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APR 4, 1968

Total Posts: 2

5:30 pm April 4, 1968, 45 years ago,  my new wife and I rolled into Memphis, Tenn. to attend Naval Avionics School, my first duty assignment in the Marines after boot camp.  We had been married just 6 days, 4 of which spent on the road driving from Boise, Idaho (2005 miles).  We were out of money and only a little gas left in the car, 1967 Opal Cadet.  Linda came out of a Shoney’s Big Boy where she had been applying for a job and found $5.00. in the entry way that saved us until I could get paid.  We went looking for an apartment, and noticed lots of commotion and lots of black people running around everywhere.  Being from Idaho and 19 we had no idea what was happening.

When we got to the first place, the lady said we couldn’t rent her apartment, but that we couldn’t leave.    We didn’t understand and she said, “Martin Luther King has just been shot”.  I asked, “Who is Martin Luther King”?  She proceeded to tell us and why she had no liking for Abraham Lincoln.  All this pretty well shocked us since we were white folks from Idaho and really didn’t have a clue about life in the south and the strife between whites and blacks.  We spent 8 months there until I graduated and we were transferred to El Toro, California.  It was a wild and crazy summer, curfew at 9:30 every night, Woodstock, Civil Rights movement,  hippies, and war protesters, the country was changing.  Being in the corps, a lot of it went by us without being noticed, but for the most part it was all good.  Linda got a job at Military Tailors and I attended school all day.  We lived on my check of $96.00/month and her .85 cents/hour, but free cleaning and alotment check.  We got a German Shepard, named Millie (after Millington, Tenn).  We were young and dumb and that probably saved us. 

Just a few thoughts from an old Marine/Grandpa—-  APR 4, 2013.

Cpl WT Beatty
Nov 13,1967-July 24, 1970

Total Posts: 618

Welcome, William. I was a little less than a year after you and went to school in San Diego. My uncle was about 3 weeks ahead of me at PI and went to the avionics school in Memphis, too.  He always said it was a great duty station, as was San Diego.  The world was changing rather fast at that time. Crazy times, long ago, still seems like yesterday.

Sgt Joe Calvert
Oct. 24, 1968 - Oct. 20, 1972

Total Posts: 2

as long as we’re on the subject of April….I have this as well….

                                                                          Rocket Attack on DaNang Airbase
                April 8, 1970

  I had been in country 3 months working in the H&MS;-11 Avionics section at DaNang Air Base, RVN, repairing UHF radios for F-4, A-6, and other Marine aircraft.  Upon my arrival in January there were 60 radios in the pool and all were in various stages of disrepair.  Within this 3 month period I had all but 1 RFI (Ready For Instalation) and had been given the pleasant task of taking some of our test equipment to Subic Bay in the Phillipines for calibration.  My flight in a C-130 was to leave that morning and as I slept in my bunk around 02:00 I was awoke by the sound of a motor running overhead.  As I opened my eyes I heard the motor shut off.  The surreal sound of whistling commenced and that really got my attention.  I listened for what seemed minutes, but was probably only a few seconds,  as it got louder and louder.  About the time I realized what it was—- it hit.  100 pounds of TNT has a devastating effect on the surrounding area.  The concussion from the explosion must have blown me out of my rack, because all I remember was being on hands and knees staring at the floor.  Shocked I began to bear crawl out the door and into the bunker.  The bunker was made of sand bags with a sand floor.  As we sat there I noticed both my big toes were bleeding profusely.  I had somehow peeled the skin back on both of them and they were full of sand.  Ouch, ouch, ouch.  One of my houch buddies decided we should dump some whiskey on it to prevent infection.  YEEEEOOOOW.  We need to go to sick bay…fast.  I felt pretty dumb, coming back to the area with bandages on both big toes, but after seeing the aftermath of the rocket, I was just glad to be alive.  Turned out it landed 3 houches down from mine, in the same place I would have been sleeping.  There for the Grace of God go I. 
  I left that morning for Subic Bay and didn’t really think that much of it until I got back and got the picture developed.  Sgt Randall Pell was killed and several others wounded severely.  I was once again a very lucky guy.

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