Saturday, May 16, 2009
In the fall of 1971 after graduating from Marine Corps recruit depot (MCRD) boot camp in Sand Diego California, I climbed aboard a green cattle bus with my green duffle bag along with 80 other jar heads all dressed in green fatigues. The diesel engine roared and we all sat quietly on green wood benches that lined the sides of the bus. The base quickly disappeared in the dust behind us as we were being sloshed back and forth for over an hour as we traveled up to Camp Pendleton to be trained as M-60 Machine gunners.
Several weeks had pasted and I finally completed the Infantry Training Regiment (ITR) and Basic Infantry Training School (BITS). I was now ready to put my new found skill of becoming a 0331/ Machine gunner into action. I was ready to be shipped off to Viet Nam where the invading North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the Chinese Communist (Chicoms) would be soon tasting the impact of a full metal jacket 7.62 NATO bandolier of rounds being pumped into their rice feed opium bodies with high cheek bone faces with slight overbite teeth by yours truly.
I knew that I was ready, and willing, all I needed was the orders in my hands go.
In the school one of the requirements was to run 300 miles during the course of the training. Every night I would go out and stomp the pavement on the parade deck in my black spit shined boots and run the obstacle course until the sun went down. I finally racked up 300 miles and I weighed in at 155 lbs and not the 225 Lbs that I am currently known to carry.
In the Marines you learned to run every where you went. You name it we ran to it. I recall one evening after I had completed my run. I found myself catching my breath and at the same time admiring the vast beauty of the sky above me which boasted of millions of tiny bright stars, Just stars and no moon. I couldn’t help but realize that God was the author and creator of this vast display of beauty. I was just a dot who needed to place my life in his hands. I found myself talking to Him out loud as I stood there by myself. I told God that that no matter how far away I might stray from Him, I wanted Him to pull me back to do His will in my life even if it made me miserable. All I wanted was His protection and guidance.