Best Officer (Lt. James Capers)
Thank you, Lt. Capers wherever you are, Happy 232nd Birthday and Semper Fi???..Sir!
My MOS was motor transport; I completed my first Vietnam (VN) tour in 1967 with Whisky-1-13 a 4/Duce mortar unit. I was looking to do something different. I volunteered for a security post not really knowing what it was all about. I filled out all the paperwork and did not hear anything for a long time. Figuring I was rejected, I continued my duties with 8th Com BN at Camp LeJeune NC as a mechanic. Then in March of 1968, I was assigned to Marine Barracks (MB) Fort Mead, MD. During this period the MB provided physical security for the National Security Agency.
I met Lt. Jim Capers shortly after my arrival. My first impression was, (where did they find this guy)? His uniform was impeccable. He carried himself with the most military bearing I have ever seen. He was a soft spoken marine who commanded respect by his mere presence without saying a word. His over all knowledge of the security program was extremely impressive. Like most officers an enlisted man does not get to now much about them directly. I spent about three years with Lt. Capers. During that time I found out that he was from the enlisted ranks and was given a commission for his actions in VN. He was awarded the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. According to rumor, Lt. Capers did not have to do the physical fitness test (PFT) due to severe leg wounds from a machine gun. I can remember struggling during the PFT and there was Lt. Capers trotting right past you, giving you a word of encouragement as he passed and giving the impression he could run forever effortlessly. You never knew that or if this man had any physical issues.
The one thing I will always remember the most about him is his leadership by example. I have a copy of the Marine Corp Leadership Traits in my office as a reminder of how a leader should conduct business. When I read them I think of Jim Capers. I retired from the corps in 1985 and finished my career in aviation electronics with HMA 369. Some of you old timers may remember Lt. Capers on a recruiting poster in the late sixties (Ask a Marine). I believe to this day, my contact with this one marine officer in my early years was a major influence in my decision to stay in the corps.
I found out today that Jim Caper is a retired Major. If anyone has his E-mail please forward this to him.
MSGT USMC Ret.