Be a proud Marine at historic Parris Island Museum

Be inspired, thrilled and for ever humbled at the amazing Parris Island Museum near Beaufort, an 8,000 square feet ode to “The Few.The Proud. The Marines”.

Admission is free and the museum is open daily 10AM – 4:30PM except New Year’s, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. More info (843) 228-2951 or the website.

In front of 1935 Japanese field gun at Parris Island museum

In front of 1935 Japanese field gun at Parris Island museum


You’ll get a pass at the gate by presenting a driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance (pre-registration is available online)

The pass also gives you access to the free Parris Island driving tour, a 15 mile loop, where you can explore memorable monuments like Iron Mike and Iwo Jima, the Bulldog Mascot Cemetery, the Leatherneck Square, where in the summer you can see recruits undergoing hand-to-hand combat training, the Douglas Visitor Center and the St. Helena History Trail.

Just for kids activities: Little ones can earn the “Junior Recruit” title by successfully completing the museum exploration challenge.

Interesting artifacts and enemy captures

• Terrible homemade IEDs, simple yet deadly. The Iraqi “Pressure Plate” was used all over Iraq as a speed bump triggered bomb.

The “Viet Cong Booby Trap” made of a metal spike, a Coke can, wiring and grenade it was usually placed under rice paddies and wetlands. When you stepped on it the spike will penetrate the boot and foot; jerking the foot to get loose will detonate the bomb.

Parris Island Marines Museum

Viet Cong IED - The Boot and Foot Booby Trap

• Soviet designed Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) Sight equipped with night vision.

• A model of a T-72 Iraqi tank, dubbed “Dolly Paton” for the noticeable bulge on its turret from the extra armor added to better protect against direct hits.

• Japanese Occupation Flag – unlike other captured enemy flags inscribed with patriotic slogans, this one looks into the future with a Good Luck message to United States and Japan.

• 17th century sword was among the many weapons given up by Japanese troops in Seoul. The sword was designed by Yoshimichi of Yamato and despite having 18th century fittings it was used through 1945 battles.

• Lucky helmet that saved Paul Hatfield’s life during the Cape Gloucester assault in 1945.

• The humble all purpose towel, became an essential item during Vietnam War. Soldiers used it to dry themselves and their equipment, as pillow, bandage, shoulder cover and scarf.

Just for laughs…

• The Boot Camp cartoons tell a compelling, brutally honest, yet very funny story about the tough life on Parris Island: the food, hair styles, drill instructors, combat training even the mighty sand flea…nothing is spared!

Join the Marines for an exciting adventurous life!

Join the Marines for an exciting adventuruous life!

• Joyful and exciting 1920 Recruiting Poster

• Airmen Blood Chit, a cloth caring a message in English and Korean: “This is a crash-landed U.N. soldier. If you can lead him to the nearest U.N. troops we shall greatly appreciate it”.

• Dreaded MRE package, it came in 24 different meal varieties of about 1,250 calories. The MRE was heated by a flameless ration heater activated by water and meant to last for 3 years.

• Uniform for Pregnant Marines – For a long time being pregnant resulted in immediate involuntary discharge. After 1976 expecting women were allowed to remain in active duty and finally maternity uniforms were issued in 1980.

US Marines Traditions
The Uniform – Although the uniform changed shape, colors and material over the years there are some elements preserved to date:

The Blood Stripe, first used in 1798 now it commemorates the service of men at the Chapultepec battle.

The Quatrefoil, it originated in the 18th century when Marines used a cross-shaped rope on top of their covers to differentiate between friends and foes at rigging.

The Mameluke Sword, were first given as gifts by Turkish viceroy of Egypt during Barbary Wars. Long time ago, Mameluks, slave warriors who fought for Moslem overlords used this style of curbed swords. They eventually overthrew their masters and established their own Kingdoms.

The Leatherneck nickname started in 1785

The Leatherneck nickname started in 1785


The Leatherneck, the nickname stemmed from the leather collar used between 1785 and 1875 to help keep the Marines head erect. Today it is symbolized by the high collar on the dress blue uniform.

• The Hymn is the oldest official song of all armed services. The words date back to 19th century but its origin and author remain unknown. The music comes from the 1859 opera Genevieve de Brebart.

• The Semper Fidelis emblems built from scrap metal by Wheeler Hembert, a metal worker at the new bridge to Parris Island construction during WWII. They were mounted and stayed on the front gate from 1943 to 2001.

• The Mascot – English bulldogs became popular as Marines mascots after BGen. Smedley Butler enlisted “Jiggs” at Quantico in Virginia in 1922. Marine Barracks in D.C. now name all their bulldogs “Chesty” in honor of the most decorated Marine, Lewis “Chesty” Puller. Many Marine units have their own bulldog.

“Mess with the Best, Die Like the Rest!”

Have a memorable and happy family vacation in Beaufort, South Carolina!

