OCS platoon pictures

OCS platoon pictures

Tom Downey wtih his OCS Platoon

Sgt. Grit,

In catching up on back issues of the newsletter, I have seen several boot camp platoon photos this weekend. That reminded me of my own OCS platoon pictures, particularly the one from Senior PLC’s during the summer of ’65 at “Mainside” Quantico, which I have attached.

Our platoon commander was Capt. Fitts (left side, front row). The Platoon Sergeant was SSgt. Yoder, and Sergeant Instructor was Sgt. Mauty (both on the right side, front row, from left to right). That’s me in the next-to-top row, far left–the only one with eyeballs straight ahead, instead of looking at the camera. On the far right side of the same row was my bunk mate, Pete Grimm, who was Art’y Liaison Officer for 3/7 when I was FO for Lima 3/7 in ’67. The candidate holding the platoon sign was Leonard Dornak, later KIA in Vietnam as a lieutenant (named on The Wall). Straight above “Candidate” Dornak in the top row is Fred Cuny.

I’ve read several comments recently about how “oohrah” was not used in the 60’s. Actually, the first time I ever heard that “Recon Growl” or “Tiger Growl,” was on a platoon run during that summer, and it was Fred who was sounding off. I’m not sure where he picked it up, but it definitely sounded “cool.” I expected Fred to go far in the Corps, but that didn’t happen, as I found out later. Fred’s college grades slipped, so he was dropped from the officer candidate program. Instead, he went on the become a major player in the disaster relief field around the world. Unfortunately, in 1995, he was shot by Chechnyan rebels, who suspected him of being a spy, while trying to help the desperate people in that part of the former Soviet Union. His death made the national news. You can read his story in a book titled The Man Who Tried to Save the World, by Scott Anderson. When I did a “Google” search today, I found that a movie was being planned in 2002, in which Harrison Ford was to play Fred’s part. As far as I know, it never materialized.

Semper fi!

Tom Downey
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine
1963-76 (“For pay purposes”)
Vietnam: 4Dec66-18Dec67

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