• If you enlisted, what were some of the reasons that you joined the military? How did you choose your branch of service?
    • I joined up so fast my head was spinning.  I wasn’t ready for college and didn’t have the money or the desire to go at the time and no job.  It was going to be the Army at first with the intention of going into an elite unit like the Rangers or Green Berets.  I went to the recruiting station and the Army recruiter was out of the office.  As I was leaving the Marine Recruiter ambushed me and the rest is history.
  • How did you imagine military life before you joined? How did your perceptions change after serving?
    • Life in the military was everything I imagined it would be.  I was an enthusiast with regards to watching war films and reading about the military and all associated with WW2.  When I joined in 1979, there were no wars going on, just a lot of action in Mediterranean with Libya and Beirut.  Peacetime service was a lot of training, mundane deployments, and inspections.  It wasn’t until my latter years that I experienced war and what I thought it was like I envisioned.
  • What was basic training like?
    • The Marines had the toughest recruit training and I had seen movies like the DI, I was in fairly good shape having run track and cross country in high school., the DIs were tough and back then they could get away with more than do nowadays.  I tried to lay low and stay out of trouble, if I wasn’t on the DIs radar all was good.
  • Can you describe a funny moment from boot camp?
    • When you wake up in the morning, you grab your money valuable bag and get on line to count off your number, it’s for accountability and someone always screws up their number, one particular morning, the count kept getting screwed up and a lot of unnecessary time was spent getting it right, a recruit apparently couldn’t hold it and crapped in his skivvies, to watch the DIs walk down the squad bay and getting a whiff and then finding the source was hilarious, the literally went on him like flies on crap, he was gone the next day.
  • What are some of the things you remember about adapting to military life?
    • My father was an Air Force vet and was tough on us at home, the military life adaptation wasn’t too bad, it was just the terminology the Naval terms, that took a while to get down.
  • How did you stay in touch with family and friends back home?
    • In those days it was snail mail.   And an occasional phone call.
  • What are some things you remember most about your deployment?
    • Seeing the world, Med cruises, the Pacific, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Okinawa, Lebanon, Tunisia, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Iraq, Egypt, Yugoslavia, Morocco, etc. Combat deployments speak for themselves, nothing in the world like it.
  • Can you describe how you felt coming home from combat?
    • Relief, fortunate to come home alive.   Feeling somewhat detached, wife telling me that I was a different person and that I even looked different, kids looking at me like they didn’t know who I was.  Having an attitude on why some had to go and others didn’t and why some came home and some didn’t.
  • Was there anything you especially missed about civilian life?
    • Not during my thirty years while serving, now that I’m retired, I realize more freedoms such as grooming, not having to go and run and perform a good PT session.  For about a year after I retired, I would go out running and watch my watch trying to maintain a certain pace, then one day I asked myself, “Why?”  After that I stopped cold turkey and have walked since then.  That was eleven years ago.
  • Is there someone you served with that you remember fondly? Can you tell me about him/her?
    • While serving with 1/7 out of 29 Palms I came to like and respect an officer by the name of Capt Alan Rowe, CO of Wpns Co.  He was a prior enlisted Marine.  A true gentleman and an officer who took care of his Marines.  I got to know him on the flight from March ARB to Iraq.  He was KIA 3 Sept 2004 approximately a week after arriving in Al Qaim, Iraq, it was a blow to the battalion and set off a lot of emotion.
  • What are some fun things you and your friends did together while you were deployed?
    • In my younger days it was bar hopping during port visits, going to the beach or visiting historic sights in various countries.
  • Did any of your military friends play pranks on each other? Can you describe a funny one?
    • All the time, with too many too count.  During one field op, we set up comm and played a joke on a LCpl, we called him via the gunloop (an internal phone system) and made a story up that he was seen sleeping on his post, to which the LCpl vehemently denied.  The Marine calling the LCpl identified himself as Master Sergeant Ramen and that he could be addressed as “Top Ramen.”  Top Ramen had him doing pushups over the phone and counting them off, the Marine complied and didn’t figure it out until after the fieldex and we told him.
  • Did you ever get caught breaking any rules? Did you ever get away with something you weren’t supposed to do?
