This page is confined to photos and stories about but one of the old Corps' service periods: 1958 through the early 1960s.

( Left Click images to see a full sized image. Then, Right Click on the full-size photo and "save" it on your computer!!! )

Perhaps you that can still recall a very long Trailways bus trip from where you first raised your hand and gave allegiance to "God, country and the Marine Corps." If not, think back as your read the following:

First Step in a Rat Race - written by Ed Shea in 1963

The dampness of the April evening air seeped through whatever openings were available and covered forty-three passengers of a Carolina Trailways bus with what felt like a wet towel. A fortunate few shared a light jacket with the person next to them. Most wore little more than light weight shirts that offered no protection against the penetrating chill.
Passengers assumed every imaginable position in their attempts to obtain a little warmth. Some curled up in positions so twisted that, in comparison, a contortionist would seem as awkward as a baby with its arms hung up in its bib. And, after several moments and thinking about how ridiculous it all looked, I smiled, turned sideways in my seat, pulled my shirt up around my head, drew my legs as close to my chest as possible, folding my arms over them, and laid my shirt covered head against the leather seat, shivering for what seemed like an eternity.
It was not long after my last shift in position and feeble attempt at getting some sleep, that the driver announced our having "only ten minutes to enjoy one last cigarette" before arriving at our destination. An air of excitement spread throughout the bus and, while heads sprang up, tired hands reached into shirt pockets for crushed cigarette packs. Some of the men, since none of us knew for sure when we would have another cigarette, smoked two at a time. The bus seemed a little warmer then, perhaps because of all the movement and smoking being done; and if you took time enough to notice it, all eyes could be seen focused on only that part of the road directly in front of the bus.
Within a few minutes the bus began to slow. The driver signaled, made a right turn and where there had been nothing forward of the bus’ lights for nearly two hours was spread an enormous array of flood lamps. Two rows lay parallel and facing one another, with perhaps twelve feet between each lamp. Centered between these rows was a fence, topped with barbed wire, which could prove itself to be quite an obstacle; and...we were told...nine days later did when three men were shot, one fatally, while attempting to climb it. The only opening in this fence was the road that led through it; and built on a median that separated the incoming and outgoing traffic was a sentry’s shack, from which our driver was given a signal to continue.
With the bus having passed through what was thereafter called the "Maingate," all those passengers sitting to the right of the aisle leaped from their seats and huddled with those on the left . The object of all our attentions was a sign of simple design: thirty feet long, perhaps 12 high with a bright red background and gold lettering. But what it said, manifested visions of things that not a single one of us had ever endured. Flood lamps, of the same type that had so effectively lit the area around the fence, were also used to illuminate the sign:

U. S MARINE CORPS RECRUIT TRAINING DEPOT
PARRIS ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA

In the three months that were to follow, each of us was to find himself wishing that what he was living through was really a nightmare and that it would all end as abruptly as it started. Those same months, however, were filled with other experiences. Hundreds of them that molded new personalities, as well as bodies, from the flotsam that had come through the maingate that one April evening. We were provided with information invaluable to those considering a military career and furnished with a measure of discipline we would all find useful for the rest of our lives.
With the fifteen hour bus ride nearing its end, I suddenly realized that what I had thought of as having been a long trip was merely the flexing of a leg muscle for the first step in a very long journey.

Some photos to help you remember.

But I can't help but think you've got a few mental images that you'll NEVER forget.

Here are some photos provided by Solant Amity participants that go WAY back to those days on Parris Island when the sand fleas were the Drill Instructors' pets. And "Whoa to you!" if you wish to kill one:


"Are you telling me, Private Carter, THAT is your very best Platoon 222 KILLER FACE!!??"


John Lemongelli ,
Grad Day (Platoon 321-59)

"Kid" Kisielewski kickin' back
while snappin' in.

