USMC (Uncle Sam's Misguided Children)  

chuck_100 69M
7 posts
6/30/2005 9:36 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

USMC (Uncle Sam's Misguided Children)

I graduated from Bay County High School in June of 1966. I was nineteen years old. My best friend Mike L. and I had joined the United States Marine Corps one hundred and eighty days before graduation. We would be in Paris Island, South Carolina before the Fourth of July.

As I approach this coming fourth, it’s difficult for me to accept that it has been thirty-nine years since a skinny; one hundred and fifty pound kid boarded a Piedmont twin engine airplane and left the security of his family and friends to find danger and adventure in a great big world. Looking back after all this time, I can now understand that it was my destiny. There was for me no other course. I had to be on my own and I wanted feverishly to cut ties and experience bigger surroundings than those of little Lynn Haven, Florida where I had grown up.

I know that my experience isn’t unique and that there are many people who, turning of age couldn’t wait to be free of the apron strings of mother and father. Yet this was my experience and for a wide-eyed, scared kid from the sticks, it was plenty unique to me.

I used to think, “What a gamble I took” but looking back after all these years and with much hind-sight and wisdom, I’ve learned that it wasn’t a gamble. In fact I have never been much of a gambler and probably never will. It was a risk, and that is different.

I believe in taking risk. I guess I have my grandmother McNeal to thank for that. My grandmother at the age of ninety once told me, “Son the older I get, the less I’m afraid of.” A few years ago, some group studying the elderly and aging asked one hundred senior citizens over the age of ninety, “If you could live your life over what would you do differently?” There were a variety of answers but every single one of those old people had this as one of their answers. “I would take more risk!”

I didn’t know it at that moment but within the next three years, I would see most of the world, I would make love and learn lessons and techniques from dozens of beautiful women, I would hold my men in my arms and watch them die, I would kill another human being in battle and I would lose the innocence of my youth while struggling with every fiber in me to retain some semblance of sanity.

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