D Company 1st Battalion, 1st Marines United States Marine Corps
0311 Infantry Rifleman
Years of Service: Jan 5, 1966 – Jan 5, 1968
Wounded Sept 23, 1966
I was drafted but when I arrived at Union Station in Kansas City we could sign a “dream sheet’ indicating which branch we wanted to join. Out of 150 other guys I was the only one that wrote my name under the Marines. But because they wouldn’t send just one guy to the Marines, a couple guys from Brookfield, plus a few more guys I didn’t know, were also chosen to join the Marines with me.
I traveled to many places I had never been before-San Diego for boot camp; Tijuana, Mexico, where I ran for the border one night, and of course Vietnam. What surprised me was how medieval Vietnam was, with the way it looked and the resources people had. Someone once said “we’re going to knock them back to the Stonehenge,” meaning take the Viet Cong back to prehistoric times. I looked around me and thought, they’re already only a few steps ahead of prehistoric times.
I was awarded a Purple Heart in 2018, 52 years after being wounded in Vietnam.
When boarding one of the big cargo planes, we walked on and another Marine looked at the pilot and said, “this plane stinks!” The pilot replied, “it’s not the plane, it’s you that you’re smelling.” We didn’t know though; we wouldn’t shower for weeks on end.
Favorite quote about the Marines:
“The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!” – Eleanor Roosevelt