"This your home, boy?"
George Miles (Platoon 321-59)

Francis Davis - Guide-on Bearer (Platoon 321-59)

"Hmm? Pole 1 to hole 1, tighten
guideline. Got it!" George Astorga

Your General Orders - Should you have forgotten them, its time to refresh your memory:

    1. To take charge of this post and all government property in view.
    2. To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert, and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.
    3. To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.
    4. To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guardhouse than my own.
    5. To quit my post only when properly relieved.
    6. To receive, obey, and pass on to the sentry who relieves me all orders from the Commanding Officer, Officer of the Day, officers and non-commisioned officers of the guard only.
    7. To talk to no one except in the line of duty.
    8. To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.
    9. To call the Corporal of the Guard in any case not covered by instructions.
    10. To salute all officers, and all colors and standards not cased.
    11. To be especially watchful at night, and during the time for challenging, to challenge all persons on or near my post and to allow no one to pass without proper authority.

[Now: As your wife or "sweety" lies sleeping, you will stand at bed’s foot and recite them one hundred times...in a whisper.]

But as you know, it wasn't always "fun:"


"Echo"-2-6, Feb '61
“Cold Weather and Mountain Familiarization Practices”
Smokey Mountains
Asheville [Region], NC

Lt. Johnson awaits order to "climb."

"Uhhh, its a piece of cake."

Ed Shea, awaiting "liberty call."

At the top...next morning

Still not there but ever "almost."

Rim, Silberg, Shea
"A head of their time."


"King of the head."

On the way to the top.

"Could you take my picture?"

Summit: 16 hours-6684 feet later.


At the top


Topographical Map 1

2Topographical Map 2

COMMENTS:

Rodney "Bird" Parrott ( rodneyparrott@bellsouth.net ): I was with Echo Company on Mount Mitchell in North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest during the [brrrr] cold weather training episode, with an 81 mm Mortar detachment from H&S.
After crossing the river we forced march all the way up. I helped a fellow Marine from Echo's Weapons Platoon to hump his .30 Cal. machine gun for about forty-five minutes. Later, when reaching the top, I was greeted by a high ranking officer who saw me carrying the entire mortar system after having to "tag & bag" my entire squad. They all came down with pneumonia. The rule is you don't leave any part of the mortar behind. Soooo, you can probably imagine how I felt when, with my humping all that gear...pack, cold weather equipment, my personal weapon and the entire mortar system...that "oh-so-proud," smiley-faced officer didn't help in any way but instead held out his warm hand and said "Well done Marine!"
By the way, do you remember the tavern where we fought those lumberjacks? They came in and one boldly announced "I can whoop any two Marines in this place." I can't for the life of me remember his name but one of our platoon sergeants proclaimed "You might try me first." Well, then we all got into it and went so far as to tear the bar out of the floor! Imagine that. And the owner of the bar told the cops that it was the lumberjacks' fault and that he didn't want to press any charges. Then, he added, ""It was one of the greatest fights I've ever seen. And worth it all!!!"
My wife tells me I'm getting old because I'm always bringing up the past.
[Note: Welcome to the club, Rod. There's not one of us, with a "bride" remaining, that hasn't been hearing the same line for at least a decade. OooRah! And keep those memories rollin' on. Semper fi, "Bird;" Ed Shea]

Think for a moment about those places in which we lived, ate and worked. And then there were the "stresses" of liberty in foreign places and "Oooooh, those many vaccinations...."




Lemongelli & Neuman

"THIS is a following rod John."


J-ville Pawn Shop -
Courtesy of Arch Fuller



Neuman, John Hynes, John
Lemongelli, Rocco Minicone,
Emmit Holmes and more, at the
Guantanamo Bay Top Hat Club

Remember...

Battalion Messhall - 1960,and those 3am to 6pm work- days, at $3.00/day?


John Lemongelli - 2/6 Barracks Area

"PREEESENT...ARMS!"

Shea & DeZutter
Dressed for Mess Duty

Dem' damn shots,
"Arrrgghhh!!!!!"


