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Began to Box

Began to Box

As a Lance Corporal with 18 months service, I was put in charge of a dorm of freshly minted Marines at Naval Communications Training Center, Corey Field, Pennsacola, Florida. I’m not sure that I needed it, but I soon had an “enforcer” who helped me control the rowdy barracks crowd of probably 75. Kenny was always able to better gain the attention of the others, and help me control the chaos. He was a natural leader that everyone looked up to, PFC out of boot and an all around great guy that everyone liked.

We were being schooled to be “cold war warriors” and after some months, Ken for whatever reason was not able to pass into the advanced phase of training. ( I am certain that the reasons were not academic). He was sent up to 2nd Marine Division, and after arriving there began to box, eventually becoming All Marine heavyweight Champ. I understand that it was for the first time in his life that he had boxed. I have always wondered how far Ken Norton would have made it if he had done the Golden Gloves and Olympics like so many of the people he left laying on the mat.

Tom Piercy
Cpl of Marines

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GREGORY PAWLIK - April 15, 2020

Inter-service boxing matches – 1971. The one I recall was held at a Coast Guard facility in Yorktown Virginia. It was a 4-way event that included Marines and Sailors from NWS Yorktown, soldiers from Fort Eustis and Coastguardsman. The bad thing was that many of the audience were pre-lit with alcohol before the matches began. After a couple of bouts fighting began in the audience as well as throwing wooden folding chairs, it was quite a donnybrook! Unfortunately there was also women and children in the crowd. I remember distinctly that there were only 2 Navy SP in the gym. It got pretty ugly.

Robert Smith - April 15, 2020

In reply to G.R. Archuleta.
Frilot was in my series at MCRD SD in 1959. I Was in Plt. 257. He spent a few weeks of his boot camp on the boxing team . We were lucky and got to go to the “smokers ” I recall he went to the boxing team at Pendleton

MGySgt. Jim Mackin - April 15, 2020

@ Top Pro USMC ’64-’84 — Judging from your comments, I should know you…Do you have a name to go along with the “Top Pro” ?? Get back to me on email direct —

Top Pro USMC ’64-’84 - April 15, 2020

In reply to MGySgt. Jim Mackin.
That’s right, I started my career as a TTY Tech but was denied reenlistment in that field due to a glut of techs. So I switched to operational comm. Along the way I picked up secondaries as 3041 Supply Chief and 8411 Recruiter. When I retired in June ’84 I was a 2591 Comm Chief for Current Operations Branch/J6 USCentCom. Had a great career doing different things. Semper Fi!

Cleve Fair USMCR, E-5 0326 ’59-’65 - April 15, 2020

Hi Tom, Travis & Top Pro, I grew up in Pensacola when Corry was still an airfield flying SNJ’s in th as a e ’50’s. In the early ’60’s as a 3rd Force Recon Team leader I was sent to NAS Corry Station, by then a Communication Training Center to learn Morse Code. I also used Corry tarmac to qualify Marines who applied for jump school (2 mile run in 16 minutes or some such). I felt very much at home at Corry, it was only 2 miles from my parents home in Navy Point, Warrington. In the ’50’s I flew free flight model airplanes in a huge grass field south of Corry where the Navy Hospital is now. SNJ’s were still making touch & goes at the time. Corry also had a fenced paved circle for flying u-control model airplanes which we were allowed to use. One of my running mates dad was Commanding Officer of the USS Antietam aircraft carrier. Your comments about Corry Field brought back a flood of memories as a Marine and as a boy growing up in Warrington.

G.R. Archuleta - April 15, 2020

In reply to Gary Nash 0302.
Gary, I remember the boxers you mentioned. There is another boxer that comes to mind. Maurice Frilot, a Marine who represented the the 1964 Olympic games as a welterweight. Unfortunately he lost. S/F

MGySgt. Jim Mackin - April 15, 2020

In reply to Top Pro USMC ‘64-’84.
I’m guessing that you were a 28xx…It looks like we served during the same time frame…I was a 2891, and retired in February of ’87 after 23 years (ElMaCo – 1st FSSG).

Top Pro USMC ’64-’84 - April 15, 2020

In reply to MGySgt. Jim Mackin.
That’s kind of what I thought, but wasn’t for certain. Thanks for the info, Top. Semper Fi!

MGySgt. Jim Mackin - April 15, 2020

In reply to Top Pro USMC ‘64-’84.
NCTC Corey Field was home to the Special Intelligence Communications courses (257x’s aka “spooks’)…Most of these Marines were sent on to one of our Radio Battalions, or to one of the special Marine companies within Navel Security Group

Gary Nash 0302 - April 15, 2020

Ah, yes, I remember Ken Norton training at the Camp LeJeune gym in ’66. There were a couple of other Marines who many thought may be better than K.N. He learned a lot from Art Redden, also at LeJeune at that time. Then there was Percy Price, Never saw him box, like I did Norton and Redden, because I met Sgt. Price in Vietnam!

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