This picture is a true Marine’s grandson. He is having a few words with his Marine picture. Everyone loved Grandpa, Daniel Patterson. Lucas Patterson shaved his head to be like Grandpa the day before the service. Lucas chose the most amazing man to model himself after. Daniel Patterson had 3 purple hearts and later became a fireman after coming home from Vietnam. He received several awards for saving lives with the Omaha Fire Department. He is without a doubt, a fabulous leader in heaven, all thanks to USMC training.
In the summer of 1965 the Marine Corps decided to give a 2 year option to there enlisting program, to go along with the draft. I was one of the first at Paris Island. It was never looked down as bad as the drafted recruits. At least to our face. Now the story that I think happened. At the rifle range, pre qualifying day I shot 232. First jr. DI said well done, I remember that. Qualifying day I started out with a 49 out of 50 off hand at the 200 yard line, and thinking that the top gun strip(PFC) could be mine. The next closest shooter the day before was 8 below me. I continued on doing as well or better that day than the previous. When I got to the 500 yard line my PMO said my trap broke and we had to move down the line to the end to finish qualifying. For some reason I couldn’t hit the Alfa target to save my ass. Tracked my shots in the target book and I ended not even close when the target popped up. WTF was going on out loud I was saying. I got beat out for top gun that day. —- took me 20 years to ( in my mind) what happened that day. Maybe I’m wrong . The top gun stripe went to a 4 year enlisted recruit. Ok, I get it! Don’t waist a stripe on a 2 year guy. I love the Corps and proud. I really don’t hold it against the DI’s. Semper Fi to all – May the Corps live forever
For anyone in the I Corps area of Vietnam in 1965-66 eras, Hill #55 had the reputation of being a very dangerous location.
Third Battalion, Third Marines relieved the line in March of 1966. Our brothers in the Ninth Marines had warned us, when we took their place that the hill was deadly at all times, and the VC/NVA had a sniper in the area that could really “Ding”. The VC/NVA wasted no time letting us know that we were unwelcome. First with mortars, and then with constant probing and fire fights at night. The sniper did not make his presence known all of the time, but when he did, someone got hit. This situation lasted until a young Third Division sniper named Carlos Hathcock put an end to that sniper’s career. But that was later, after this incident.
Almost same thing happened to me at Mathews, Platoon 209. It was January 1962 and we were all shivering to the bone. Back in the tent area we had gone from port to order arms and then given the command to “stack arms” and then back to “order arms” and I goy my stacking swivel caught in my trouser front pocket at which time I was assailed as having numb-nuts and my rifle was hurled into what ever was growing, and I’m not sure it was ice plant, but what ever it was I stepped in it when “instructed” to get my rifle and of course hell descended on me. Side story: When we arrived at Mathews one of the first things we did, you’ll remember, was to get a shooting jacket. On mine was the name “Everly, D.” That’s right, Don Everly. The brothers were four weeks ahead of us. I slowly removed the tape and it was headed for my pocket, when one of our D.I’s caught me. It cost me 100 push-ups and the D. I. kept the tape. I too came down with pneumonia but did not catch up with 209. My new platoon, 312, was assigned Depot Police that last week of boot camp while 209 had mess duty. Thank you, God!!
Who knew is all I can say.
My father was a WW2 Marine as was my three older brothers in the fifties and early sixties. I was born in 47 and no one told me about Marine Corp boot camp. None the less I followed family tradition and volunteered entering MCRD San Diego October 1966. Platoon 3343. Of course we were competing with other platoons and at one point I failed the PT score and was summarily PTd to death only to find out that my score was messed up. So I was back in good form. We did make Honor Platoon and upon graduation I made PFC. I had also made expert with the M1.
During IT I made the mistake of going to the clinic due to bad blisters when our instructor cought me and chewed me out. No sympathy. During IT I qualified expert in the M14, M16 and the 45 pistol. Subsequently I went to Sniper School and qualified expert in the Remington 700 BDL. This was the 2nd class near Camp Pendleton. I arrived in Vietnam June 1967. I was assigned to C Company 1/7 as a 0311 grunt and was never used as a sniper. Go figure.
C Company as I soon found out was famous from WW2 and Korea known as Suicide Charlie. The NVA and the Vietcong feared us for good reason. Operating mostly in Quang Nam Province until 1974. Of course I managed to survive and returned to the states in September 1968. Where I was transferred to the Marine Barracks NWS at Goose Creek, SC as Sgt. Of the Guard E-5. Polaris Missile Facility. My enlistment time was up in 1970. So I enlisted in the Air Force and retired in 1988. Returning to Charleston SC I ended back at the same base at Goose Creek and became a policeman. Who knew?