George Bistoli's
Liberty Card

[ Good for Forty + Years ]
...Hee, hee!


Joe Teklits & Frank Hart
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba


Rodwell and Landry
Location Unknown

Camp Garcia
Viegues, Puerto Rico

Fusco & Greco - A casual moment - LST 1176

Charlie Wilson & Dave Prescott in Cadiz, Spain.


<< Photos provided by
Charlie Wilson, retired Philadelphia cop and former member NCIS
in Florida.
[Died 11Sep09]

See Biography >>>>


Charlie Wilson on
Graham County - LST 1176

Where's the War??? - written by George Bitsoli in 2002

"The only time we again used the [Amtracs] was during the First Independence Day Celebration of Liberia, when we landed with much fanfare, the firing of blanks, the pretense of blood curdling screams and ... 300 yards off the scheduled mark. The Liberian President, his entourage and numerous American representatives stared in awe at the military might of America arrayed before them, as we flung ourselves from the rear of the Amtracs and learned that we had to run south along the beach and then flank left before proceeding, in line, to "attack" the onlookers. We were devastating!"

 

Those above comments from the Home Page remind me, I am not sure who else will recall, of an incident on Viegues when we had a similar misfortune.
Yes, Sir. Yes Ma'am. Our elders of the Pacific Campaigns during the Big WWII sure would have been proud of us that day.
The landing craft we were in somehow lost its bearings; and while the "war" raged elsewhere on the island, we hit the wrong beach. Frustrated, we scrambled through the tall grass and ever rambling hills trying to link up with friendly units.
About that time, we were accosted by some brass bearing officer ranting, "Hey! What are you doing all the way over here?"
To which some panic stricken soul yelled, "Sir, we're running a surprise envelopment behind the aggressor forces."
"Great thinking Marine.....Carry on."
"Aye, Aye, Sir !" and boy, did we ever haul butt!

How about some more photos of the people, equipment and events of the times?

Three young souls in the middle of 'Tent City' Camp Garcia, Viegues, Puerto Rico:

"Mosquito nets, DDT spread weekly, kunai grass, a good cup of coffee and chiquitas on the side of a hill. What more could a man ask for in life?"


Kalesnic, Sutphin, Kollai


John Lemongelli and an
unidentified Marine, onboard
USS Boxer LPH-4


Doctor Thomas Poole
Dentist aboard USS Hermitage


And "Grasshoppers"

Grease, Rifle 180-A
Lubriplate

Much MORE Lubriplate

Landry, Martin and Shippert
in the Boondocks
USS Graham County LST-1176

Jack Oaks- Crew Member



NCO Leadership School Certificate
for Stanley Morris 1959

USMC Guidebook


P-38 Can-Opener

Red Beach, Vieques, PR

Mameluke Sword

Getting better with the .45

The innards of a trashed
H-34 "Grasshopper" >

Rocco Minicone's Shellback
Certificate 22Dec60 for


Lemongelli and another chopper
type on the USS Boxer LPH-4


USMC Issue Sewing Kit

Wall Locker Display

Clothing on the Bunk


Field "Junk" on the Bunk

The then newly issued

USMC Short Sleeved Blouse
Did you have one like this?

Bent, emeried, Brassoed to
salty perfection "Battle Pin."


Helo Off the Spiegel Grove

Browning Automatic Rifle
(Live Fire Demo)



Bandage Packaging


LSVP [Higgin's Boat]
USS Vogelgesang DD-862

Stan Morris- 1st Platoon

Cargo lowered from an APA

Lest we forget our Navy brethren:

In part because of a tongue in cheek remark I'd made about George Bitsoli [USMC] still possessing a "72 hour pass," Ron Kellar-USS Vogelgesang Crew Member (RBKellar@aol.com) on Memorial Day weekend of 2011 came clean about his still having his "late sleeper" chit:


