Thursday, August 07, 2003


Rose Garden
July 22, 2003

PFC Sarah M. Hickey
Staff Correspondent

We STILL don't promise you a rose garden

In the early 1970's, a Marine Corps recruiting poster featuring a Drill Instructor menacing a recruit began its tenure. The poster served to remind prospective Marines of the reality of their obligation with the harsh phrase "We don't promise you a rose garden." It ran from late 1971, to mid 1984, but no one expected the poster to become such a legend and staple of the recruiting offices, least of all the model for the poster, former drill instructor Sgt. Charles A. Taliano.


"I'm amazed that the poster has the staying power that it has," said Taliano. "That I was even with a platoon when the picture was taken was a surprise."

"It was April of '68," recalls Taliano. "I was getting out in May, so I wasn't really supposed to take charge of a platoon. I was just taking the light-duty recruits on a police-call, when I was asked to take one of the new platoons through the forming phase of boot camp."
"The picture wasn't posed. In fact, I'm not sure I was really "yelling" at the recruit in the poster," said Taliano. "I just did a good job of welcoming that young man to recruit training."

To Taliano, the poster symbolized more than a simple picture of his face. "I don't look at the poster like it's me," he said. "I view it as a drill instructor and a recruit. It symbolizes the challenges presented to both of them."
Although it's been more than 30 years since Taliano's honorable discharge from the Marine Corps, he still fondly recalls his time as a drill instructor. "Drill instructor duty is the best duty," said Taliano. "It's the duty that you love to hate, but that you wouldn't trade for anything. To have a hand in the making of Marines was remarkable."

Although retired from the civilian work force, Taliano is still working with Marines. He attends poster signings across the country, as well as volunteering at the Parris Island Museum. "I get a real kick out of it," said Taliano. "I love the chance to be around Marines again."

Taliano is also spending his retired days looking for the recruit in the poster. "For the longest time I shied away from finding out if he survived boot camp," he said. "He wasn't even one of my recruits. Last November, however, I met a gunnery sergeant at the Marine Corps Association Store. He told me that his company gunnery sergeant had claimed to be the recruit in the poster."

According to the gunnery sergeant, the recruit from the poster retired as a sergeant major, although, without either the name of the gunnery sergeant or the sergeant major the claim is impossible to verify. "I'd like to have a reunion now that the recruit outranks me."

The poster continues to be a representation of the constant cycle of the Marine Corps. The recruit in the poster was promoted to sergeant major. Taliano begin as a recruit. The poster's legacy did not begin on the drill field, but with a recruit. "My parents and sister had come down for graduation," said Taliano. "My father and I were sitting on one of the cross bars of the A-frame. Now, I don't remember this, but my father says I pointed to a platoon, and said, 'I'm going to come back."

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The recruit is thought to now be a retired Marine Sergeant Major.

True! The recruit isn't shown very well in the pic, but likely he is aware of the pic and knows he is in it.

Report Marine, your old DI is looking for you...

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