Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Well a lot has happened since I blogged last....I've abandoned the USMC story...living the past is way to boring plus you can't help but revising history with your memories dancing around in your mind. Today I'm retired...I've been retired since June 1. In the last couple of years, I've started dealing with RA and the medicines to treat it and more importantly, I have two new grand children...Nathaniel who was born almost 20 months ago and Isla who was born barely 3 weeks ago. I'm happy in my role as Papaw and love my grandchildren. Can't wait to watch them grow up and see what they can become and what I can do to spoil them and make them happy.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Well It's been a bit of time since I blogged about MCRD boot camp. My dad suffered a stroke on Jan 5 and died on Jan 21. What does that have to do with the Marine Corps you might say. Well It's really kinda simple. I was the oldest sibling in my family. I was the oldest grandchild on my mothers side. It is said that I was babied, cuddled and every one's favorite. That's a heck of a lotta pressure on a guy. My folks came from good honest work-the-land Arkansas share croppers. My dad always said, "Don't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out!" I guess we all thought Grandpa Turpin was an mean ole cuss, and my dad sorta inherited his outlook on life. My dad lied about his age and joined the Navy in 1943 and went off to WWII all to escape poverty. He quit school after the 8th grade cause he said that he couldn't stand the teasing...he was teased because of his poverty....had to leave school every September right after it started to pick cotton. He had a younger brother as the story goes, died in his arms as he was trying to take him to the hospital by foot. Billy was his name, I think he died of dysentery and diarrhea. Dad was going to make a better life for himself in spite of his meager history. Grandpa Turpin had some land west of Little Rock. Each living sibling got 5 or so acres. Dad built a cinder block house about 10 foot wide and 20 foot long. Before that, we lived in a log cabin about a half mile away. I was 1 or 2 then....too bad I didn't grow up to be President. Back at the house, me, Johnny and Joey all lived in a simple one room block home. We didn't have running water at first so we had to walk through the woods to Grandpa's well and fetch a 5 of water. We had an outhouse...it was a two hole'r. Some years later, they added a kitchen and bathroom on the the block house. Man were we cookin' now. Grandpa convinced the city that he had a farm, well he did have a big garden, and they put in an extra big meter for irrigation. All the houses tied into that meter and voila we have running water. Cycle way forward...but one comment, Grandpa wanted me to be a doctor and take care of him. It seemed that I got the best grades of all my cousins honor roll etc....a lot of expectations. over a 3 or 4 year period, Dad built a frame house on top of the cinder block. It was now a split level but we called the old part the basement. Wood floors modern amenities etc. I haven't mentioned Mom much, she died 11 years ago deserved a better life but at least had a new home back then. It suffices to say that as I became a teenager I had all the pains, pimples, challenges that everyone has. My dad wasn't very concerned with my problems. Like all boys of that day, a car was the deal. We had a '65 Impala and when I got my drivers lic. I got to borrow it some. Many of my friends had cars but I hadn't yet figured out that I needed to work, save and buy one. I made it through high school, even road the buss my senior year, at least most of the time. During football season, some of my friends would pick me up for practice and take me home again. Fighting over a car was a pretty common thing at my house. Fast forward a little---off to college, University of Arkansas....way over my league then. I was salutatorian in high school and pretty smart but not much 'push'. Had a 'sweet heart' back in high school, no money, no car and you can guess...an aching in my heart. Oh and I was pre-med....remember my Grandpa...I sorta flunked/drank/sobbed my way out of Fayetteville and back to home. Remember the cars, conflict again. Mom convinced me to enroll in LRU (Little Rock University) for a semester and I sorta tried. Wasted that money too as it turns out. Good enough for me....Never mind Viet Nam, I was getting the hell outa Little Rock and for awhile, away from my Dad. He always said, "Life's tough all over". I did reek havoc on his cars as a teenager and he said many times, "When ya got kids, that's all ya got." ....went to the airport on October, 13 1969 and I'm on the way to becoming a Marine and a man. That's the connection.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
...well after being up something like about a week with no sleep, we, the new recruits finally head over to a place to sleep. Now MCRD San Deigo is an interesting place...there are real building there very typical of any military installation and the style out there was mostly like California. There's also a bit of real WW1 and WW2 history there....I'm not saying the dates of those great wars but the wonderful quonset hut. These are going to be our homes for now and we have at least that in common with days, many past. A Quonset hut is a lightweight prefabricated structure of corrugated galvanised iron having a semicircular cross section. The design was based on the Nissen hut developed by the British during World War I. The name comes from their site of first manufacture, Quonset Point, at the Davisville Naval Construction Battalion Center in Davisville (a village located within the town of North Kingstown, Rhode Island). If you want to get a picture in your mind, just take one of those round drive way culverts, not the concrete but the metal one, cut it in half blow it up to about 10 feet tall put walls on each end, two doors and voila...home for grunts. Oh and Grunts is what you USMC ground pounders, infantry men, and...there are a lot of other terms I'll explain later....recruits aren't really grunts yet, we're actually nobodys....and that's part of the plan to build Marines outa civilians...first you take all the individual out of an individual....sounds strange doesn't it...then from that amorphous blob and all the blobs around him, you build up a Marine. It works and funny as I'll try to explain later, I rather liked it. Back to sleep...I can't remeber when or how, but we were marched to some quonset huts with our sea bag of stuff which included sheets. pillows and wool blankets with the Eagle Globe and Anchor on it....I think we were just told or orderd to 'stow' our stuff and then....'light's out'...oh and our bed was a standard issue wooden cot. It doesn't matter, cause I just crash....I think I've been up 40 or 50 hours....can't tell any more.....when I wake up and that was some event....I'll blog more.....
