I was USMCR ’57 to ’63, a Cold War Marine, later I served as a Los Angeles Co. Sheriff’s Deputy with my last 24 years assigned to SEB/ESD, Special Weapons Team and Paramedic Air Rescue.
My youngest son, Mike, told me when he was 15 y/o, that he wanted what I had, the camaraderie and the brotherhood. (That’s pretty much what he grew up with, the Marine Corps and a SWAT Team). He joined the Marines right out of high school and made it into 3rd ANGLICO, spending six weeks with the SEALs in Coronado to get his MOS and then LASD when he was 19. He went to Iraq with 150 other deputies from the department in January 2003.
Mike was part of an 18-man British Spec-Ops Team (think Marine Force RECON) and was operating way behind enemy lines when the war began. Upon his return almost eight months later, he called, asked where I was working security, then came out to see me. At that time, I was working at WAMU Bank in Anaheim Hills with a retired LAPD undercover Narco guy who had been a Corpsman with the Marines in Nam.
Mike came out with a little vial of sand and a box that was obviously a bottle. I asked him what the vial of sand was and he said, “My first engagement, dad. We were right up against an Iraqi Division and got jumped by an Iraqi Company sized force of about 200-300 guys.” My partner and I both said “Jesus, what happened?” Mike said, “We killed them all, dad, we burned them down.” (Mike was 23 y/o at this time, and all I could see was the little kid that used to go everywhere with me riding on my shoulders). This little 15-man British Spec-Ops Team with 3 United States Marines, wiped out a company sized force of bad guys.
I then opened the box and it was a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue. Mike said that was for everything we had ever talked about and everything I had taught him, because it had righteously saved his f-ckin’ life over there. That old SEB/ESD attitude and bushido warrior mentality.
Well, even though the bank was still open and we were still working armed security in the parking lot, we cracked that bottle of high-dollar scotch, I got some Styrofoam cups, and all three of us toasted each other, and all combat vets, slapping each other on the back and blowin’ snot bubbles with the tears rollin’ down our cheeks. And, that’s all I have to say about that…
PS – The Team that Mike was with was designated Lightning 3/4, and they sustained 40 percent casualties during their combat operations in the field.
Saepius Exertus, Semper, Fidelis, Frater Infinitus,
Mike Kennard, Cpl of Marines, 161—-