Prepared Myself

I was on Recruiting duty from Nov87-Oct90. I was stationed at RSS Santa Fe, New Mexico from RS Albuquerque, New Mexico. I had stopped to fill the gas tank on my GOV. (Government Vehicle) before setting out on another long drive to a rural high school in order to find a highly qualified applicant that had the guts to earn the title of the World’s Finest. Dressed in my Dress Blue uniform, I heard the screeching of tires as a gentleman in a light colored sedan pulled into the service station and right up to me. He got out of the vehicle with determination and I prepared myself for some strong words from a disgruntled civilian. Instead he reached out his hand to shake mine. He said, “I saw you here, and I have always made it a point to stop and shake every Marines hand I can find”. I asked him, Why was that? He told me that if it were not for the Marines that he would not be there to shake my hand. He went on further to explain that he was a pilot during WW2, A B-29 super fortress pilot. He had flown many missions to drop his bombs on Japan and Okinawa. On his last mission over Japan he and his crew had encountered Japanese planes on their return and were shot up severely. They would not be able to make it home to their base. He then told me that he was able to make it to Iwo Jima and land his plane there. He said that the Marines had secured the island only a few days earlier. Still holding my hand and shaking it, He said thank you again, for you and all Marines. “God Bless the Marines” he said, as he turned and got back into his car. As he drove away, I saw that he was teary eyed. I remember thinking about that moment for many days afterward. It was not until I went to see Clint Eastwoods movie, Flag of our Fathers, and saw a similar seen in the movie, were a crippled B-29 made an emergency landing, even as the fighting continued that I remembered that morning clearly. As I drove home that night, after the movie, I had several memories come back to me and it was a difficult night for me, but not as difficult as it has been for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and those that were there on Iwo, and all the other islands, and in Europe, Korea, Vietnam, Beirut, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Bosnia, Desert Shield/Storm, Iraq, And countless other parts of the world where Marines serve faithfully. May we take time to reflect on those that have served, and are serving and the sacrifices that our families make as well, Especially during this holiday season.
SEMPER FI,
Sincerely,
Jon K Liebert SGT. USMC
MOS 0321, 1982-1996

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17 thoughts on “Prepared Myself”

  1. My father was on Iwo with the 5th Pioneers, 5th MARDIV. He told me about B-29s landing while they were still fighting. Semper Fi Marines, from 3- Generations of Marines.

  2. Although my comment is not about a Marine but of similar circumstances. I live in “Military City, USA” aka San Antonio,Tx. I have had the honor of knowing a Tusgegee Airman. If it weren’t for them the outcome in Europe would not have been a good one. Each time I see him, I shake his hand and get teary eyed. He just turned 95 and he is one of three left. Thanks Sgt Kendel Scaffe 75-85.

  3. That’s some story Sgt. I certainly do appreciate it never experienced anything to that extreme however I’ve been subject to some pleasurable encounters with many civilians all thanking me for my service I was a PMI at SOI Geiger North Carolina after earning a (0311) my MOS was changed to (0931) Marksman instructor retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Thomas MCRD Parris Island BAT.2017 May 25.1979 retired 2009

  4. Thousands of airmen were saved whey they were able to land their crippled B-29s in Iwo Jima, the Japanese also stationed aircraft in Iwo Jima to attack the B-29 formations as they flew to Japan and back to the Marianas, so that was another benefit of taking the island. On my desk at home, I have a glass container with sand from Iwo Jima and a B-29 model resting on top of the container, this is my way of honoring the sacrifices that so many Marines made on that island.

  5. My father served on Okinawa in WWII, and I served in Viet Nam…..Here’s to you and to our Corps which we are proud to serve! Thank you Sergeant and Semper Fi!

  6. Awesome story. Thanks much for sharing it. My dad was a retired Marine I remember a lot of the stories that he told about being in places during the Vietnam conflict. Semper Fi.

  7. I love this story. My Dad was in 1st, 7th, on Guadalcanal. He didn’t make to Iwo because of wounds sustained on Peleliu. Some of his buddies were there and lot didn’t come back. The one I know that did doesn’t talk about it much. Semper Fi to all Marines. Good night Chesty, wherever you are.

  8. Most people, and even many Marines, leave out the sacrifices that our brothers made on Grenada and Beirut. As a Life Member of the Beirut Veterans of America, on behalf of the others in the BVA, I’d like to say a much appreciated THANK-YOU to Sgt. Jon K. Liebert for including us and more specifically our fallen who did give the ultimate sacrifice in those over-looked episodes in Marine Corps history. Semper Fidelis Robby J. Hookham SSGT USMC (Ret.)

    1. Hi Staff Sgt. 23- Oct- 83 Beirut, The day my Daughter In-Laws brother was injured and remained bedridden until his death in1997.Just because they are not talked about as much does not mean we forget Semper Fi Nick.

  9. Great story. I love WW2 documentaries & although Im a combat vet., I feel I could never live up to what those men endured. On the other hand, stories like these remind me that I did do something for which I should give myself more credit. I’m an Iraq Vet. who, after 10 yrs, is constantly battling self esteem issues along with strong regrets of leaving the Corps after 4yrs of active duty. I entered the Fleet in ’02 as an 0811, Field Artillery Cannoneer, with Lima Battery 3/10. & spent my last 2 yrs doing back-to-back deployments as an 8541 (0317) Squad Designated Marksman with Provisional Infantry Battalion, 2nd Bn 10th Mar., from ’04 -’06. Our AO’s were always within the Sunni Triangle; al Fallujah, al Taqaddum/al Habbaniya, ar Ramadi, al Asad, & Abu Ghraib Prison. We took part in Operation Phantom Fury, Fallujah Nov.’04; Were directly involved in security ops. for the 1st free elections to take place in iraq in over 30yrs; & spent countless hrs. in the streets & neighborhoods of Ramadi. & for those who extended after our 1st tour, stood & fought on the walls of Abu Ghraib Prison on April 2nd ’05, during the largest attack in its history. & Im not trying to give a resume here, I’m just feeling some Marine pride at the moment after reading this story, where a WW2 Vet., the very men I feel I could never be compared to, is shaking the hand & thanking a fellow Marine from my generation. WW2 veterans are like superhero’s too me & I have nothing but the upmost respect for them. So, for what it’s worth, thank u for posting this story & bringing back a small feeling of pride to an old Marine. Semper Fidelis.

  10. Well said, as a Marine of the Vietnam era, that seen some heavy combat and came home with a good head on my shoulders, I believed the Marine Corps was strong than and is as strong as ever today. Semper Fi, to all the Marines where ever they are.

  11. may our marines never not be here for our country and our brothers through out the free world. may we forever be “semper fi” for all the world to count on, and may the “GOD OF THE UNIVERSE” always bless all those in uniform that honor his will!!!!!

  12. My peeps. What phenomenal accounts & extraordinary people. I also pay special greetings to our military posse from any branch & offer a load in of groceries at the market when seeing a war veteran. We share stories, hobbies, military friendly places like Mission Barbecue, & WaWa on holidays. Solidarity, Comraderie, & lift. Pop born in 1908, Robert C. Salle, stepped forward for Marines upon the welcome party & invitation to WWII. He missed Iwo when a plump guy dropped on him at Camp Lejeune & busted his knee. He deployed to Okinawa & the Pacific. He was Signal Corps & said popular wasn’t what it was in high school. Lonesome Dove E.C. (ranch) in Powhatan, VA offers a serene half day & lunch to veterans of any ability or age. 100% disability equipped, veterans & family come 3x a month for the Green hills, level covered pavilion & hospitality. Maybe luck will have you in the area! Google it!

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