Over the past 50 years, GIjOE has had a tremendous impact on millions of men, women and children. Originally patterned after military personnel, Joe’s highly detailed 1:6 scale uniforms, weapons, equipment, and related vehicles have also helped instruct and enlighten countless fans to the myriad ways and means of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. One such Joehead (also a bona-fide “Jarhead”) is real-life former USMC drill instructor, Keith Mayo, who recently recounted an ocassion in which GIjOE had helped him instruct a squad bay full of “pukes” in the finer points of “Inspection Arms,” thereby enabling them to win a drill competition later in the week. According to Mayo:
“As a brand new USMC Drill Instructor on my first platoon, I was never allowed to teach the boys anything. My job was to yell and scream for 18 hrs a day. The ‘Heavy A’ (green belt DI with the most experience) did all the teaching. This one day, it was raining cats and dogs, so we were doing drill inside the squad bay.
With little room to maneuver, we concentrated on ‘Inspection Arms.’ The 2nd, 3rd and 4th counts of that movement require the proper placement of the thumb and first finger on the M-16 charging handle in just a certain way. After going over the first four movements for about a half an hour and the boys not getting it just so, the Heavy A lost his temper and stormed off for a dip of chew.
The recruits stood there silently, not knowing what to do. I broke ‘character’ and had them gather around me in a circle. ‘How many of you maggots had a GIjOE when you were a kid? And I don’t mean that little dude—I mean the REAL GIjOE?’ The majority of them raised their hands (this was in 1982 btw). Then I said, ‘Do you remember Joe’s booger-pickin’ fingers on his right hand that made it impossible for him to hold anything?’ They yelled back in unison ‘YES, SIR!!!’ I told them that was EXACTLY what we were looking for.
I then called the Heavy A back over and told him to give it just one more try. He reluctantly agreed and called the platoon to attention and in a voice that would make R. Lee Ermy sound like a little girl he gave the command, ‘Inspection – ARMS!!!’ To his amazement, the boys got the movement perfectly. He was dumbfounded. ‘How in the HELL did you get them to do that, Sgt Mayo?’ I smiled a bit, looked at the recruits and said the catch phrase from a commercial that was popular at the time: ‘Ancient Chinese Secret.’ The platoon burst out in laughter and we took them out in the rain and made ’em dig in ‘the sand pit’ for a while for their lack of discipline. When we got to the Drill Competition later in the week, I said to them as they were getting into formation, ‘Remember, GIjOE.’ We won the trophy that day and all the credit goes to GIjOE! True story. If I’m lyin’, I’m dyin.” —Semper Joe, BDK
Bottom Line: We’d like to thank Keith Mayo for his inspirational and entertaining story. Of course, we know that his isn’t the only tale of GIjOE helping and/or inspiring others. We know that there are thousands more, and we’d love to hear YOUR inspirational Joe-story as well. Please email it to us HERE at The Joe Report and we’ll be happy to share it with the rest of the world. OOHrah!