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A Voice Bellowed

August 1969

I was preparing to start college while working in a steel mill. At 18 years old this seemed a hard way to get ahead. With out thinking too far ahead I went to the Armed forces recruiter station to join the Navy. I figured how hard can the Navy be (my apologies to all the Docs I certainly know better know how great you guys are). The Navy recruiter was out too lunch and a voice bellowed from the back of the room he will be back shortly have a seat. I am ashamed I don’t remember his name but he was the most squared away looking man I had met in my young life, A Staff Sergeant in the United States Marines. Needless to say while he ate his lunch at his desk we decided the Marines might be just the challenge I was looking for.

In keeping with John Kerry’s opinion of the military I was 4 F I had a speech Impediment and was hard of hearing and very average student in school. So I wasn’t smart enough to use this as an excuse. It took some finagling and kind of looking the other way on the hearing test and I was off in a few weeks to stand on those yellow footprints in Parris Island.

Three years later after serving in Marine Barracks Whidbey Island, Camp Pendleton, USS Okinawa and Vietnam. I felt I had done enough but never forgot what a privilege it was for the United States Marines to let me join their very exclusive club. I did go back and get a 4 year degree and have helped in running several business. Oh by the way as my father Warren White 6th Marine Division WWII always says. Hey Navy thanks for the ride.

Ken White
USMC 1969 - 1972
CPL (twice)

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Dave Vanerstrom - March 27, 2020

Ken, no problem from this old Doc, (USN 1963/65–USMC FMF 1965/67). Great story, and glad to have that Navy ride any day ! Take care my Brother, Semper Fi !

jim angelo ,, 1959 -1965 USMC - March 27, 2020

The only thing I can remember about Kerry, is his testifying in front of Congress as to why We Did Not belong in Vietnam after he returned from RVN !!! ,,and then throwing medals across the fence at The White House. It was reported that the medals were his. FALSE ,,, those medals belonged to one of his boat crew sailors !!!

Burger - March 27, 2020

John Kerry …. wasn’t married to Jane Fonda or something like that ? 😛

Jim Barber - March 27, 2020

Ken’s story sounds familiar. My eye sight was poor so when I stepped in to read the eye chart I just looked at the top letter before I took my glasses off. When the doc asked me to read the first line I could make out I gave him the top letter and said that was it. He passed me. There are some funny stories about getting physicals contributed by other Marines in my book “SH*TBIRD! How I Learned to Love the Corps.” Hope everyone gets a copy. It can be found at Also available on Kindle, Nook, Amazon, Barnes and Noble.

Bob Bliss ’63-’67 - March 27, 2020

I had a similar experience with the eye exam. I made it to end of the physical and when the doc was checking our eyes with a flashlight to see if we were conscience or not, I guess, he asked me if I told them at the eye exam that I wore contact lenses. No. Get back there and tell them. The eye guys said take’em out. Couldn’t see squat after I took them out and not quick enough like Mr. Barber to read the chart before hand. So I just started guessing. Guessing was accurate at all. Finally the eye guys said “F— it. He’s a Marine. Let him go.” . And off to boot camp. I was quick putting them in when reveille went, though.

RD Cook, Sgt 70-77 - March 27, 2020

Ken, I too was on the USS Okinawa LPH 3 in 1972. I joined in February 1970 and went active in June of 70, MCRD San Diego Ist Battalion, Plt 1075 and 1083 (had to go to the physical conditioning platoon to pass the PFT). I was Ships company Marine attached to the portable SOAP Lab on board. Having Flight Status on the CH 46 I got to fly with the Ships Helo. Semper Fi

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