August 1986, Parris Island, Series 1064
A new recipient of a lost boot camp graduation book is getting a piece of his history back thanks to Yellow Footprints.
You can see his series training pages at the following link
This has been a great week so far with two books heading home.
The Yellow footprints team
More graduation books shipping out.
Adding to last weeks book shipment are two more additions.
Kurt Stringfellow of Parris Island 1987 (August) Series 3060
Andre Grant of Parris Island 1987 (Sept), Series 2068
Congratulations guys on getting your history back.
The Yellow footprints Team
Dear Gary I was abl to get more info on my year book.---Plt 185 Date of platoon Picture 9/27/57. Platoons Instructers Sgt. Clark
Can you give me any help now.
Thank you Larry M. McGrath
Where did you go to boot camp PI or SD? We do have a platoon 185 listed for PI that graduated in Feb.
This last week,
has proven to be the most productive in returning these graduation books. This morning we added another Marine who will recieve his book after finding it in the Yellow Footprints collection.
Congradulations go out to Keven Williams of Fruitdale, AL
We'll be shipping his book home next week. For a review of his Series 1048 book check out the folliwng link:
From all of here at YFP it's a pleasure returning your history Marine.
The Yellow Footprints Team
Dear Gary, I'm sure you remember my story. I joined the marines on june 29, 1957, arrived at Parris on June 30,1957 and was assigned to the 1st recruit training Bn. Lost all my papers in a flood of 1972 ( Huricane Agnas). I received a copy of my record of service from the marine archives and it starts with 29 June,1957 Enl & TR, Next Line 1stRtBn 30 June, 1957, Next line 4 Oct 1957, under rec Trng, next 5 Oct 1957 H&S co 1st inf Trng Reg. Camp Lejeune, N. C. So I must Have Graduated on Oct 4, 1957. I wrote to the History Div, and They Show me With Platoon 185 in 1957. You told me Platoon 185 graduated in Febuary 1957, But the date on the Platoon Picture 185 Which they Sent me is Sept 24, 1957.
This Date is very close to when I Think I Graduated. I can not find me in the picture, But I'm 73 years old, and the picture is very old. Does any of this help in finding my year book. God's Speed.
Lawrence M. McGrath 1647092
Would you please email me with your email address so we can follow up on this information. There may be more in your documents you are not seeing.
As for the platoon number and the date of graduation. Both PI and SD re-used platoon numbers but not normally within a year like one in Feb, and another with the same number in the same year.
We have recently found that some of the records you get from St Lous do in deed have your platoon number within the word.
Please reach out to me directly if you would...firstname.lastname@example.org
Admin's, I hope you'll let my email address stand.
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