Enlisting in the Marine Corps Reserve in 1948 while still in high school, I went active in January 1950 and, following boot camp, remained at Parris Island as a staff member of the Parris Island BOOT newspaper. I was well qualified in that I could type and was a gofer for my home-town sports editor. The immediate thought was I could go to JO school. Wrong: you had to be a corporal.
In 1951 with Korea going strong, I filled a quota as one of five corporals ordered to Korea via FMFPac for duty with the 1st Provisional Historical Platoon, described only recently by 2008 Denig winner Jim Brady as “probably the most rear-echelon pogue assignment a Marine could get.” He was right. After combat training at Tent Camp II at Camp Pendleton, we were flown to FMFPac, given a two-day brief by 1stLt. Ben Frank, then on to the 1st Marine Division, at the time up north in Korea where we found no one had the slightest idea what we were there for or what to do with us.
Fortunately for me the late Frank Goss, then a second lieutenant in ISO knew of my BOOT duty and convinced the powers that be that he needed me as a correspondent. My first assignment was with the 2ndBn. 5th Marines for seven months, then another five with the lst Tank Battalion. Having reported as a corporal, I left 13 months later as a staff sergeant. ALMAR promotions were a wonderful thing! Now for JO School. Wrong: I had too much rank.
Following two years working for the late Clay Barrow (later Naval Institute Proceedings editor) as a sports information director at Quantico, I was assigned recruiting duty as a PANCO in Pittsburgh, PA. Barrow later moved to the 3rd Marine Corps District in Philadelphia and, needing an editor for the District newsletter, had me transferred.
Following the Ribbon Creek incident in 1956, I was sent TAD to Parris Island and spent the summer at SSgt. McKeon’s trial. On immediate return to Philadelphia I received permanent orders back to Parris Island and took over the BOOT newspaper as editor, remaining there until 1959. I was the last technical sergeant selected in 1958, but never wore the six stripes as the Corps underwent the rank structure change and I and thousands of others tacked the “acting” on to our ranks with crossed rifles.
I reported to MCAS Kaneohe Bay as editor of the Windward Marine in 1959, under the late Capt. Bob Arsenault and had a great staff that included Al Steele as my assistant and Jim DiBernardo as my sports editor.
When Maj. Bob Morrisey reported aboard in 1961 I moved up as press, then info chief until the arrival of MGySgt. John Funk. (As Gary Cameron would later say, Funk “came late to the field.” In any event he outranked me.
Following two years as PANCO again, this time at MARTD, Atlanta, I reported to the Danang Press Center in August 1965. With action increasing in the Chu Lai enclave, I was ordered south and erected my squad tent with the 4th Marine Regiment where I stayed, working with civilian press, until my commissioning in May 1966.
I reported to the old 6th Marine Corps District in Atlanta following my RVN tour and, three years later in late 1969 retired as a captain and Assistant PAO.
A word about education and the Corps. I had no formal Marine Corps schooling beyond attending Temple University for two+years during my Philadelphia tour. I did pass the USAFI college level test. What counted most was that I had great Marine “teachers” including Barrow, the late Roy Carbine, the late Charley Houts, and most especially my pal and mentor, the late Bob Morrisey.
This paid off in retirement as I moved into an upper mid-level management position with the GTE Corporation where my job soon evolved into one working with state legislatures and the Congress.
After 18 years I took early retirement from GTE in 1987 as Director of Government and Community Affairs and immediately went to work for the United Way of America as Manager of Corporate Relations, Southeast, working with Federal Express, Coca Cola, and Bell South under a Ford Foundation grant that expired in 1991.
My worst (and final) job came immediately thereafter when the North Carolina Girl Scouts offered me the position of Fund Development Director. After overseeing the selling approximately of $10 million dollars worth of cookies in a two year period and working in an all-female environment, I decided that I had had enough fun and moved to Florida in 1994.
My life hobby has been golf and, thanks to military retirement and the great perk of space-a flying I have been able to play most of the world’s top golf courses I still hold a country membership at the Whitekirk Club in North Berwick, Scotland.
My wife Pat, who handles the mailing of your quarterly newsletters, helps keep me straight at our residence at Continental Country Club in Wildwood, FL.