World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War
The following is a record of stories Mr. Davies shared with his family from his military career. Mrs. Davies wrote them down as he told his stories so they can be shared with others. Obituary Link
My father was named Sylvester Davies and he was born on August 7, 1907 in Galt, Canada and his parents came from Wales. My mother was named Ruth Hall and she was born February 12, 1907 in Gladwin, Michigan and her grandparents came from Ireland. My father was in the Michigan National Guard as a Sergeant. My father was also a laborer and a professional drummer. His band comprised of his two brothers and a sister. She sang and danced for the band. My father developed pneumonia and died at the age of 23. Before World War II my mother worked in making venetian blinds and during World War II, she was a civilian but was drafted to work in a plant where she helped make valves for the P51 Mustang airplane. She died of Kidney disease in February 1962.
I was born June 15, 1931 in Saginaw, Michigan and was only 7 months old when my father died. My mother and I moved in with my grandparents in Saginaw. I was mainly raised by my grandparents because my mother worked. There were 18 family members living in the home and I was the youngest.
As I grew and went into Middle School, I learned to play the drums that had belonged to my father. I played those drums in the school band. While I was in school, I was a pitcher and 3rd base player for the American Legion Baseball in 1945. At that time Babe Ruth was the director of the American Legion Baseball. At an American Legion All-Star game, Babe Ruth was there on the field and shook hands with all of the players. He appeared to be sick even then and he died in 1946.
I dropped out of the 11th grade. I thought it was more important to join the U.S. Marines that to graduate from High School. I joined November 16, 1948. I knew at that time I wanted to be a part of World War II.
I went to Paris Island, South Carolina as a recruit for 13 weeks. I was the youngest in my platoon. In boot camp we all had to go through the gas chamber exercise. Before you were able to use your mask, we had to sing the first course of the Marine Corp Hymn. The reason was to show us that the gas would not kill us. After boot camp I went to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. There was no more fighting in World War II but there were continued events like the establishment of NATO. Even in 1949 part of the agreement between the U.S., England and the Soviet Union was to end World War II. As a part of this history I carry a card of Certificate of Honorable Service.
In 1949, I went to Barstow, California where I was involved in Logistic. I was a Private First Class. There were about 3 or 4 other Marines and I used to hike up to the Calico ghost town. We were able to go through the old silver mines. We had conversations with the U.S. Marshall of the town. We met a woman who was in charge of the Post Office. I didn’t see anyone else around at that time. This building was the only one left standing after Calico was burned down. Long ago they used to mine silver between 1850 and 1900. I was able to go into the caves and look around. Today Calico is owned by Knots Berry Farm and has many stores in old looking buildings. There is also a coal car train ride. They have in February a North and South battle. In town you will be able to see a person dressed up as Abraham Lincoln and others with the uniforms of the civil war walking the street.
In 1950, when I was still in Barstow, California, I took some time off to go home to Saginaw, Michigan. I went out to the main gate to Highway 66 and I put out my thumb. The first car drove me to March Air Force Base in Riverside, California. I spent the night there and the next day I got on a World War II B17 bomber. I was flown to the Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. I spent the night there. The next day I got on the same plane and flew to El Paso, Texas. I spent the night there. The next morning, I got on the same plane and flew to Omaha, Nebraska. I got on a B25 bomber and I sat behind the co-pilot on a bicycle seat. That plane flew me into Rantoul, Illinois. On the same day I took a Greyhound bus to Chicago, Illinois and there I got on a train to Durant, Michigan. I took another train to Saginaw, Michigan. Then I took a city bus to grandma’s and grandpa’s home. This all reminds me of the movie “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”.
Early 1951, I was stationed at Camp Pendleton, California. I held the range record by firing 50 shots and hitting 49 bullseyes which was 248 points out of 250. I held the record for 5 years. While I was at Camp Pendleton, Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller was a Commanding General of the Third Marine Brigade and I was a member of that brigade. During one of his inspections he went down the line and shook hands with everyone in the inspection. I was very proud to shake the hand of “Chesty” Puller.
Then I was on my way to Korea in December 1951. I served with 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. I was to be there for 13 months. After some time, I became Sergeant. My duty was in Air Observation. This part of my job was to call targets and adjustments for the Artillery and Naval gunfire. I flew in an OE1 airplane. I met Tom an enlisted pilot. He and I were paired to fly in the OE1 for 6 months. A part of this time I was flying the plane and Tom was the observer. I was issued a brown leather pilot’s jacket which I was very proud to wear. We had been flying for about 2 months when I was forward observer on a mission. A bullet came through the fuselage where I was sitting and hit my leg. I was sent to the hospital. I received and earned the Purple Heart medal. As soon as I was well enough, I was back on duty.
