Old, Fat and Busted Up

I was in Nam for all of 1970. Made Sgt at age 18 due to doing well in boot camp and ATR. I was in charge of a weapons platoon, M-60s and 60 MikeMikes.

We all have stories from boot camp. Stuff we will never forget. WWII Marines telling the same tales today’s privates experience. Ain’t it great watching some poor bast-rd in the airport heading off to San Diego or P.I.

The story I want to share is from the trip I made to London several years ago. I was 60, limping around from old wounds and getting fatter by the year. My wife and I went to the theatre district to see “War Horse.” During intermission, we went out to stretch in the lobby. A young Brit around 26 years old came up to me with his gorgeous date and asked if I had been a Marine. It really caught me by surprise. I told him yes and I had served with many great Marines in Viet Nam. I asked him what tipped him off. He said he was SAS and had worked with some Recon Marines in the desert and that there was something special about how Marines carried themselves and he could recognize it. I can tell you I stood a little taller at that moment. After the play he and his date insisted on taking us around the center of London for a little tour and some champagne. It was a great night.

So, there you have it. Once A Marine Always a Marine, even when you are old, fat and busted up.

Sgt RA “Hog” Hougher

Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!


  • Harry

    I have had same but,different experience.The first that comes to mind is a trip to a friends sons wedding in Cape Cod. It was held over the Memorial Day weekend. The wedding was held on Saturday so I was able to find a Memorial service the following day at a town square in one of the many communities on “The Cape” The local VFW was conducting the service. I could not help but notice one member of the Honor Guard standing straight,and handling his rifle with more care than the others. After the service I went to him and, without hesitating gave him a “Semper Fi” He looked a little perplexed but returned the same.He asked how I knew he was,and I quote,a “Jarhead”.I told him that if he was standing and,watching from where I was he would know. He noted that he was indeed the only Marine in the Guard. SEMPER FI to everyone!! Harry

  • David S. Martinez

    Have gotten the same type of recognition along the way since my good ol’ days in the Corps back in ’67-’71. The most memorable was a few years ago when I was in my mid 60’s. My wife and I walked into a club and walked around looking for a table to sit at. We found a place which already had two other couples sitting and holding a conversation. They welcomed us and we introduced ourselves. Out of the blue one of the gentlemen asks me, ” Dave, are you a Marine?” “Yes sir”, I answered proudly. “I told you.”, he told the others at the table. He then said, “Welcome aboard Marine!” and shook my hand again. Turns out he is a retired Marine Sgt. Major! I asked him what gave me away. He said, “It’s the way you carried yourself when you walked in.”. I’m 70 now and still walking tall and proud. We still see each other periodically. Oh and I altered my bumper sticker to read, “Still lean, still mean AND still a Marine”! Semper Fi Marines!

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