    • No, I always followed rules and regulations, I may have done stupid things as a young Marine but didn’t break any rules.  I did tell my Marines on my first deployment to Iraq that if they were in a situation where they felt threatened by non-uniformed Iraqis to shoot to protect themselves and that order came from me, fortunately during that deployment nothing like that happened.
  • Did you ever learn something about a fellow service member that surprised you?
    • Not one, there were many.  Leaders should know their Marines and should sit down and talk to them on a personal level, get a biography on them.  I’ve had Marines who were former gang members, artists in wood carving, drawing, and painting, college grads, from affluent families, licensed pilots, witnesses to people being murdered, finding out later some were exotic dancers and porno actors and actresses.
  • When did you leave the military? What was that process like?
    • 1 February 2010, the Marine Corps was good in prepping me to get out, transition classes, gave me the time I needed to make the move out.
  • What were your first few months out of the service like?
    • It was a sigh of relief, thirty years is a long time, I was done and wanted to move onto something new in my life.
  • Was there anything or anyone that helped you during the transition from military to civilian life?
    • LtCol D Katolin, he pushed me to get a college degree, he was also a very sincere man who cares deeply for his Marines.
  • Do you have advice for others transitioning out of the military?
    • Get as much as you can out of your time in, knocking out college classes, getting certifications, look at all the training you did in the military as something that can help you in the civilian world.  Know that you have an advantage over others while applying for a job.
  • How do you think your time in the military affected you?
    • The military life was my life, it’s all I have ever known since leaving home after high school.  Everything I do, from how I act, how I look at something, how I plan something was influence by my time in the service.  I still look at a Marine and if something I think is wrong, I want to correct them, but I stop because there’s been a lot of change since I retired.
  • What did you learn about yourself?
    • That I’m a levelheaded thinker, compassionate about taking care of those I’m in charge of, highly disciplined and after obtaining a degree, that I’m not as stupid as I thought.  I conducted myself honorable during my service to this country.
  • What are some of your hopes for the future?
    • That we get our country together as far politically, we must get back to common sense, morality and protecting our borders, taking care of our own people, stop with ridiculous laws and movements that are part of a woke culture.  That our leaders stop pushing for ridiculous budgets that will burden our children and grandchildren.
  • What phrase or word will never be the same now that you served?
    • Army gloves (hands in one’s pockets)
  • When you were first discharged, what are some things about civilians that were difficult for you to deal with?
    • That they are not disciplined, that they do not take care of their subordinates.  Punctuality is not high on their list, their sense of urgency and priority aren’t there.
  • Is there anything you wish civilians understood about military service?
    • That we don’t get paid for X number of children for BAH.  That the life we live isn’t like those of civilians, the constant physical training, forced marches take a toll on one’s body after years and years of doing this we have issues such as back, neck, knees etc.  We go to where we are told and are ready at moment’s notice to bad places.  There is a strong structure, the chain of command and that someone is responsible for each, and every troop and it works the same way up.  That we aren’t afforded the same rights and privileges as civilians, such as speaking our political views or critiquing the chain of command.
  • What are some habits you developed in the service that you like? What are some that you dislike?
    • Like – early to rise, early to bed, punctual, sense of pride and showing it, patriotic, walking in unison, using Marine jargon, detail planning such as in trips, going to the amusement park etc.
    • Dislike – eating too fast, wanting to correct Marines when I see something wrong.
  • What are some things you miss about being in the service? What are some you are glad to have left behind?
    • Miss – Comradeship, wearing the uniform, being in shape, making a difference to a Marine or situation.
    • Don’t miss – Higher rank doesn’t always mean you’re right.  Prima Donnas, good ole boys club
  • What has been difficult to communicate to family and friends about your military service?
    • That we live and breath a lifestyle like no other and that due to the nature of our business we became callous and short fused.  That when we ask for something to be done, it means like yesterday.  That we served our countries like our fathers and grandfathers and although we didn’t give the ultimate sacrifice, we still served to preserve freedom at home and abroad.
  • Do you have advice for military couples?
    • Life for young couples is tough, don’t get burdened with credit card bills, work your way up, the pay gets better.   Keep your faith, believe in what’s right, enjoy the tough times, one day you’ll look back and cherish those times.
  • If you have children, what do you want them to know about your military service?
    • That I served this country honorably in peacetime and in war, and that perhaps I made an impact on someone’s life and that I did follow those the principles of honor, courage and commitment to God and the Corps.