Front


Back

He also explained that: ""OC" Division is "Operations, Communications" Division. Being a Signalman, I was in communications and that was lumped under Radioman, Quartermaster...as Operations. Also, the late sleeper chit was given to those that stood the midnight to 0400 watch. It allowed them to sleep until 0700 instead of 0600. Each division had similar chits for their particular division. The cord was so you could wrap it around the aluminum rack one's canvas mat was roped to. These chits were prized items and I don't remember now how I ended up with it...but I got it AND I USE IT!"
[ Editors note: Damn! The things you learn if you live long enough. Think of the times in your life when you could have used a "chit" like Ron's to keep someone from waking you after a night of labor or debauchery.
Oh, and I didn't miss that bit he mentioned about grabbing some extra "zzzzs" after a midnight-to-0400 watch, either. Imagine, if you will: Work 0000-0400, make your way back to a rack on an aircraft carrier...not the short walk Ron may have had on a destroyer, you then get to crap-out and sleep ONE more hour than the rest of the crew, until 7 am, before doing whatever it is the Navy deemed it necessary for you to do. Ohh, yaaaah. The "sailor's, or any service life, for me....!" You betcha. Then again, the Navy always did have access to coffee.

Then on 1/6/13, after Ron received some recipes for both White and Red SOS sauce I'd distributed to the Solant Amity I clan, he sent the following email about his efforts in restoring the Destroyer DD-724 Laffey in the Charleston, SC museum.]
"Ed, Thanks. I am printing these recipes out and will send to other shipmates. We get some SOS when we work in the Destroyer DD-724 Laffey in the Charleston, SC museum. We pay $9 a day to work fixin' up the ship to look like it did when it was lived on, so tourists can see how we lived. They feed us aboard the ship, some authentic Navy chow and some regular chow. We sleep/shower on the ship and on our last night they feed us a grilled out steak dinner. They provide the beer each evening starting at 6:30 when the tourists have to leave. We work hard, take lots of coffee breaks and oh, the sea tales we all can tell. If anyone had told me when I was 19 on the Vogelgesang that, when I retired, I would pay to chip paint, swab decks and work on a tin can I would have told them they were crazy. Retirement is fun, just not enough time and money to do all I would like to do. Thanks again for the recipes. Ron"

Video's:
-----YouTube Video of Vogelegsang's SolantAmityI experience.
-----YouTube Video of Graham County's SolantAmity I experience.

And some taken by Weapons Platoon's Archie Fuller.


Bowman, Fuller, Hiller
Vieques May 1960.


Bowman, Stilfinger, Fuller &
Floweres_Vieques '60.

Bright "to the rear" and
Leibenguth - Vieques '60

Unknown to left of Ernfield, TW
catching some rays - May 1960.

Richard Hastings and
Archie Fuller - May 1960.

"Snow ball from hell": Fuller and TW Brown (H&S) Mess Duty Camp Lejeune - 1960.

Archie Fuller sits atop damaged "mule," aboard Graham County in Pointe Noire, Congo.

Bowman, Huegal, Farrell, Stephens;
Unknown center; Wright & Buhr
Vieques - May '60.

More Tent City,
Vieques, PR - May 1960


Fuller, Malone, Bolanis
on USS Boxer - May 1960



Working mule in Dominican
Republic in 1965

Banner Flag taken from Russian
Embassy in Coankry, Guinea
1961

Fuller, Arch_Viegues '60

Stephens, JR_USS Boxer '60


Jones,WC; Bowman,DL; Hiller, R
USS Boxer '60

Jones,WC;Hanna,RP;Unknown;
Biggin,WL;Bowman,JP;
Bottom: Unknown_Boxer '60

Others provided by Frank Haussmann of the 1st Platoon.


Brown, TW & Unknown Member Weapons Platoon,
USS Graham County.

Unknownn, Bill Daley,
Frank Haussmann

RL Coble;
FH Haussmann

Unknown; Frank Haussmann


Trinidad_US and Portuguese Marines



FH Haussmann
Camp Garcia, Vieques


Copter lands on the Graham
County during Solant Amity.


