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..
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.
Thoughts during a few moments spent standing, staring at a vertical slate of black marble; only vaguely aware of the rain drenched figure standing, staring back; unable to move any closer; unwilling to turn away. All the names in chronological order, left to right, as need dictated. All needed on a given day clustered together. He was there, but it was so much easier not to look or find. Surrounded by the others, he remained silent. When identified, he would cry out. Raindrops fell and a gentle, cold wind chilled my finger as it traced a path down the dripping slate.
I enlisted in 1976 in the Marine Corps, went to boot camp at San Diego, went to admin school at Camp Pendleton. did a tour in Okinawa, and reported to MCDEC Quantico, Virginia in 1978. While there I was assigned to mess hall duty. One day, I received verbal instructions from either a gunnery sergeant or a master sergeant who was in charge of our kitchen detail. My response was a prompt “Yes,sir!”. The senior enlisted dutifully reminded me to not call him “sir”, that he worked for a living. I responded with a thought from my upbringing in Texas: “With all due respect, I was always taught to respect my elders.” There was nothing more said from the E-7/E-8.
Marine vet Jim Barber has compiled a collection of very funny stories about Marine Corps boot camp as told by those who were there. More than 90 very funny stories submitted by Marines, following the age-old tradition, who innocently left their secure, teenage life to blunder into the upside-down world created by the need to transform them from their soft civilian selves into the proud brotherhood they became. This book will be appreciated by all vets who went through some form of boot camp, as well as by civilians. But it will be most enjoyed by Marines who, wherever they congregate, find the conversation always goes back to who had the toughest D.I. While not always so funny at the time, we can now look back, laugh, and say “Yeah. That was me. A real shitbird.” GREAT BOOK FOR VETS. Ask for an excerpt.
Freedom Eagle clawing out of my shoulder.
16-Apr.-2019. Former Marine and Vietnam Veteran L/Cpl James Stogan received the Navy Cross for heroic action in Apr 1967 while serving with Charlie 1/9 as part of machine gun team. He was originally nominated for the Medal Of Honor but there were not enough of the required witness’s available. He is credited with the rescue of his gun team leader who was captured and dragged off by 4 NVA and using only a K-Bar to fight them off. There is a lot more to this story that can be found in the citation SEMPER FI !! Harry 1371
This story is about my Dad Ssgt Kenneth D. Havice ret. He spent 3 terms in Vietnam, receiving 4 Purple Hearts, I’m not for sure where he was but all I know him and the men under him was under heavy fire, one of his men got a non life threatening wound, his Lt. told him as soon as the fire calmed down they would get his wounded Marine to safety, my Dad said no sir, I will get my man now, so on the way back after getting his fellow Marine, my Dad was shot in his arm, not knowing because of his adrenaline, his Lt. said are you in alot of pain, my Dad replied no why? Lt. responded look at your arm, my Dad said he shrugged it off, because it wasn’t his first gun shot wound, Lt. then said I don’t know if your crazy or just brave as HELL, but when we get back I’m putting in the paperwork for a Congressional Medal of honor, well before they could get back the Lt. was K.I.A. so the paperwork never happened, but he did recieve his Purple Heart from a full bird colonel by the name Patton, and after some research he was the son of General George Patton