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Non Vietnam Vet

I enlisted in the Marines in Feb.,1966 while I was a senior. I entered boot camp July, 1966. Went to infantry training a Pendleton and then supply school at Camp Lejeune. When leaving school, we were given three choices. Over seas, west coast, east coast. I chose over seas because I thought being in the Corps for four years I would go to Viet Nam sometime I might as well get it over. When my orders came, they sent ten of us to MACS-2 at Kaneohe Hawaii. Next duty was C&E Bat. at San Diego. As such, I never refer to myself as a Viet Nam Vet. I just served during the war.
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Robert Laquerre - April 15, 2020

Wearing a uniform in home town USA in 1970 meant I was a rapist and a baby killer, it didn’t matter if I wore a single NDR or a full chest w/VSM at least to those calling me those horrible names. It meant that the proudest thing I had ever accomplished up to those early years was denied. I learned to wear civilian clothing in the streets of Jacksonville, Oceanside and in my home downs while on leave. They were difficult times for VietNam veterans and non VietNam veterans alike. The public didn’t or couldn’t recognize the difference. After being discharged I returned home not expecting any fanfare from the public. But, what I did not foresee was the treatment I would receive from my own peers who served in VietNam. I didn’t fit, didn’t belong, wouldn’t understand. My friends and my own brother w/ 6 mo.’s in country couldn’t recognize my service and never spoke to me regarding his experiences. As a Marine I simply followed orders and did as I was told.
So what am I? A Vietnam veteran for being treated like one from the public, or a Vietnam era veteran because that is what my brothers call me! I never called myself a Vietnam veteran and still bitter for what took place during those times. I am now proud to be called a Marine and grateful for those who make us and the public feel proud in that way.
Many thanks to those who submitted their stories in this regard and supported those who were not in country.


WILLIAM PARKER Corp 66-68 - April 15, 2020

I was drafted in Feb 66. Thought I would die at MCRD. Went from 155 lb. to 185 lb. Radar school, then MACS 2 in Hawaii. Discharged Feb 68 during TET. The Marines in Nam did not need me.

CWO-5 Noble Callaway USMC Retired. - April 15, 2020

When I enlisted in November 1966 I was told that 90% of Marines leaving boot camp would have orders to Vietnam. So when my wife, mother and grandmother asked me not to volunteer for Vietnam I agreed knowing I would be going anyway. Who would have thought that I would be part of the 10% who would get orders elsewhere. In my case I spent two years a sea going Marine. I left there a sergeant and again thought I would receive orders to Vietnam. Instead I was sent to Califorina and to my surprise was ordered to work at the base brig. After serving there 10 months I finally received orders to Vietnam and served in I Co 3/5.

Paul Kellty - April 15, 2020

Hey Carl, what unit at MCRD? I was there from June 68 until August 68. DI’s name was SSgt Noakes.

Gunny Jim – South Carolina - April 15, 2020

I signed up on 12.27.72. Volunteered for Nam. Made it to 4th FSR, 3rd MarDiv. I was willing able and ready to go. Never met a “Korean Era Vet”. What the hell! Volunteered for Desert Storm, sent to England for Welfare and Casualty Support. I would do it again. There was a Marine who was counting on someone to have his 6, that would be me. Screw labels. Semper Fi

Tom Yarbrough, Cpl. - April 15, 2020

Much the same story with me. Served from 11/61 to 03/66. Got as far as Iwakuni with numerous trips to Okinawa but never to Nam. Obviously I wanted to go to Viet Nam, but now I am just glad to have served and am proud to be a Marine.

Lonnie King - April 15, 2020

SEMPER FI Jim you served !

William Border - April 15, 2020

I am a combat veteran of Vietnam, I served with Bravo 1/9, from the time the battalion was reactivated in March 1965, until I was rotated out in March 1966. During that time, we inflected so many casualties on the enemy, General Giap promised he would destroy us by his birthday, March 17, 1966, he we were “Di o Chet” meaning Walking Dead. We proved him wrong. I only tell you this so you know we all did the job we were ordered to do. For every combat Marine there are at least seven other Marines in support of him. Their job is necessary to keep the combat Marine supplied and cared for. The job you were ordered to do, you had no control over. You did your job. Be proud of it, we needed you to complete our mission. Thank you for your service. Semper Fi Marine.

Lynn Webster - April 15, 2020

Semper Fi,you could easily been sent to Nam.Be proud.LB Webster 66-70,Nam 68.

James Kanavy - April 15, 2020

You do not owe an apology to anyone! “According to the needs of the service” means you go where they send you. Vietnam Era is not an embarrassing title. Semper Fi, Marine!

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