Troops goin' ashore
demonstration landing.

Unknown member
F-2-6 on Vieques.

Unknown member
F-2-6 on Vieques


Troop Work Detail Aboard
USS Graham County _Solant I

And here are some contributions from Richard Landry.


Troops On Deck, Upon Arrival
in Capetown


Sikora, Davis, Laux, Landry


Who?, Shook, Cavella, Rodwell.
Rear : Gary Lewis, Charlie Wilson

O'Neal, Landry, Stone, Rodwell,
Davis on fantail of Graham County

And a Few More Shots and Things from Our Capetown Activities:






 

Capetown
Newspaper Report
About the Landing

Demonstration Landing at Woodstock Beach in Capetown, South Africa 14March61 - Photos by Rocco Minocone

In a conversation with Ed Hart [ hooliganx6@mac.com ]...the same former Corporal E4 of the 1st Platoon and later multi-tour Vietnam veteran who, in 1995 at the age of 61, took off on a three plus year circumnavigation of his own on his then 29' sailboat [Hooligan] and spent three months of that time recapturing his experience in Cape Town:

"If you look to the right of where it says inner harbor, that's where the Graham County was tied up;" he said. "And, if you look to the upper left of that harbor, there's a sort of inner, inner triangle shaped harbor, that's where the yacht club is and where I docked.
Then, if you look at that big bay, to the right of where it says Atlantic Ocean, and towards Cape Town, there is a place called Hout Bay. I tied up there for three weeks. It's is 20 miles from Cape Town.
I took the bus into CT everyday. The road goes right along the ocean. It's really beautiful. I loved riding to town every morning for coffee."

To read published articles about Ed Hart's solo-circumnavigation, see the following: 1) Around the World; 2) One storm, two muggings, a collision and circumnavigation. And, for no particular reason, I thought I'd let you know he loves his "Wawa Coffee."


This is a story about one of those insane liberty experiences of Solant Amity I, when things were slow, the liquer flowing and someone came up with what seemed like an absolutely "brilliant" idea. Read, enjoy and remember when....

Amphibious Landing...by Helicopter! - written by George Bitsoli in 2002

The 3rd Squad of our 3rd Platoon may have the distinction of being the only Squad in the History of the Marine Corps to make an amphibious landing....by helicopter. Too bad camcorders weren't around then. Or, maybe, good thing. During our visit to Cape Town, South Africa a demonstration landing was planned for. Those that recall it remember that the landing came off super. Demolition charges set off at the beach right on-time. While the Navy ships were firing off blanks, the UDT personnel swam in to clear the landing beach areas, the amphibious tractors [amtracs] rolled in with troops assaulting. There were copters overhead, smoke and weapons firing everywhere. John Wayne productions couldn't have done it better.
How do I know. I was a member of the 3rd Squad. We were selected to be a Demonstration Squad that before everything commenced, we would be flown off of the ship to land on the beach in front of the spectator stands filled with civilians and political dignitaries. We were to jump from the helicopter, run in front of the stands and then have the basic squad and fire team concepts explained to the multitudes, while we were displayed in full combat attire.
So, after months of shipboard living, without practicing much of anything approaching the "spit and polish" mode commonly expected of MARINES, the eve before the scheduled landing, we stayed up most of the night to get truly squared away for the event. Ordered we were to starch and press our nearly wash and wear utilities retrieved from the ships laundry, shine our brass, clean our web equipment like belts and packs, spit shine boots, starch and press our utility covers and...clean our weapons.
I had a Browning Automatic Rifle [ BAR ] that had no bluing on it, being old and worn. But, it was a great weapon. Leaf sights down, I was always in the black with it. Totally "silver"....in the salt air, you can watch it rust before your eyes. Touched it; watch it rust!
Yep, we got real SPIT and POLISHED. Think photo spreads. Boy, we were going to make real good impressions.
Wrong. Anybody ever recall that copter pilot that thought he was flying a jet??? How he would bounce off of the deck every time he either would land or lift off? Darn! Did any fool before boarding his craft have breakfast?
Guess what? That morning, aboard we go. Bounce..., then up in the air. There's the beach...people in the stands...pilot's coming down and a voice yells out, "Okay Marines, bail out!"
"Hey, wait-a-minute," I think to myself, "we're 50 yards from the sand!" Plus, the exit hatch was facing America! Now the troops have to scramble further out to sea to avoid the front dip of the copter's blades. Whoa! What's up with this...? Who is this pilot? What is HIS problem???
Jumping into the water, I find my self chest deep, everything soaked, silver BAR in the Atlantic. All Weapons need that, right? So much for starched uniforms, spit shined boots and staying up most of the night to prep.
Like soaking wet kittens, we "hit the beach," eventually reached the viewing stand and, while air drying, got to watch the super-demonstration-landing.
Civilians stared in awe, dumbstruck at the power amassed before them, absolutely thrilled were they... as my rusting BAR got redder...and redder...and redder.

