WALB dives into the rich history of Parris Island - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

WALB dives into the rich history of Parris Island

During WALB News 10's Re-Essa Buckels trip to the Marine Recruit Depot on Parris Island, South Carolina, she learned on the importance of the island, and why bootcamp is held there. (Source: WALB) During WALB News 10's Re-Essa Buckels trip to the Marine Recruit Depot on Parris Island, South Carolina, she learned on the importance of the island, and why bootcamp is held there. (Source: WALB)
Parris Island Museum Narrator, and retired Marine Aulton Kohn (Source: WALB) Parris Island Museum Narrator, and retired Marine Aulton Kohn (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
Parris Island, SC -

We learned more about WALB News 10's Re-Essa Buckels trip to the Marine Recruit Depot on Parris Island, South Carolina.

While there, she received a history lesson on the importance of the island, and why bootcamp is held there.

"Now the youngest person to come through Parris Island was Dan Bullock," said Parris Island Museum Narrator, and retired Marine Aulton Kohn.

He was referring to a 14 year old who went to Vietnam and was killed at the age of 15.

"A lot folks say how did that that happen, number one he was large for his age, number two he altered his birth certificate," remarked Kohn.

Kohn explained the Marine Corps didn't find out about it, until they made an official visit to his home to tell his parents he was killed.

Now, there's an intense recruiting process in place to make sure recruits under the age of 17 don't slip through the cracks.

But Kohn's next story was his very own.

"We got caught in an air shaped ambush, everyone in my patrol got killed except for me and another Marine," recalled Kohn.

His platoon was called the "Walking Dead."

In 1968, he and 35 others were sent to the frontlines in Vietnam.

For 58 days, he waited to be rescued.

"On the 58th day, my 19th birthday, we saw a group of personnel, it turned out to be a unit of green beret," a rescue team, said Kohn.

Museum visitors often asked him how he survived.

His response "the only thing I can say by the grace of God, because it was nothing I did special." 

But he believes his intense training on Parris Island helped him.

A causeway is the only way on and off Parris Island. The island was designated as a Marine Corps Recruting Depot.

The swampy terrain makes it an ideal place for training, and where Marines have been made since 1915.

Nearly 19,000 recruits flock to the base for bootcamp, including Kohn.

"Now my platoon is displayed in the museum, not because I work here, and not because I'm so good looking," remarked Kohn.

Parris Island trains nearly 19,000 recruits each year.

It's also the only place where female Marine recruits are trained.

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