As a young man I successfully made an attempt to get away from my father by joining the Corps. I managed to get one of my “connected” friends get me a forged birth certificate, because I was only 16 years old, and as soon as I got it I went down to the Marine Corps recruiting office at the main post office in Chicago, Illinois and enlisted. I was subsequently sent out to MCRD San Diego where I completed my boot camp early in 1952 and went to Camp Pendelton with the 1st Marines for advanced infantry training. Immediately after that I shipped out to Korea in late 1952. I served in Korea until the spring of 1953 when I was wounded and sent home.
Arriving back at Camp Pendelton after my recovery from the wounds I had received I was selected to go to DI training for almost three months and then assigned to MCRD San Diego as a junior DI under World War II S/Sgt H. D. Herrington or Bangor, ME. S/Sgt Herrington was an excellent example of what Marines should be, and he taught me how to become a better Marine and train Marines which the Corps could be proud of.
After a couple of years of this I was enlisted for guard company and eventually ended up at Great Lakes Naval Training Center on the North shore of Chicago, my home town. My father was totally unaware of how close I was to home and during one of my leaves to the city I ran in to him and he was totally shocked at how much I had grown up and matured since I had last seen him. He tried to fall in to his old pattern of physically abusing me, but when he swung on me I grabbed his wrist in a vice like grip and drove him to his knees, as I was taught, and told him that his days of abusing me were over.
I thank the Marine Corps for the values I have today and for the experiences which they afforded me. Now that I am retired I willingly volunteer at the local VA hospital in an effort to give back to our men and women in uniform and who served bravely in all of the conflicts we have been involved in. It will be my pleasure to have two of them join me for Thanksgiving dinner and to share what I have with them for their service and their sacrifice.
I have met a young Marine with the 3rd Marines who has just returned from Afghanistan, and thanks to you I was able to get him an Iraqi Freedom ka-bar for Christmas, when he will be coming home to Southern California to be with his whole family.
When I lost all of my medals and ribbons while going through my divorce, I am now able to replace them little by little each month. I will soon have all of them organized once again so that I can mount them in one of your display case.
S/Sgt I. J. Oshana, (Ret)