How about those "Get out, get out, GET OUT!" standbys: Read all about it!


Seabags to Six-bys.



782 & Weapons to Six-bys.

 



Six-bys to Main Blacktop
in Front of Company Barracks
for Duration of Alert

 



Staying Fit




Squadbay Entertainment.

Unknown member
F-2-6 on Vieques.



Ready to Move-out!

To points unknown....

Then there was shipboard life:


Taken from the hanger bay of the
U.S.S. Boxer - LPH-4

Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel ( LCVP )

Ed Shea & Joe Teklits
on Graham County



Personal Transfer
from U.S.S. Hermitage
LSD - 34


U.S.S. Fremont - APA 44


U.S.S. Walworth County LST-1164

U.S.S. Boxer - LPH-4

Do you remember the "sleeping accommodations" on these things? And having to climb down those cargo nets, where a wave slapping the LSVP against the side of the ship could get you killed, should the net...with you on it...drop between the boat and the ship?

Do you recall the interiors of those APA's? The hot and crowded LSTs and LSDs?

Space for Rent - written by Ed Shea in 1963

The interior of an old troop transport ship was an incredible sight. The dimly lit, hot, crowded and poorly ventilated compartments would tax the mind of Dante for a truly accurate description.
They varied in size but generally measured approximately fifty feet square with overheads or ceilings as high as fifteen feet. And, although such an area seems large when looking at the written figures, when actually seen an entirely different impression was gotten, for each cubic foot of space was more than adequately and very uncomfortably made use of.
Every ten feet or so, a steel "I" beam, riveted to the overhead, traversed a compartment's width. Each such beam was supported by numerous lally columns. And attached to thin poles, running adjacent and parallel to these columns, were beds more appropriately called "racks" by the the Marines that used them.


How things change!!! Above is an enlisted
Marine's berth on the USS Wasp - LHD-1

There were no mattresses, no sheets, no pillows. In tiers several high, the racks were nothing more than metal frames, little more than six feet long and two and one half feet wide, with canvas strips tied to them in a fashion not unlike that used by trappers to stretch and dry animal pelts.
Eight inch ventilation ducts extended across the overheads and branched off at numerous points into still more ducts that were suspended downward to an open end, situated only inches from the deck.
Shortly after being assigned accommodations for the next three to six months, the experienced trooper climbed into his rack, punched a hole in the duct with his bayonet and shoved a rolled piece of paper or a playing card into the gaping hole to direct a stream of air through his all too masculine "boudoir." By days end virtually no air reached duct bottoms. It was all being redistributed via scraps of paper and hundreds of playing cards.
The experienced trooper also knew to get a top rack. There, they'd suffer no injury to exposed body parts by Marines climbing to their own racks OR, still worse, the spewing vomit of one who'd had too much to drink.
To the uninitiated, these compartments with inadequate aisle space and otherwise claustrophobic conditions appeared uninhabitable. Yet, somehow, into each was poured well over two hundred men, their temperaments, seabags, rifles, helmets, cartridge belts and forty pound marching packs.
One can only look back at it all in utter amazement.