At night in our camp we had no lights which made it very dark. Practically every night around 9:00 p.m. we could hear an engine from a North Korean airplane. We began to call him “Bedtime Charlie”. One day I was told that this plane will no longer be flying over our camp because it was shot down.
During this time that I was in Korea, I had met a pilot who had white hair and a white mustache. He looked very distinguished. He was shot down one day and captured by the North Koreans. He told them that he was a Mustang and not an Officer. They refused to believe him and put him with the Officer prisoners.
After 13 months of below zero weather temperature I was sent in 1952 to Camp Pendleton, California. I became Staff Sergeant and I was selected for 2nd Lieutenant. My commission was revoked because I had written on my application about having asthma as a child. They wrote me a letter asking for the doctor’s report. In a return letter I explained that it was my Mother who told me that I had asthma as a child.
In December 1953, I was in Korea again. I was promoted as Technical Sergeant. I was in charge of the Railhead Security. One day I took a picture of me in front of a building in Moon Son Ni, South Korea. The Korean War had ended in June 1953. The North Koreans eventually began to release prisoners at the DMZ. They were releasing prisoners at one time. One prisoner started running toward the line where soldiers were reaching their arms out to pull prisoners across. This prisoner was a few yards away from the line when the North Koreans shot him. I was there in the area and I heard the shot. The white-haired pilot was also among those being released. After his release I saw him one again.
A part of my duty as Railhead Security was to keep the North Koreans from coming across the DMZ. I was in charge of security at the most northern railhead in South Korea. I had to walk alone on a path twice a day to the area of the railhead. After about 6 months of walking this path a snake, about 4 or 5 inches in diameter, came across the path. I pulled my gun and put 5 rounds into the snake. All the snake did was to keep going across the path. From then on, I paid a great deal of attention to what was on or even near the path. Just a few days later as I was walking, I found a trip wire that had been placed across the path. I called it in and it was destroyed. From that day on I thank God for sending that snake.
White I was in South Korea, I used to go to the IMGIN river to swim. There was a bridge that went across the river that was built by Genghis Khan. The bridge was about 6 inches underneath the water. The bridge was made with holes so the water could flow through. This bridge was used by Genhis Khan’s military to raid the people in South Korea.
In 1954, I saw Marilyn Monroe. She was part of the USO entertaining the troops. The temperature was below zero but she came out wearing a thin dress. Marilyn Monroe was a true entertainer. We all cheered because she was amazing.
Near our camps there were civilian Koreans that had tents near our Marine units. These Koreans had laundry services, some were barbers, and some were house boys. Nearly all of the Marines, including myself, used their services. I have a picture with me and one of the house boys.
Early 1954, there was a Court Marshall for a Marine. At the Court Marshall it was to be known and read to the units about an incident that had just occurred. In another camp there was a Marine who was playing cards and all of a sudden he jumped up and said “I remember”. He then went into one of the laundry tents and shot in the back of the head a Korean. In World War II this Marine was captured and put in prison. There were North Koreans who were placed in charge by the Japanese as POW guards. This Korean had infiltrated into South Korea to spy and this Korean that the Marine killed was one of those POW guards. This particular Korean guard was beating the Marine’s feet every day. The Marine was acquitted by the Court Marshall. After the Court Marshall the United States Marine Corps issued an order that POWS could not be sent back to the Far East.
In February 1955, I returned to Camp Pendleton, California. I was stationed at Supply and I was in charge of the Key Punching section of the Computer Department.
In 1957, I was transferred to the Marine barracks U.S. Naval Base in Long Beach, California. I was the coach of the barracks basketball team. We won the 11th Naval District tournament. I was getting ready to go home in the afternoon and I was walking down the hallway by the Guard Officer. He asked, “Do you go down by the way of 7th street to go home? A young man drowned here in Long Beach near the beach over the weekend. They have his body at a funeral home on 7th street. Would you stop by there because he is ready to go home?” He wanted to make sure that they had put the correct uniform and ribbon placements. This was one of my duties. With us was a Marine who was to escort the body.
Around 1958, Nikita Khrushchev, who was the leader of the Soviet Union, came to visit Los Angeles, California. I was in charge of the Honor Guard to receive him at the International Los Angeles Airport. Each time the Honor Guard was used it was my duty to make sure the men were in dress blue uniforms and marching in cadence at the location.