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Well, it was a rough 2+ months to get me on my way to bootcamp. My girlfriend then drove me to Adam's Field...that Little Rock International Airport now. I'd never been on a jet before and only once in a small plane. After good byes, it up the stair on a DC9 to Dallas Love field. There were other's there going to San Diego too. We went drinking at a bar in the terminal. I wasn't very experineced at air travel, so I ended up missing my next plane. No problem, they just put us on another plane to San Diego. Well, finally we get there and late at that. This was the few lucky things to happen to me for month. Everyone who got there earlier were standing at attention on the curb and had been for hours. We were the last ones and it was immediately off to the buss. There were these guys in uniforms and they were yelling like crazy at us. My new name was maggot. We were all maggots or ladies. It's a 10 min ride to MCRD San Diego. That Marine Corps Recruit Depot. Through the gates and then off the buss. They have these feet prints painted on the asphalt. We all had to find a place and stand. Lots more yelling. We were in this thing called receiving and there are lots of things to do....the highlights...get all your personal stuff except a watch prepaired to mail back home. Then in a line to get some new clothes. Tres Chic....green utility pants, a sweat shirt, a green cap white boxer shorts, t-shirt and tennis shoes...they were the converse allstar type. Yeeeeehaaaaaaa. And man that hair cut is fun. These civilian barbers tell you to put your finger on a mole in your hair if you have one and then it's buzz buzz buzz gone.......lots of yelling and running here and running there. We learned our first new words, three of them...."Sir, yes Sir." Receiving takes about 20 or more hours. I'm tired thinking about it, so I'll just write more later....Semper Fi.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
So I signed the dotted line....4 years of active duty, guaranteed avionics school...woooohooooo I'm going to be a real Marine. That was about the 13th of August, 1969...problem was with the war going on, there was no room in bootcamp for me so I had to wait 90 days...during that timeframe, I was kinda silly, drank a lot, partied and such. I went to a sorta rural highschool and I guess you could say most of my friends were rednecks. I guess that made me one too....dunno....about a month before I was supposed to leave for bootcamp, I was out for a particularlly heavy night of drinking when a friend a couple of years older than I and freshly back from Viet Nam hatched a plan to keep me from going into the service. Very simply if he beat the crap out of me, they wouldn't take me. Not a bright plan, but...so after about 2 hours of a drunken brawl, our other 'good' friends just left us on the side the road to slug it out. Well, here comes the county Sherrif' amd he don't like what he sees. I just got in the back of the squad car as told, but my friend decided he'd kick some of their butt. Oooooo bad move. Long story short, we spent most of the night in jail after he got out of the ER and I still went to bootcamp the following week. Bootcamp......Marine Corp bootcamp.......
Monday, November 10, 2008
This is just a bit of a teaser. I was 19 in 1969, the summer of love, Woodstock etc. I had spent a half year at University of Arkansas and another half at LRU (Little Rock University.) School was always easy for me but I just didn't study hard. So I had a lot of withdrawals (from class.) I wanted to buy a '69 GTO 'Judge' and needed my Dad to co-sign. Well he'd have no part of that and I just decided it was time for me to 'move on'. After a particularly bad hangover, I asked my girlfriend to take me down to the old court house that Monday morning, I was going into the service. The USMC recruiter was the closest to the front door. Well there was more to it than that, I had taken a friend to the same place many months earlier and he was in Viet Nam (USMC) now so I just thought that that'd be the place for me. Joining was the easiest part, since I had lots of schooling and was good in math, I could go in for four years and get all sorts of neat training like working on electronics, computers etc....heck why not, I wasn't going to be a Doctor anymore....why not go be my own man..................
Sunday, November 9, 2008
This coming week has Veteran's Day. I wonder what that means to people today and in this environment. We're a diverse Country with a tremendous amount of Nationalism and an equal amount of 'agree to dis-agree'...Is there really such thing as a popular war? My dad fought in the war to 'end wars' WWII. So did my father-in-law. I was a Marine from 1969-1973. That makes me a Viet Nam era veteran. That certainly wasn't a popular war. But, my musings are about what do people think of veterans these days....I'm a Vet...I don't feel like I'm different than anyone else but I guess I must be. I'll probably blog more later about being in the USMC. Who's going to care about Vets this week?