Here's another device no longer to be found. The "Ontos", Greek for "Thing."
A track vehicle with six 106mm recoilless rifles. Baaaaad-ahhh-Biiiiing!

Finally, there was the "Circle," from which all roads led to a Nirvana not to be found on base:

Weekend Effort - written by Ed Shea in 1963

Friday afternoons everywhere are pretty much the same. The day's work completed, welders lay down their torches, clerks close their drawers and students put their books aside for the weekend, all of them entertaining ideas of how they will use the next three nights and two days to their fullest enjoyment. It was this feeling of anxiety that possessed several thousand men, myself included, to leave Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, on a particularly cold and rainy day in mid-November of 1961.
Liberty call had been long awaited for by my entire platoon, but Privates Schmidt, Fusco, Lane, Teklits and myself had further to travel that night than the others and we were most anxious to get started. Picking up our overnight bags, which had been conveniently packed the night before, we ran from the barracks to an area one-half mile away, where we hoped we could obtain a ride.
As was usual, the "circle" - a parking area used as a pick-up point for men traveling any lengthy distance - was crowded, and the five of us had quite a task on our hands in trying to find a car with room enough for all of us, since there were scores of men badgering the drivers to take them instead of us. Eventually, however, we were able to find room enough for all of us in a Volkswagen of the bus-type class. Within minutes, eight men including the driver had filled the seats available, and one man lay atop the luggage in the rear. We expected a twelve hour long and uncomfortable trip. We were wrong. In fact, only three of us were destined to get where we all wanted to go, New York.
Sleeping, sightseeing and talking are the only pastimes available to the nighttime initiate. Within the first six hours, we had pretty well talked ourselves out and since there is not much to see at night outside of neon signs and truck lights, all but the driver fell asleep.
Indeed, because we were all asleep some fifty minutes after stopping in Washington, D. C. for some much needed leg stretching and a cup of coffee, may account for our being alive today. For, nine miles above Baltimore, Maryland, from across a thirty-foot grass island came a car at 47 miles an hour. So abruptly did it happen that few of us realized completely what was going on until we bad stopped rolling over, over and over again some twenty feet off of the highway.
At the very second of impact, with me lying atop the luggage thrown over the rear engine compartment, the left side of the car caved in and pushed my head, chin first, down against my chest while the momentum of my body, suddenly traveling at near sixty miles an hour with the car moving at perhaps ten, bent my back into a position I shall never again want to assume. A scream so horrible issued from my throat that it had my companions, while they were still conscious, believing I was being torn apart.
For several moments after the car stopped rolling, all of us remained unconscious. One at a time we awakened. The silence was the most appalling thing next to the cold we had to endure. To hear one moment a car radio, a crash, the sound of rolling, the screams of men and then absolutely nothing filled us all with a sense of fear none of us would soon forget.
From the front of the car, then lying on its passenger's side, a hand could be heard scratching the metal of the dashboard. It was Fusco fighting his way into a sitting position to shut off the ignition for fear of the car bursting into flames. When he finally reached it, I was greatly relieved as I was lying directly next to the gas tank and engine.
One at a time those that could climbed out, while I remained lying on my back stretched out along the interior length of the passenger side windows.
State troopers tore the rear door off the van and light from the bright sealed beams of semi-trucks along with cold air swept over those of us still within. The driver, one other passenger and myself remained. What could be seen was not a pretty sight. Blood covered the walls and when I lifted my head and looked toward the front of the car I saw the driver hanging upside down by one leg from the steering column, covered with the same red fluid that lined the walls and making what I thought to be his last groan. To say the least, I wanted to get the hell out of that car. Feeling my body "here and there" to see that things were in order, then spitting a few times on the already dirty ceiling next to me to see if I had any obvious internal bleeding, I finally crawled out the back of the car shivering like an Alaskan sled dog without fur.
A half-hour later, all nine of us were either laid out or sitting in the emergency room of the Army's Aberdeen Maryland Proving Ground's Medical facility. By 0200 Saturday, we had been stitched, padded, doped up, bent back into shape and told that six of us would have to remain until Wednesday. Bitterly, we gave phone numbers to those who would be able to continue on to New York, so they might notify those awaiting our arrival that we would be unable to make it...this trip.
The six of us that were to remain in Aberdeen until Wednesday then decided we would take a philosophical outlook on what had happened. After all, we were lucky to be alive and none of us were seriously injured. Even more importantly, we would have only two working days after returning to LeJeune to endure, before we would again face Friday afternoon with both the need and another attempt to "get away from it all."