Ira Hayes, a Navajo Indian who helped raise the flag on Iwo Jima, had a movie about him starring Tony Curtis. The movie was called “The Outsider”. One of the scenes was where Tony Curtis, playing Ira Hayes, was embarking on the steps of a plane. I was in charge of 25 members of the Honor Guard in this scene where we were honoring Ira Hayes, except in this case Tony Curtis. After the scene Tony Curtis came over and shook all of our hands.
The next time the Honor Guard was used we were sent to Nicosia, Greece for the transfer of a U.S. Naval Ship to the Greece Navy. The ceremony was for the Queen of Greece to receive the ship. After the ceremony there was a reception. The queen of Greece and her daughter went to each of the guard members and myself for introduction. There was a man in Greece uniform who was announcing the Queen and her daughter. He announced the Queen as “Queen of Helena”. She and her daughter shook each of our hands.
I was transferred from being in charge of the Honor Guard in 1960 to being a Recruiter at the Marine Corps Substation in Long Beach, California. I attended a reception for John Wayne who was to be presented a plaque for representing the Marine Corps in films. Johnathon Winters was also there and both of them shook the hand of every Marine Corps Recruiter that was present.
In my spare time while on recruiting duty, I read a rule book for umpiring. I had to take a test at Lakewood City Hall Recreation Department in Los Angeles, California. After getting permission from the Colonel, I could go to the high schools to referee basketball, umpire baseball and softball games. Darrell Garrison taught me how to referee. Later in 2000, I was watching an NBA game on television and I saw him. He was the senior referee for the NBA.
I wanted to become an Officer in the Marine Corps. I needed to have a High School Diploma and two years of college. In my spare time I went to school at the Navy Base Education Department. I received my High School Diploma from the Armed Forces Institute Madison, Wisconsin. I then went to the California State University Long Beach for two hours every day for two years. I received a Certificate of Completion in Accounting.
I was transferred in 1964 to Yokosuka, Japan. I was made Gunnery Sergeant. I was on an inspection team for the security of the Marine Units Logistics and Maintenance.
In 1965, the Vietnam War was just starting. My unit made trips in July 1965 down to Da Nang, South Vietnam ad advisors. White I was in Vietnam I was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant.
In June 1966, I was transferred back to Camp Pendleton, California to train a unit of Marines before they were deployed to Vietnam. When the training was finished, I was sent back to Da Nang, South Vietnam in November 1966. I was assigned to Head Quarters Company as the Assistant Logistic Officer. My additional duties were Platoon Commander of the Regimental Scouts Snipers. As a sniper I was to carry a log book and mark down evert time a mission was completed.
I had heard that Carlos Hathcock was close by in a different camp. Carlos Hathcock had already made a name for himself as a sniper and he was considered a legend. I wanted to get some pointers and to find out the most important part of being a sniper. I walked over to his camp and we talked for quite some time. He told me that for him the most important part was the hunt but not the kill. He said, “One time a Vietcong sniper had me in his sight and I saw a glimmer of light and I fired. My bullet went through the scope and hit the sniper in the eye and killed him”. He said he knew the Vietcong had a contract on him for $30,000 and many Vietcong snipers were after him. He told me of a time he was under cover inching his way to his target when a Vietcong stepped right next to him. I learned a lot that day and truly respected him.
Not very long after I had met with Carlos Hathcock another marine and I were in a helicopter. We were flying from Da Nang going to the 4th Marines in Chu Lai on a mission. We had not flown very far when trouble was discovered and our helicopter started falling down. The pilot landed safely in an area that was like a natural clearing. The pilot got out to see what had happened to the helicopter and he found a steel arrow that had hit the hydraulic line. Another helicopter was called in to take the other marine and I on our mission.
In November 1966, we had a platoon that lived in a village near our command post. One night the platoon was attacked by the Vietcong who lived in that village. They were decimating the whole platoon. I was ordered to take a platoon and rescue the platoon that was being attacked. When we got there the Vietcong had fled. Now our mission had turned to recover the killed in action and the wounded. We were given aerial illumination. I saw a body about 15 feet in front of me. I waited for the illumination to stop. I ran to the spot where I saw the body. I picked him up under the arms and dragged him to a safe spot. I thought he was awfully lightweight. After examining him I saw both his legs were missing from the waist down. I looked at his dog tags and found out he was a Navy Corpsman and he was 19 years old. I found out also that the platoon of 48 men were either wounded or killed in action.
One hot summer day in 1967, I was walking in our camp and a bullet hit me in the upper part of my left arm exactly where I had my sleeves rolled up. I had no bleeding but only a red mark on my skin. The bullet came in flat and after the hit the bullet fell to the ground. I shot back but the shooter had already fled out of range.
