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Iwo Jima and Beyond

Iwo Jima and Beyond

I have not written a story to be posted here before, but after reading the latest post about Iwo Jima, I feel compelled to I also have a couple of Marine related questions I can’t find answers to. I am gladly attaching my e-mail, so if anyone can help me-Please Do. I served in The United States Marine Corps from 1966-1970. There is no such thing as a former Marine-I am temporarily unassigned. I was in Vietnam from September of 1967 to October of 1968. I was stationed on Hill 55, a radio man with the 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marie Division. Our regimental Colonel was Col. Reverdy Hall, our regimental Sgt. Major was “Iron” Mike Mervosh.. Right before I retired, I was a bartender at The Marine’s Memorial Club and Hotel, San Francisco, California.

The president and CEO of the Association is Retired Major General Michael Myatt, former commanding General of the 1st Marine Division in Desert Storm. For those who haven’t been there, it is solely funded by various retired Marines and Marine organizations. It performs a vital function. It keeps alive the spirit of the Marine Corps, it is in charge of Fleet Week for the city, it hosts the Gold Star Mother’s Convention and it has a museum of privately donated items (among other Marine memorabilia, they have Pappy Boyington’s Medal Of Honor with the citation signed by The President, Franklin D. Roosevelt-an autographed picture of Ted Williams in his fighter aircraft and an autographed copy of Joe Rosenthal’s Iwo Jima Flag Raising, soon after it was published. A retired Navy chief I met at the V.A., was a photojournalist when he served. He told me that even though the battle for Iwo Jima was fought 72 years ago, it is still considered by photojournalists the world over as the most famous picture ever taken. Among other events, every year they have an Iwo Jima survivor’s dinner-Golden Gate chapter. The first time I met them (that year there were only seven who could physically make it there), I just looked and was amazed. My uncle had been at Chosin Resevoir and the Yalu river, but all he ever talked about was the Marines on Iwo Jima. I am proud of my Marine heritage because of that battle among all others. If anyone can answer any of the following questions, I would be grateful. In the movies about Vietnam, which are actually getting better, (1) I always see the radioman with either a short antennae, or the long one folded over. On my PRC-25, it was always the long one and always all the way up. They told me to just put a target on the top and don’t worry about it, (2) I NEVER had an officer or any one else, for that matter, grab the handset and try to contact anybody-they didn’t know how to call in a medevac and they would have fucked it up, they didn’t know how to run an air strike and drop Napalm, (3) Did anybody besides me get the typical movie (Full Metal Jacket) stream of verbal abuse with regard to race, color, religion, size, ethnic ability) and the accompanying violent physical abuse? It never, ever stopped until the morning we graduated and had earned the title “Marine”. Only then did the Senior Drill Instructor tell us why he did it. It wasn’t the reason you think. But it made perfect sense. I would appreciate any input.

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