Born: 27 November, 1925, Rochester, New York
I was raised in Rochester, New York, the son of a boat builder and carpenter. I attended John Marshall High School. Moved to Arlington, Virginia in August of 1940 and attended Washington Lee High School. Quit school in at the age of 17, to enlist in the Navy. Was turned down without the benefit of a physical. I tried to enlist in the Coast Guard but was also turned away without benefit of an explanation. I then lied about my age and joined the AFL as a carpenter’s helper.
During a lunch break late, in January 1943, I saw a news article that stated they were starting an organization to be called Sea Bees. They too turned me down, but at least they told me why. I immediately went to the Marine Corps Recruiting station and signed up by lying in my answer to the first question on the back of the application. I had previously answered “YES” to that question which was, “Have you wet the bed in the last five years?”
I attended Camoulage School at Camp LeJeune following boot camp at Parris Island before joining Co. D, 2nd Bn., 20th Marines, where I became a member of a .30 Cal. Light Machine Gun Squad.
The 20th Marines were sent to Camp Pendleton in September of 1943 where it later became part of the 4th Marine Division.
After making 3 landings with the 4th MarDiv (Roi-Namur in the Marshalls, Saipan and Tinian) I asked for a transfer into heavy equipment and became a bulldozer operator. I felt real good about being in a much safer MOS. (Didn’t hear too much about bulldozer operators getting killed.) I was given what they call a TD-18 bulldozer (An 18 ton bulldozer) one of the biggest the Marine Corps had at the time. Two weeks after getting the TD-18, I was told to bring it to the mechanic’s shack where they outfitted it with 3/4” armor plate. So much for being in a safer MOS. “I was probably the only Marine wounded on Iwo Jima on D-Day while drinking a beer.”
I was the youngest Marine in Arlington, Virginia discharged on points after the war. I was discharged on October 29, 1945. I met a buddy from my old outfit in March of ‘45, we got drunk and we both ended up back in the Corps. (They had to hold us up while we were sworn in.) I was assigned to guard duty at the Naval Gun Factory in Washington, D.C. In August of 1945 I was transferred to the Leatherneck staff as a mail truck driver. In less than two weeks I became a staff artist and remained with Leatherneck until I was discharged in March of 1948.
After leaving Leatherneck I became the Art Director for Haynes Lithograph in Silver Spring, Maryland (where Leatherneck was printed). I soon left to became a free-lance artist in the D.C. area in the spring of 1950. In April, I joined the Marine Reserve as a Corporal. In June, Korea broke out and on the anniversary of my first discharge I reported for duty at Camp LeJeune, N.C. to draw my uniforms, etc. and to receive my orders to the Philadelphia Supply Depot and the Navy/Marine Corps Publicity Bureau in Pennsylvania. I was immediately assigned to work in the Art Department under MSgt. Paul Woyshner, a Russian citizen (who only had 43 years of active duty). Paul is credited as being the first to utter the words, “Once A Marine, Always A Marine.”
In February of 1952 I requested and received a transfer back to Leatherneck. Rejoining, Lou Lowery, John DeGrasse, Karl Schuon and Bob Brady.They also had a new Colonel in charge by the name of Donald L. Dickson. I eventually became the art director and remained with Leatherneck art staff until September of 1955 when I was transferred to the Engineer School Battalion at Courthouse Bay, Camp Lejeune, NC. I remained there until being honorably discharged in November of 1957.
Upon leaving the Corps I went to Mexico and got a “quickie” divorce and set-up an advertising art and design studio in Tampa, Florida. After a year and a half of struggling to get paid for my services, I ended up in Chattanooga, TN where I had an account from Florida that paid every month… on time.
I moved my studio to Dallas, Texas in 1963 where I took a job as the Art Director for a national magazine called Aviation News Illustrated. There I met Bill Sweet who owned and operated the National Air Show which was featured on the CBS Sports spectacular every summer. I became partners with Bill in a sideline attached to the Air Show which consisted of supplying the programs for the various air shows around the country.
Late in 1963 I opened a successful Advertising Art & Design Studio in Jacksonville, Florida before moving back to the Tampa area in 1968. There I went to work for a former Leatherneck art director, Gene Packwood, at a new agency there. As had been the case at almost every place I’d ever been employed (I was hired for my creativity) the creative part of my job became more mundane everyday and so I left to run my own studio.
My studio was cruising along at full throttle when all of a sudden, a gas shortage combined with a construction slow-down brought my studio to a screeching halt. I took another job in Miami where I gained a lot of experience working on tourist industry accounts such as Ceasar’s Palace in Las Vegas as well as Playboy Clubs International.
Tiring of the Miami scene, I answered an ad In 1975 and was offered a job in Birmingham, AL., replacing the Art Director of an advertising Agency that had committed suicide. After winning many local, regional and national awards including an ANDY for an annual report. I then opened my own design studio in Birmingham before returning to operating my own studio in New Orleans in 1980. In the fall of 1984 I journeyed to San Clemente where Bob Arsenault put my wife and I up for about six months as I struggled to make a go of it in California. I ended up opening a design studio in Costa Mesa called, “The Silver Fox Creative Services.”
My wife passed away in 1989 and I moved back to Birmingham in 1990, marrying a former girlfriend from my days in Birmingham, earlier in my life. After doing freelance work in this area for a couple of years, I became the Special Projects Art Director for Birmingham magazine where I remained for ten years. I left the magazine to freelance the rest of my life away, here in Birmingham.
I have two daughters ( Harriott and Judi) and four grandchildren from my first marriage and another daughter (Linda) and two grandchildren from this marriage for a grand total of 9 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
I am a past vice president of the U. S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association and a past national conference chairman (New Orleans 1983)
I Still work for the USMCCCA preparing the annual journal for the past 3 years as well as doing various graphics projects for the Marine Corps League.