Saturday, May 16, 2009
Once a Marine always a Marine
January the 19th 1971 was a day I’ll will never forget as I made my way to the third floor of the Huntington Indiana court house to meet with the Marine Corps Recruiter.
I had it in my head for the past two and a half years after my brother Dan, a scout sniper in the Marine Corps was wounded in Vietnam at age 20 on Dec 7th 1968 during the Meade River Operation, this is what I wanted to do and there was nothing that was going to stop me. I was now 18, and on this day and I decided to step forward and enlist in one of the finest Military organizations in the world, The United States Marine Corps. It was one of the best decisions I had ever made.
I felt right about my decision and without any reservations I took the pen from the recruiter and signed up for three years of service. I felt that two years was like sticking your toes in the water, but enlisting for three years was like jumping in with confidence.
The recruiter himself could have tried to discourage me but I still would have joined. I had signed up on a 180 day delay program which allowed me to complete my High School obligation and to graduate.
I remember walking home to tell my Mom the news of what I just did. As I entered the house she was standing in the dining room and without hesitation I told her what I had done. The room became silent and she gently placed both of her hands on the maple drop leaf table and she slowly lowered her head as tears began to flow down her cheeks.
I know I had bewildered and perhaps disappointed my Mom but it was an obstacle that every parent eventually has to work through as time marches on even though I meant no harm to her.
July 18th, High school graduation was over and I was now in San Diego, California standing on the famous yellow foot prints at MCRD as a Marine Corps Drill instructor was bearing down on us while we were getting all of our hair shaved off. Shortly afterwards we stripped off all of our “contaminated civilian clothes” and sent them home to our parents.
As new recruits from all across America we made our way through those sacred doors and began the next nine weeks of grueling challenges to undue our civilian’s ways and mindsets and to be reprogrammed as a disciplined “leatherneck”, “jar head” fighting machine. The Corps! OOOOOOOORah!!!
I could go through all minuscule details of my experience in The Marine Corps boot camp but only a few fun moments stick out as humor such as;