Always a Marine

C. M. - Longmont, Colorado
Entered on June 22, 2005
Age Group: 65+
Themes: war
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I have noticed as I’ve grown older that my belief has become stronger in one area. The area is in the Marine Corps. As a young man, I joined the Corps five days out of high school; not because of any great belief, but because the idea of serving my country in early 1942 appealed to me. I didn’t know the real difference in the services, but as I mulled it over in my mind I decided the Marine Corps was the place for me.

Attending boot camp at San Diego furthered my belief that I had selected the right service, but I still wasn’t convinced that it should be a lifetime effort. Sure, there was a war on, and I was quickly transferred to a combat zone. I was able to apply some of the knowledge I had gained under well-informed Drill Instructors, but I still felt that, even in the midst of day to day life threatening encounters at Henderson Field on the island of Guadalcanal, that when the war was over I would return to civilian life and forget about the Corps.

September 1945 found my opportunity to take a discharge and resume what I thought would be a normal life. After a few years of being in business for myself, I found I missed the Corps and the camaraderie. By the time the Korean War came along I made up my mind that I should get back in the Marines and do what seemed more natural. I reenlisted. Again I went overseas, served my time in Korea and remained in the Corps for a career. After Vietnam I retired, but unlike many of my peers, I signed a contract to work for the Marine Corps as a civilian and completed another 20 years.

So, from 1942 to 1988 I served the Corps in one capacity or another, and finally as I settled into true civilian life I found myself seeking out other Marines, reading everything I could about our training and how we had improved it. I contact Marine Recruiters every chance I get to talk about the Corps, and have put out a notice to form what I call a “Leatherneck Society” to compare notes on what we find out about Iraq that the media isn’t telling us. I carry Marine decals with me everywhere and give them to other Marines, and never miss an opportunity to say “Semper Fi” to anyone displaying any sign of the Corps. I wear hats, shirts and jackets with Marine Corps emblems.

Yes, my belief in the Corps is more now that I’m 82 years old than it was 20, 40, or even 60 years ago.