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13 Responses

  1. […] Be inspired at the Parris Island Museum showcasing hundreds of U.S. Marines memorabilia, artifacts, pictures and heroic stories from the […]

  2. […] Be a Marine at the Parris Island Museum and admire incredible weapons, enemy captures and heroic soldiers stories (free […]

  3. […] driving tour around Parris Island Posted on July 27, 2009 by shoutabout While visiting the inspirational Parris Island military museum take advantage of the free self-guided 15 miles loop driving tour. Is best to download the brochure […]

  4. Hoping you might be able to help me locate a Marine Corps recruiting poster with a Marine riding a Leopard backwards. My husband is retired from the Marine Corps and has an upcoming birthday…..I would love to find this poster and have it gramed for his office. If you can help, I would be most appreciative!

    Thank you,
    Holly

    • Hi Holly

      Thanks for your comments. I’m just a traveler writing about family attractions in South Carolina. My suggestion is to first contact the Parris Island Museum directly. They do have a shop although I’m not sure whether they sell this poster.

      Phone: (843) 228 2166
      Email: giftshop@pimuseum.us

      If that doesn’t work try to look for it online. For example I ran a Google Search “US Marines Recruiting Poster” and got this website. They carry your poster for $52 (see link below). I’m not necessarily recommeding this site, just giving you an idea.

      http://www.fulcrumgallery.com/James-Montgomery-Flagg/Travel-Adventure-Join-the-Marines_130298.htm

      You may find it cheaper on eBay.

      Good luck and Happy Birthday to your husband. Thank him on my behalf for having served our country!

      Elena

  5. Hi, My name is Donna Sumrell Taff and I am looking for my Daddy’s, Melvin Clinton Sumrell ;Platoon Number. He was at Parris Island in Nov. 1943. It would be fantasic if I could find this and maybe a photo of hin and his Platoon. He went on to fight at Peleliu and Okinawa. Hw was with the first division MT unit. He died in 2000. He never talked about the war; I only found out after he died. Any help would be appreciated. Thankyou, Donna Sumrell Taff. dtaffy@charter.net

    • Hi Donna

      Thank you for visiting my blog. I am not affiliated in any way with the Parris Island Museum nor the Marines. I ran a quick online search and found the following website which may help you:
      http://www.parrisislandmarines.com/html/research.html

      It appears records of former marines are only held for 4 years. However platoon photos are still available, going back to 1939.

      Good luck!

      Elena

      P.S. Here is the quote from the above mentioned website:

      Locating/Tracking Down Marines from Parris Island

      Q: Where can I get a copy of my recruit training series book or platoon photo?
      A: Platoon photos are available at Parris Island back to 1939. Photos from between 1939 and 1950 are limited, however. Individual photos of Marines are also available but only go back for four years. Recruit training series books are not available. To find out how to get photos, call Recruit Photo at (843) 228-1555.

      Q: How do I track down former Marines or find out information about my old recruit training platoon?
      A:The Marine Corps has no way to assist individuals looking for former Marines and records of past platoons are only kept for approximately four years before they are discarded. However, you can try the following methods to maybe track them down: You could get a platoon photo. See previous question for information. You could also try Leatherneck magazine which runs a monthly feature called “Mail Call.” It is a free service and is printed on a space-available basis. Send items for this service to:

      Mail Call Editor
      P.O. Box 1775
      Quantico, VA 22134
      1-800-336-0291

      Also, try some of the people search engines on the Internet. Try the one on Yahoo! There is also one just for Marines called Semper Fi Lost Buddies. You could try the Marine Corps League, the Marine Corps Association or the VFW–all of which have Web sites.

    • DONNA, I HAVE AN ORIGINAL GRAD PICTURE FROM PARIS ISLAND.IT IS FROM PLATOON 710 IF THAT HELPS AND IS DATED NOVEMBER 1943.yOU WOULD NEED TO KNOW WHAT PLATOON HE WAS IN. BILL

  6. I would love to get a CD of what I believe is called
    “The Friday Night Parade”. This is spactacular the Marine band and/or the silent program done by the Marines done in Washington DC. I would love to get a copy of this can anyone help me.

  7. you know this is so ironic. Pretty much says it all.

  8. Graduated in August 1943. Do not remember platoon number. Hope you can help. At that time I lived in Philadelphia, in the 5600 block of north 5th street.

  9. Hello Mr. Quinn

    Thank you for visiting my travel blog. I’m not in any way associated with USMC. I just write about South Carolina attractions.

    Here is some info to help you with your research. I found it on this website:

    http://www.parrisislandmarines.com/html/research.html

    It appears records of former marines are only held for 4 years. However platoon photos are still available, going back to 1939.

    Q: How do I track down former Marines or find out information about my old recruit training platoon?

    A:The Marine Corps has no way to assist individuals looking for former Marines as records of past platoons are only kept for approximately four years before they are discarded. Try contacting the Leatherneck magazine which runs a monthly feature called “Mail Call.” It is a free service and is printed on a space-available basis. Send items for this service to:

    Mail Call Editor
    P.O. Box 1775
    Quantico, VA 22134
    1-800-336-0291

    Also, try posting a message on the Marines Lost Buddies webite:
    http://www.lostbuddies.us/

    Good luck!

    We are deeply appreciative of your service.

    Elena

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