In our camp we had built a stage. They had made a frame painted white and stretched a canvas across the frame. This one night in 1967 we were watching the movie, “Shot in the Dark”. Several Marines were laying on the stage. We heard a shot fired and a Marine on that stage was shot and killed.
One day my Squad which contained 12 Marines were on patrol. We began to get fired upon and the Marines ran for cover. Another Marine and I headed for the same hole. He arrived first and I dove on top of him. The hole was small and I said “Get down as far as you can. I am not all the way under cover.” Right then a bullet hit my hip area and it moved me like I was being tossed around. I just knew I was hit in the rear. I felt warm liquid all over my hip but I was not in very much pain. I realized the bullet hit my canteen. Today I can laugh over that incident.
Every morning in Vietnam the Colonel had a meeting with the Officers. Each Officer in command would tell his area and situation. The Intelligence Officer would go to the map and mark each area and he was also marking where the Vietcong were located. At the end of the meeting the Colonel stood up and was leaving but then he turned and he said “Look at the map. We are surrounded.” He looked at all of us and said, “Everything is going to be all right”. Then the Colonel walked out. From that day on that phrase became our Motto. Every morning before he left the meeting, he spoke those words.
On April 17, 1967, we got attacked by mortars and grenades at my sector of the perimeter wire in our camp. The Colonel and another Marine who had a M79 Grenade Launcher went on top of a bunker. I was out by the wire and I began to help a wounded Marine to get to safety. When I was helping him a mortar shell hit near me. I was hit in the head by some of the debris. After I got the wounded Marine to safety I ran to the bunker. The Colonel had been calling out the targets but the Marine who had the Grenade Launcher was not hitting many or any of the targets. When I got to the top of the bunker I said “Give me the M79. You just keep giving me the ammo.” I hit several targets and 10 minutes later the firing stopped. The Colonel said, “You have blood all over you. Go to sick bay now.” I was awarded a Silver Star for a second Purple Heart.
About 2 or 3 weeks later I was in a briefing with the Colonel. The time was early morning before daylight. I heard gunfire and I needed to go to my platoon and they were about 500 yards away. I had started to run and the Colonel yelled, “Ken, be careful!” I was saying to myself, “Please, don’t let me get hit in my head or chest.” I had run about 30 yards when I felt very light on my feet. It was as if I had been picked up and was in the air. I felt God’s presence and that He was lifting me up. When I got to my platoon, I took the M79 Grenade Launcher and a shooter was right next to a tree clearly in sight. He was a little less than 500 yards away. I called the Command Post with the code words to ask permission to return fire. I said, “I see the target”. The call came back with the code words and answered “Yes”. The code that was used I recognized it was from the Colonel. I loaded the M79 and aimed and fired. I hit a limb just above the shooter’s position. The explosion of the grenade hit the shooter and he was killed. I knew I had to hit within 5 yards to be effective. I called back and reported to the Command Post. I said “Yankee 6 – Yankee 24 actual. One Vietcong KIA.”
When I got back to my unit, I was able to see Martha Raye. She was with the USO entertaining the troops. She was at that time a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve Nurse Corps. This was the same state that I had seen a Marine get shot.
One day was away from my unit on assignment as a sniper. Upon completion my driver and I were on the road in a jeep returning to my unit. We came under fire from a single shooter. We took position off the road in a deep ditch. After sometime a vehicle was coming toward us. To keep them from harm my driver and I began to flag them down to get them into the ditch. It just so happened to have been Michael Landon and two females who were part of the USO that had just entertained the troops. We had to get them in the ditch and out of the view of the single shooter. I called my unit to request permission to return fire and to let them know that the USO people were secured. I also said the shooter was about 1100 to 1200 yards away. I was given permission and my scout spotted the single shooter and I took the shot. My scout confirmed that the shooter was hit. I called my unit and said, “Shooter is KIA”. I turned to Michael Landon and said, “Just like Bonanza. One shot and one KIA.”
Later I was called to talk with the Colonel. He said “Ken, only you can do this. There is a double agent who is in a village called Hoi An. The CIA have identified him as a double agent. There will be someone at the village to point out the double agent.” I was flown in by helicopter and took the shot. I reported, “One shot, one KIA”. I was immediately picked up and taken back to my unit.
I was in charge of the snipers for 13 months. Some missions I cannot talk about and some missions in Vietnam should be left in Vietnam. When I was asked how many Vietcong I killed, I would answer more than one.
