This story was originally published in SGT GRIT’S NEWSLETTER, the magazine, Vol. 2, No. 2. February, 2004. ($1.50). A Publication FOR Marines and BY Marines. Page 28…on THE MARINES page. This “edition” has been modified and adjusted.
“Get off my bus, you slimy-eyed maggots!” shouted the Drill Instructor at the top of his lungs. Thus began my “near death experience” all through nine weeks of Marine Corps Recruit Training…after we entered the gates at MCRD, San Diego…the Marine Corps Recruit Depot…on that “fateful” Monday night, September 16, 1968.
Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot Parris Island is a sacred place that shapes everyday citizens into United States Marines. The journey from recruit in training to United States Marine is unforgettable and some even describe it as the best worst time of their life. Once a Marine leaves the island, most may never return.
U.S. Marines with 2nd Transportation Support Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, 2nd Marine Logistics participated in exercise Resolute Sun from June 11-19, 2019.
The exercise allowed Marines to increase combat operational readiness in amphibious and prepositioning operations while conducting joint training with the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy during a joint logistics over-the-shore (JLOTS) scenario.
I joined the Marine Corps in 1957 and retired in 1978. I was with 3rd Bn. 9th Marines. We left Okinawa in Jan 1967 but I can’t remember how we entered Vietnam.. If anyone who was with 3-9 at that time could e-mail me and let me know how we landed I would appreciate it very much..I’m starting to forget a lot of things and I don’t want to forget how I got to Vietnam..
His weathered hands, aged by war and time, brushed across the fuselage of an aircraft. Like a gust of wind, old memories washed over him.
Stepping out from the hangar, the 99-year-old Marine took a firm grasp of his grandson’s hand as a Marine from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, escorted them onto Camp Pendleton’s flightline.
On July 4th, 2019 Americans will celebrate our country’s 243rd birthday, born of a declaration that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
After I retired from my “job” I became a school bus driver in the small town of Cottonwood, AZ. I drove all ages from pre-school to eighth grade and loved the interaction with kids. One Monday I challenged them. On the bulkhead over my driver’s seat I wrote “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” The first to tell me the meaning of that phrase would receive a silver dollar. I gave them a week. By the second day they were frantic and asked for a hint. I said I’d give them a huge hint. I said that the answer was “obvious.” No one tumbled onto the answer. Not until Friday morning, refusing to get off the bus as they tossed nonsensical words about did a timid 6th grade girl say “Does it mean…obvious?” On Monday, I presented her with her silver dollar and used the opportunity that week for discussion of why the signers of the Declaration of Independence risked their lives and their fortunes to declare themselves free from foreign governance.
Today, in my 79th year, I wonder how many of those kids, all voting age adults now, really do hold those “truths” to be obvious. How many of them have read and understand that the U.S. Constitution was written to protect those “truths”. Of course they believe they are entitled to “Life”. Unfortunately, many believe “Liberty” is a given, even as we pass the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the 74th anniversary this year of the end of a World War, fought to ensure the “truth” of Liberty. Also, unfortunately, many have come to translate the “Right” to pursue “Happiness” as a “guarantee” of happiness. But most unsettling is that there are those who, although they give lip service to it, don’t quite get the “all men are created equal” part, as they strive to deny equal voice to those with whom they disagree politically.
When asked what the members of the Constitutional Convention had accomplished, Ben Franklin answered “We have given you a Republic, if you can keep it.” He fully understood that one of the greatest documents ever written not only gave us the means to maintain our liberty but, also, the means to abolish it. He understood the frailties of the human ego, when extreme power is placed in the hands of the few. Daniel Webster was blunt. He wrote “It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions…. There are men, in all ages…who mean to govern well: but they mean to govern. They promise to be kind masters: but they mean to be masters….”
The American experience will never be replicated. Our country was born at a time when two oceans, a vast wilderness to the north, and a weak, disorganized neighbor to the south, protected our shores while we fulfilled our potential. But for it to endure, we must believe in and trust one another. We have to ensure that our children understand what they are inheriting – that they understand that the power belongs to the people; the elected are just temporary caretakers. For it to endure we must deserve it for, as John Adams said “Our Constitution was made only for a moral…people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
Every year I donate a U.S. Constitution booklet, complete with the Declaration of Independence and all the Amendments, to the entire 3rd grade of the school where my granddaughter started her teaching career, hoping they will take it home with questions for their parents. Those questions – and the answers given – will determine the future of this great country.
My father was a WWII veteran. He served aboard LST 751 in the pacific. When he came home from the war, he had a problem with shortness of breath. This didn’t seem to bother him at first, but things got worse. My mother tried to get him to go to the doctor but no go. She took matters into her own hands and brought the doctor to him. He was diagnosed with Tuberculous. It was determined that he had to have contacted the disease while in the pacific. Which made it service connected and should qualify him for disability. Our family had a friend who worked for the VA, so mom made an appointment with him. His name was Bill Ward. Dad, with the help from Bill, filled out all the paper work. Supplied all of the doctor’s reports that supported my dad’s claim, and it was sent in. Bill explained that it would take about a month to here back. Not so with dad. He received a reply within two weeks. He had been denied. The application was resubmitted and the same answer, denied. Bill resubmitted the application, but this time ask for help from another rep. His name was Hershel Woodrow “Woody “Williams, Medal of Honor winner, United States Marine Corps, Iwo, Jima. Mr. Williams made sure dads application got into the right hands and not some bureaucrat. It was approved. My father passed away in November 1957, he was 47 years old. I was 16 when he died. Dad never naught me very much, not because he didn’t want to but because of his illness he wasn’t able. One time he did teach me a valuable lesson. Dad had some friends over for dinner. They were old Navy veterans from the war. They were having an argument about a sea battle in the pacific. That neither one of them was in, but my dad’s ship was. He tried to tell them they were wrong, but to no avail. He looked over at me and said. Son this is why “You Never Bandy Words With Idiots”. I’ve never forgotten that. This little bit of wisdom has taught me to keep my big mouth shut in similar circumstance.
As a new 2nd Lt with the 12th Marines at Mt Fuji, I was assigned to an infantry company as an forward observer. I asked my senior Lts in the battery what should I being doing with the grunts. They told me just to stay close to the Captain and he will let you know what he wants. I stayed with the captain for about 5 miles into a hike when he turned to me and asked “Lt where are we “? My answer was “I don’t know I am following you”. After that I always knew where we were…….