Regarding the Nov. 6th Newsletter topic: Combat or Non-Combat.
I also was disappointed that I did not see any action in Viet Nam during my 4 years ('67-71). After all, that was the reason I took a leave of absence from college AND also had to have my mother sign a waiver for me to enlist. I was a sole surviving son, my dad having died from illness contracted as a result of WWII action in N. Africa and Italy.
When stationed at MCAS El Toro in 1969-1970 my F4 Phantom squadron, VMFAT-101 was being flooded by returning personnel from 'Nam and none of us in Avionics were getting orders to replace those returning. Other MOSs such as ordenance did receive orders although not many. We did train many pilots and radar intercept officers (RIOS) to go fly in 'Nam and I'm proud to have done that.
Many of us wrote Congressmen but I went one step further; I called my uncle. My Uncle Tony that is or as some of you may have known him, Sgt. Major A.M. Solis. He was back from his second tour in 'Nam and was stationed in Birmingham, Al. running a reserve outfit.
I asked him if he could do anything to get me over there before it was all over. "Come on somebody owes you a marker or two, make the call.", I said. A couple of weeks later he called back saying they didn't need my MOS over there anymore. All that schooling to become a radar tech. on the F4 and nobody needs us, WOW.
He did offer to bring me over to Birmingham and serve with him. "Just what are you doing in Birmingham?", I asked. "Burying Marines coming back from 'Nam." he said. No thanks, I had that duty for most of six weeks while waiting on Avionics school to open in NCAS Millington, Tn. back in '68. I even requested a change of MOS but the CO denied the request saying, "We already spent too much on your Avionics training." WTF!
He eventually went back to 'Nam as Sgt. Major of VMO-2, an OV-10 Bronco squadron but I was already back in college.
Proud to have served and I never will regret it. I fly my Marine flag bought from Sgt. Grits store, wear USMC ball caps, t-shirts and show off my tattoo but not serving in a combat zone will always gnaw at me.
My Marine neighbor and I will host a Marine Corps birthday party for all Marines, other veterans and friends living here where we both live as we have since we met. Pictures are not allowed in the clubhouse or else I would post them later. Sgt. Grit's staff can google my address and see why.
Cpl. D.S. Martinez