Sunday, July 11, 2010

When I get home from this trip I am just going to

spend my time doing little things like washing the car or mowing the lawn.

I'm also going to Camp Perry around the time of the Garand Match to visit with my Marines.

I generally supply them with a case of beer and one year threw a small impromptu barbecue consisting of a few basics. These men are growing boys and sometimes skip meals, so they can use the extra calories, which I can not because I am an old man.

The guys get a boot out of a guy wearing his old uniform because it is probably pretty funny to look at. The pickle suit went out of issue around 1982, the khaki uniform went out in 1978 and my rank, Spec/5, disappeared in 1980.

On the other hand, the guys do have to admit that a guy who is rapidly approaching his 60th birthday looks pretty good in it. There are a lot of serving officers and NCOs that do not fit into the uniforms the were issued in basic training, and I do.

This uniform business started about three years ago whn I casually mentioned that back in '73 I got spit on at Logan Airport for wearing it and never wore it publicly again.

The guys of the Marine Corps marksmanship unit talked me into wearing it to the rifle match segment and I did. I figured that the guys had a bet going to see if the uniform was going to be blue or gray.

I didn't wear it when I got to Perry, I traveled to Perry in it and by doing so, it removed a very large chip I have carried on my shoulder for a very long time.

I stopped three times along the way and people approached me and asked me questions about the old uniform and an older woman actually apologized for treating guys like me badly back in the day. Apology accepted on the spot.

One of the most gracious things I ever had happen to me by any serviceman also happened to me. An Air Force officer asked me with a trace of a smirk why I didn't salute him. I did, and he returned it.

What a gracious thing to do!

Then I crossed paths with a 60 year old burnout of Haight-Ashbury days, who tried to avoid me like I had leprosy. I just knew the old bastard had given GIs a bad time during those dark Viet era days. I changed course and speed to cross paths, spit at his feet and told him that "It's now MY day now, asshole."

The man behind me audibly when "Hmm." and looked at the old hippie and said to him, "It sure is his day."

That felt pretty good.

Then, when I arrived at Perry, the guard at the gate looked at me and his face lit up like a Christmas tree.

"You're the first Sp/5 I've ever seen," he said, with a broad grin. And with that, I went into Perry and straight to the Marine barracks.

As I entered the base, the chip I had been carrying for more than thirty years fell off of my shoulder.

One of the nicest things I have ever seen the Marines do there was the time I was sitting inside the barracks with the guys drinking a beer and just enjoying a bull session. A young lieutenant came through and politely told me that I was a civvie and therefore not permitted in the barracks. He was really right and I saw his point.

Just then a pair of Marines picked up the two ice chests and the whole gang of them grabbed their beverages and en masse headed outside where the bull session continued outside at the picnic table.

What a gracious thing to do!

my other blog is:

No comments:

Post a Comment