top of page
A photo from Bill Mares in the Marine Machine
A photo from Bill Mares in the Marine Machine
Marine Machine book cover
A photo from Bill Mares in the Marine Machine

In 1968, I returned to USMC training base at Parris Island SC, where I had been a recruit six years earlier, to photograph  the 10-week cycle for 75 recruits.  The resulting book, I hoped, would help me get a slot as a newspaper photographer. The Marine Corps had given permission,  provided I show them my photos and not live in the barracks.

Thus, from early  June to late  August I was with Platoon 360  platoon  at least twelve hours almost every day. The recruits were told nothing of my work, only that they should ignore me. They did just that.  My non-official status gave me a freedom of movement around the recruits which was neither enjoyed nor sought by the drill instructors.

As the days passed, I became part of the furniture, accompanying the recruits to classes, to meals, to the rifle range, the obstacle course, inter-platoon tournaments, and the euphemistic "Strength Battalion" which was extra work for laggards.   

With 8,000 negatives pared down to 100 photos  and 12,000 words of text, I offered the book to Doubleday and Co. in New York, who accepted it. Eventually, the book would sell over 25,000 copies and I got the newspaper job I sought.  

To Purchase this Book:

Click here to find an independent Vermont bookseller near you. Also available at Abe Books and other national online bookstores.

bottom of page