Final Mural as a Marine illustrator

I am a former Marine illustrator and Drill Instructor. This image was taken on 29 March 1982, by SSgt. Bill Daley, of the final work of art I created after leaving the Drill Field at MCRD before heading off to my new duty station –MCAS El Toro.
Challenge:
Though it has been long since painted over, do you know what building it was in?

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A tale of two Corps

In December of 1968 I was in welding school in Pittsburgh Pa.
I had orginaly planned on going to law school until my Dad got sick and seeing an add on the bus coming home from my window washing job I decided to find out what a welder did for a living. The class was only 300 bucks and promised I would become a AWS certified welder.(which I became).
Like many of us I was in love with my high school sweetheart and wanted to get married asap.
Shortly before the draft came into effect, I decided to go to the Peace Corps and teach welding in some far away land. My girl was going to follow me when she graduated and my future looked pretty good.
Before joining I went to my local draft board and to my surprise I learned that after a 2 year stint I would still not have any type of deferment.
I did find out the Marine Corps would only ask for a two year active commitment.
I was pretty sure with my welding training I would be drafted so I enlisted that day on the 120 day delayed entry program and on April 17th 1969 I got a 3 am introduction to Parris Island.
WOW what a wakeup call!
I was promoted to PFC out of boot camp and extended for a year as the Marines decided they wanted me to learn how to shoot planes out of the sky. My MOS was 5923 and I ended up in Huntsville Alabama at the Redstone Arsenal army base, met my wife of 52 years now and I am forever grateful that I joined the Marine corps and not the Peace Corps!

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Boot Camp

It was Christmas Eve 1965. I had
been called to St Louis by the
draft board along with three
Guys from my little town in
southeast Mo. After arriving
And completing a day of tests etc.
A army Sgt separated us some
To go home some to go to be
Drafted. You guessed it I got the
Second group. While waiting
For the bus I was laminating
About it being Christmas Eve
Guy next to me said there is a
Marine In the hall if you enlist
You can go home til after the
New year! Yes I Did and went to
San Diego in Jan of 1966. I was in
Nam Jan 67. Made it back and was
Ordered to Twenty nine Palms. Discharged and no regrets.
SSGT. USMC PROUD

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Joining the Corps

Out of HS almost a year (1960) Working as a stock boy at Lord & Taylors. Another stock boy had just gotten married at 25 1/2 yrs of age. Got drafted. Cut off age for the draft was 26. Me another stock boy were discussing this snafu on our break. Did not relish the idea of getting drafted. I ruled out joining the Army, Navy and Air Force right away. Every guy I knew who joined the Army was either deployed to the South or Germany. I would have loved going to Germany but definitely did not want to go South. Did not want to be at sea for weeks if not month with a bunch of swinging d–ks. Had no particular skills so the Air Force was not a fit for me. I had the impression that Marines traveled which I always wanted to do. We decided to go speak with the local recruiter. Took the little test and was on my way to PI 30 days later. When I woke up the morning I joined the Marine Corps that was the FARTHEST thing from my mind. NEVER RGRETTED THAT DECISION. SF

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Life is an adventure

I was 17 years old, had lived on my own for over a year, and had just left a good job because of girl troubles. The girl and I worked together, and it was a roller coaster relationship.

One September morning I told my best friend Paul that I was going to join the Marine Corps. Something which I’d not talked about or thought through. Paul said “Let’s go. by God”. So we drove down to the recruiting office in Columbus Ohio.

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Before Joining the Marines – before March 1967

What was I doing before I joined the Corps? I was going to college. The local draft board culled the list of student sand called me in. “Why are you on our lists?” I was asked. After putting my pink ID on their desk, I said because I am already in the Navy – Navy Reserves that is. 3 years and a month into my 2X4 program (2 years active, 4 years reserve). I was a Seaman bucking for 3rd Class.

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Vietnam Marine Friend

I went through Parris Island, S.C. Marine boot camp and graduated in November 1961. Fired very well on the Rifle Range as Expert. Called to the Weapons Training Office and was asked to come back to P.I. as my first duty station. As a Rifle Marksman Instructor MOS 8531 as a Rifle Coach. I bunked in a cubicle with a David Russell, we became very good friends during the two and half years as Rifle Coaches on the Ranges. Russ his nickname decided to change duty stations and picked Morroco Naval base at a Marine Barracks. I eventually got a transfer to Yokouska, Japan home of the Navy’s Sixth Fleet. Later transferred to Okinawa at Camp Courtney which was home of the 3rd. Marine Division Headquarters. In the meantime Russ had be stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C. in a combat unit. I got discharged in San Diego, Calif. in June 1965 and headed home to York, Pa. Russ reinlisted for four more years. His unit/company was deployed to Vietnam and ended up at Khe Sanh. We exchanged letters and pictures of cars, girls, and bases. ON March 12, 1968 he was KIA at Khe Sanh during the Tet Offensive by mortar/shelling fire. I went to his church viewing in Jacksonville, N.C. and met his wife, mother and 8 month old daughter. The next day we traveled to Washington, D.C. for his funeral at Arlington Cemetery. I visited his grave site a few times. His wife remarried another Marine and they were transferred to a base in California. I lost track of her and his daughter Sabrina. And after 50 years of searching on the internet left a message on a Vietnam Wall website. One day when I came home from work at I checked my emails and one was his daughter Sabrina. I contacted her right away and we finally got together for a reunion. I lived in York, Pa. and she actually lived in Greenbelt, Md. 90 miles from me. What a joyus miracle that happened.
I gave her all the letters, pictures, everything Russ I did together to her. What a experience in life !! She read his letters and one that really affected her when she read it was what he said to me in a letter: ” Joe you should see my beautiful daughter Sabrina whom I love dearly “. And this filled her heart with joy. We have met many times and discussed all the history of Russ and my friendship… I have been down to the WALL many times and I spend my visitation at Panel 43E Row 69 his name is that last one on that panel…… Leave no man behind. Semper Fi.

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start the buildup

b1/13 , flew in on c 130 oct 1966 was special forces base on mars matting. they went to lang ve and the sea bees put in aluminum runway. we stayed through monsoon season. A 1/3 provided security. along with 6 105 howitsers they gave us 2 155 howitsers and 2 4.2 morters for illumination. The hill battles started after we left to go to con tien for the dmz sweep. in the 13 month tour we fired over 40,ooo rounds. one of the guns had a stamp of 1945. cpl. rich bottari radio operator.

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