Like Many Marines, I look back on my years in the Corps with best of memories. I graduated from The Citadel, Class of 1964, attended Officer Candidate School, and had a three year obligation. However I extended a 4th year to remain on sea duty, a 5th year to serve in Vietnam, and a 6th year as B Company Commander, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, MCRD, Parris Island. I was deployed out of country 4 out of 6 years.
I left the Corps to pursue a career in the Maritime Industry, and relocated a total of 11 years, with little time to reflect on my time in the Corps.
And then several years ago, by chance, I met a US Ambassador and Montford Point Marine. For those that don’t know Marine Corps history, they were the first African Americans to integrate the Marine Corps at the start of WW2, and then trained separately at Montford Point, NC.
The Ambassador has led a lifetime of achievements and accomplishments, starting as a young Marine on Guadalcanal, and is still running like there is no tomorrow.. He credits his good fortunes in life largely to our Marine Corps, who taught him those valuable lessons that the Corps taught all of us, starting with hard work pays huge dividends.
We recently visited MCRD, Parris Island, where as guest of the Commanding General, the Ambassador was the PRO, or Parade Reviewing Officer for a Recruit Graduation Parade on this last April 22nd.
And several weeks ago, we were guests at the vessel commissioning of the USS Frank E. Petersen, DDG-121, in Charleston, SC.
The vessel naming was after our first African American General in the Marine Corps, Lieutenant General Frank Petersen, as well as our first African American Marine Corps Aviator.
Also present, the Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and one of the Ambassadors long time friends, retired Marine Major General and Medal of Honor recipient, Jim Livingston, and of course the great Mayor of Charleston, John Tecklenburg, and Congresswoman Nancy Mace of South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District.
The Congresswoman is a graduate of the Military College of South Carolina, The Citadel, Class of 1999, and the daughter of Army General Emory Mace, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, and also a Citadel Graduate.
Our US Military has no better friend in our nation’s House of Representatives than Nancy Mace.
As the Ambassador’s acting Chief of Staff, a Marine Officer, and decorated Vietnam Veteran, I have the honor of planning his trips, and setting up his itinerary. At 96 years old, the Ambassador has no intention of slowing down.
Google Ambassador Theodore R.Britton Jr, History Makers.
The Ambassador is a reminder that the Marine Corps never leaves us, and We are Family. Semper Fi