Skip to content

Never Volunteer!

I was stationed at MB, NWS, Concord CA from April 1966 until September 1967 assigned to the first guard platoon. Google Port Chicago Explosion for some background on the base. All we did was security,gates, tower, walking posts , and truck patrols. We also did escort duty back and forth to all the Navy bases in the Bay Area usually in pick ups or tractor trailers. At that time we were day on/day off weekend on/weekend off. We caught the demonstrators from UCAL Berkeley from time to time, but mostly we stood guard. One day on an off weekend we get a call from the captain that they need 4 Marines to go to Oklahoma City for something. Sounded different than standing post so 4 of us volunteered and went to the guard house in greens with our rifles. Once we hit the guard house we got a ride in a pick up truck and we thought we were off to get on a munitions train for a run to Oklahoma City, we had trains loading and unloading at Concord on a daily basis so that was why e expected a train run,anything is better than standing the same old posts everyday we left Concord and arrived a short time later at Mare Island Naval Shipyard where we thought we would get our train to Oklahoma City we drove around the base for awhile and pulled up next to a guided missile cruiser. When we saw the ship we realized that by now the Captain was really laughing at the trick he pulled on us! The ship was the Oklahoma City and there would be no train ride for us! We were then instructed to board the ship and met a GySgt from the Marine Detachment on the Oklahoma City. He then told us why we were here and what we were going to do next! We did at least get a good cup of coffee! We were then taken to the side of the ship and shown a barge (lighter) in the water (screw the nautical terminology for side). A Navy officer explained that each one of us was to stand on a corner of the barge as it was being towed from Mare Island to Concord Naval Weapons Station. Weapons from the cruiser had been offload and we going to be taken to Concord. The Oklahoma City had just returned from service off Vietnam. The weather gets a little chilly in the Bay Area especially if you’re traveling standing on a corner of a barge. The Navy officer agreed that we could be security from the deck of the tug, two on the deck by the stack and the other two could sit in the galley to stay warm.

Now it gets interesting, we are ready for a cruise in the strait of something from Mare Island to Concord, pretty straight forward and we expected to be the laughing stock of the Marine Barracks when we got back!

Sounds simple but now the real fun began! The skipper of this tug decided to run us up on a sand bar at a pretty good speed which resulted in an immediate stop, dead stop, deader than dead. My M-1 was against the stack and immediately went airborne, I could see the court martial in those very first seconds, but it just landed on the deck and we were all okay along with our rifles,The barge we were guarding did not stop with us and drifted a bit before slowing down and stopping. The Navy skipper huffed and puffed his tug but we could not get loose until the tide rose in a few hours. The 4 of us the took positions on the tug to prevent being boarded by pirates! Yes there were a lot of laughs when we finally arrived at or duty station!

A few weeks later the Captain gave us tickets to a Giant game Candlestick Park!

Can’t make this stuff up!

Semper Fi

Art Montegari
Ridgewood NJ
then Brooklyn,  NY

Previous article USMC superior training


David kennedy - April 7, 2020

In reply to Richard W. Morrison.
Who were you with at HQMC

Harry - April 7, 2020

In reply to MIKE HILL.
Reminds me of a story my Dad told me.My Dad ,a Coal Miner, was drafted during WW2 and while in training the DI asked if there were any coal miners in the platoon.So my Dad,thinking he might be sent home to go back to work in the mine,raised his hand and shouted “I am Sir!” He ended up shoveling coal at some heating plant on base for two days. I never volunteered for anything!! Harry THANX FOR THE MEMORY! SEMPER FI

Steve Logan - April 7, 2020

I was stationed at MarBks NWS Seal Beach in 1965 for a little while. Transferred to MarBks Naval Base Long Beach several months later. Served there from late ’65-68.

Paul D Rowe - April 7, 2020

Enlisted July 10, 1956. Stationed at Camp Geiger with 8th Motors for 2 years after I.T.R. Staff Sgt has the company fall out. He asks for volunteers , no hands raise. He picks every 3rd man as volunteers. They move to a “duck” company and end up on a 6 month Med cruise. Great pics of the girls on paddle boats greeting the troops.

Bob Deane - April 7, 2020

My name is Bob Deane. Was assigned to VMFA 232. Any other Marines in the years 1972-73.

bob lake - April 7, 2020

In reply to Richard W. Morrison.
Hi Richard I was stationed at NWS Yorktown from 2/58 to 9/60.I was assigned to Marine Barracks 2nd Guard Company Special Weapons Annex Skiffs Creek.We provided security for the perimeter ,storage,assembly and movement of special weapons.We had to have Top Secret.clearances to pull this duty.Therefore,most guys spent there entire enlistments at Yorktown.I had an opportunity to transfer to “K Bay” in 59 but I would of had to extend my enlistment for a period of three years.Were you stationed at Main Side or over at the “Creek”?

Leave a comment

* Required fields