Been Wondering about your Medal eligibility, given your service in units assigned as part of the mount-out responses for the Beirut, Lebanon Blue Bat Operation in July-October 1958, the Congo 14Jul60-1Sep62 and the Cuban Crisis in October [18-29] 1962?

Medals for which members of G-2-6 are eligible, if their service extended from early 1958 through late 1962:



USMC Good Conduct


USMC Expeditionary


National Defense


Armed Forces
Expeditionary
Three years of straight arrow.
Republic of
Congo via SolantAmity
Being all but there during the Vietnam Era
Lebanon 1958/
Congo 1961/
Cuba Crisis 1962

The USMC Expeditionary Medal may be worn only in lieu of the AFEM for service in the Congo. Thus, those entering the Corps as early as ‘58 and landing in Lebanon and assigned to units taking part in operations as late as the Cuban Crisis mount-out may be eligible for up to two Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals, one each for Lebanon and Cuba, and one USMC Expeditionary Medal for the Congo episode in 1961. For a more complete explanation of eligibility please read the attached 933kb Acrobat file: AF and USMC Expeditionary Medals. It has proven a real burden trying to sort out the truth from the so many conflicting documents dealing with the criteria and eligibility for these medals.

The one that all logic would suggest you are eligible for, the United Nations' Medal, has not been nor will it likely ever be issued for our humanitarian efforts to feed, clothe and safeguard the people of the Congo's Matadi region and the evacuation of wounded and disease plagued Guinean troops. A full explanation of why this is so is available HERE. Give it a mouse click.



But then, little of worth has ever been expected from the United Nations.

Nor are those involved in capturing the Portuguese liner Santa Maria likely to ever receive official recognition for their successful efforts to free the 1500 passengers and crew, when political "terrorist" Henrique Galvao and his cohorts pirated the ship to extort political change in Portugal and Spain, killing a member of the crew in the process.

However, those for which you ARE eligible would...absent a Good Conduct Medal...be displayed as follows:


Then to, if one had been a “Good” Marine he would have been additionally entitled to the “Good Conduct” medal/ribbon and the array would look as follows...and surprisingly rates a higher place of distinction within an array than the USMC Expeditionary and our various other service medals:


And when our stint with the "Crotch' was over, what did we do with all that talent?

Well, according to Massachusetts rumors, one of our lot took to training a group of gun moles for the Boston "Mafia."
Yep! Cold sober, he managed to persuade a bevy of beauties on to a plane, then to the deserts of the southwest, where he taught them how things can be done with a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) and Thompson machine gun.
Though nothing ever came of their efforts, every once and awhile you'll run into gal in a Boston pub that'll tell you about her mother's being part of some ragin' 60's outfit and a hotshot weapons expert.
"Mom, was just so cocky " she'll say, "about takin' the black out of a target at 200 yards! She thought it was really...neat."
Whoa, don't believe it??? Well, you check out the film clips to the right and tell me the gal doesn't have a Boston accent.

First came the BAR Training !

Then they learned to use the Thompson !

So, when your next in "Baaastan," be careful about whom you're drinking with.

Oooooorahhhhhh!!!!

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