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GUNNER GILBERT H. BOLTON: A MARINE THROUGH AND THROUGH

“The more you sweat in peace the less you bleed in war,” said Silver Star recipient Gilbert H. Bolton during a recent presentation to students of the School of Infantry-West on Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Bolton was born in Portsmouth, Ohio and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1959. He served as an infantry Marine and officer until he retired in 1991 at the age of 50. During his time in the Marine Corps, Bolton rose through the ranks from private to an infantry weapons officer, also known as a Marine Gunner. A Marine Corps Gunner is a technical expert of all Marine Corps weapons systems, and their employment.

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Firewatch At NATTC Memphis

The Marine barracks at NATTC Memphis were two story wooden buildings from the WWII era when I went to aviation mechanics school there in 1960. This made it necessary to have a firewatch on duty after lights out for obvious reasons. This duty always fell to the new Privates right out of boot camp, like me. The staff NCO barracks was directly across the street from the MAD headquarters back then. Not only were the barracks dated from the war, but so were the staff NCOs who lived there. These were all old Corps, battle hardened vets who pretty much lived by their own rules. I was unlucky enough to pull the firewatch duty one night for these men. I had learned in Boot camp to keep a low profile in these situations (E-1 vs all ranks above) so my first pass through the barracks before lights out went pretty quiet. When I got to the first deck entryway the Officer of the Day, a young Second Lieutenant, was waiting for me.

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