Fresh out of boot camp and ITR, I was sent (1958) to Treasure Island electronics school. I had dropped out of high school, never having developed any study habits and I struggled in the classes. While my buddies got their first stripe as we all passed our first 6 months in the Corps, mine was held back. I was told I wouldn’t get it until I raised my grades, even though I had no blemishes on my record and was pretty much “squared away. In the meantime, other guys failed out of the course and were given their stripe before being released to their next duty station.
Even when I graduated from T.I. and was sent to MCRD for the next level, they held it over my head. I had 11 months in grade, if private is a grade, when I reported to the base. When I checked in a WM E4 corporal, looked at my orders, saw how long I’d been in and told me that “If I do well” I’d get that stripe. By then I was thoroughly pissed about the situation – all my buddies had long since been gaining time-in-grade toward E3. “I told her the Corps could take that stripe and put it up its collective ass.” Kind of shocked her.
Anyhow, one morning, as I approached 14 months time in the Corps, at first class of the day, they went through the morning bulletins and casually announced the I.G. would be coming to MCRD the next week and that any requests to see him must go through channels (meaning the instructors, school commander on up the ladder). He continued on with the bulletins until his assistant brought it to his attention that I had my hand up. Kind of irritated, he said “What do you want, Barber?”
I said “I request permission to speak to the I.G.” He jumped up off the edge of the desk he was sitting on (I think he spilled a little coffee) and said “What the f–k for?!!!” I said “It’s personal.”
He tried to get it out of me for a few minutes then gave up. The regulation is pretty clear that every Marine, down to the lowest rank – and I couldn’t go any lower – had the right to request to see the I.G. and didn’t have to disclose the reason. However, by the end of the day, every instructor knew to try to find out why I wanted to see the I.G. and I had been approached by several junior NCOs and asked, “buddy to buddy” what was behind my request.”
The next day, before morning formation, I was told to report to the Top Sergeant. I figured that was a good place to start. When he told me to sit down and tell him what my problem was so he could bring it to an end I laid it out for him. I was in his office about 2 minutes. At the following Monday morning formation I got my stripe. Funny what an Inspector General can accomplish without even knowing it.
A couple of weeks later I failed out of the course, received a supply MOS and transferred to Battalion Supply, 3/5. A few months later I was promoted to L/Cpl after setting an unbeatable (100%) record at the Supply school on Okinawa.
Never have so few done so much for so many.
I may be an old Army Dog – but my father …. A “retired” MSG USMC – if their is ever such a thing as a “Retired” Marine – taught me the values that we just read about …. and I applied them wherever I served.
I stepped into those same footprints in May ’68, as a member of Platoon 363. Staff Sgt. Williams was my senior drill instructor. After we got our “high and tights” at the barber shop and received our sea bags and supplies we humped out to the 3rd Batts new “high rise” facility. Those “DI’s” were responsible for me surviving the Viet Nam Experience while assigned to Lima Co, 3 / 5. Semper Fi all!
I joined in 1962. We were at Camp Matthew’s Rifle Range and I was assigned to be the Tent Commander. It’s cold in California in September and that night we were waiting for the order to put the tent flaps down and the 3 guys in our tent talked me into putting flaps down, saying the DI wouldn’t know it. BIG MISTAKE! We got called to the DIs tent, each one of us doing the obligatory rapping our knuckles on the door and hollering “Sir, private Grav requests permission to enter the Duty Hut”. Eventually we all were in his hut, lined up shoulder to shoulder in front of his rack. He wanted to know who’s idea it was to put our flaps down, so I told him that I would accept the blame, as I was the tent Commander. I received the traditional punch in the gut–but standing by his bunk, I fell back on it and my knees buckled causing me to roll out backwards, landing in the ice plant growing in the mud. He said “you better get your ass back in here Shit Maggot!” I thought he meant immediately, so without going through the door knocking routine, I immediately climbed over his bunk, dragging my muddy combat boot across his pillow. He seemed mildly disappointed, as his face turned red as he Screamed Loudly, “Get the Hell out of my hut you low life Shit Maggot!!!
That was Platoon 255 and I ended up getting pneumonia, ending up in Balboa Navy Hospital. When I went back to Camp Matthew’s I joined up in Platoon 367, graduating as Regimental Honor Platoon and I fired highest in my Platoon on pre-qual day.
Now I’m 78 years old and still full of Marine Corps Pride.
When I went into Boot Camp I met a Marine who was so happy to be in Boot Camp. When I asked him why, he told me he shared a bed with 5 other siblings, never had 3 meals a day or had Healthcare and had no teeth. Well he said sleeping in his own bed the first night was a dream come true along with them giving him a new set of dentures. I thought to myself, wow, alot of them were dirt poor and the Corp made them feel rich. USMC 1972 1974