Skip to content

Best Officer (Lt. James Capers)

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.

Joe Orlandi

Previous article Finally

Leave a comment

* Required fields