An incident I was not involved in but a friend who was an Artillery Forward Observer was told to go to the Morgue in Da Nang, South Vietnam to identify bodies. The tags on one corpse had the name of a Sergeant and my friend spoke up and said, “This cannot be the Sergeant because I just spoke to him”. This death had already been reported to the family. Now it had to be rectified. They immediately found the Sergeant and got him back to the United States for protection.
I was Officer of the Day and I was to make sure of security. It was 2:00 a.m. and I was walking toward a bunker so I began to sing the Marine Corp Hymn just to make sure I was not going to be shot. I got to the ladder and climbed in and the guard was a sleep. I took his rifle and pulled my 45 hand gun and pointed it at the guard’s forehead. I said, “Wake up”. The guard woke up alright but was truly scared. I said, “I will see you in the morning”. The next morning the guard saw me. He said, “Are you going to Court Martial me?” I said, “No, I think you have learned your lesson.”
There was an incident where there were two guards in a hole. They both were asleep. The Officer of the Day took his helmet off and threw it down and guards were startled. One of the guards shot the Officer of the Day in the arm. Only one was being court Martialed and I was on this Court Martial. In this case the two guards had a choice which one could go to sleep. The guard said, “I was the one chose to sleep.” Since the guard was not in court, I found this guard not guilty. I was the only one that said, “Not guilty”.
Just south of our camp was a trash dump and not very far away was a village. One day our dump truck was getting fire from a single shooter. Another Marine and I were standing close to each other near a sandbag bunker. A bullet came between both our heads. We ran behind the sandbag bunker and the Marine said, “Lieutenant, are you hurt?” I said, “No, are you?” There were 10 Marines shooting in front of us and some shots were toward the dump truck. I said, “Where is the target?” One Marine said, “I don’t know”. Since I was in charge I said, “Stop shooting right now”. There was no more gunfire. The shooter was either hit or moved on.
In November 1967, I was 1st Lieutenant transferred to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. I was on another Logistic Team and my area included from the Mississippi River east in the United States to Western Europe, and Northern Africa. We inspected all the Marine units including the State Department Marine Guards, and Embassies. I became Captain during the time I was inspecting Western Europe and Northern Africa.
When I was at Camp Lejeune there was a Colonel, 2 Majors 2 Captains, several NCO’s, and myself inspecting a Marine Corp Supply Depot in Philadelphia. When we were done inspecting my Colonel asked me to brief the General. We walked in a room where there were 4 Colonels with the General. I was walking behind the rear of everyone when the General saw me. He said, “Hi, Ken, long time no see”. He was a Major and I was a Tech Sergeant when I worked for him in 1955 to 1957. This time he was a 2 Star Major General. I started to give me briefing when one of the Colonels with the General interrupted me because I spoke about troubled areas which this Colonel was responsible. At that point the General asked, “Colonel, do you have anything to say about this?” The Colonel answered, “I haven’t had a chance to check his numbers.” The General said, “Colonel, Ken worked for me when I was a Major and I know him very well. If Ken says it is green, it is green.” From then on, that Colonel did not interrupt anymore.
My first trip to Europe was Iceland. We landed at midnight but it was still light out. When we were flying in, I made a comment that we probably will not see a tour of Japanese in Iceland. When we got off the plane there they were. I believe the Japanese people visit more countries than any nation. I learned from the Icelander that if the father’s first name was John then the daughter’s last time would be Johndaughter. The son’s last name would be Johnson.
After inspecting Iceland, we landed in Oslo, Norway. The only difference I remember is they spoke Norwegian.
We next landed in Madrid, Spain. I went to a bullfight in Jereze. I learned that the Spanish language is not like the language in Mexico. I bought for souvenirs little words made out of copper that are food picks.
I flew from Spain to Morocco. As part of the inspection in each country it included the Marine Security of the Embassies. In Morocco at their Embassy, I was given by the US Ambassador, a badge that signified me as an agent of the King of Morocco. The Marine Security were told to wear civilian clothes. The Moroccan government did not want them in uniform. The United States had transmitters and receivers in another place. They would send a Marine to Germany to pick up dogs and bring them back to Morocco to use as Guard Dogs. There was a story that one of the Marines at the radio station had a UFO land within his area of guard. The Marine said he communicated with the UFO and something was done to the dog. The dog could no longer be used as a guard dog and the Marine was sent to a hospital in Italy.
We were then sent to Casablanca. I saw in our hotel the same bar setting that was in the movie, “Casablanca”. We ate our meals in this place. The next morning, we were going to leave Morocco and our room was on the second floor. We got into the elevator which was 4 feet by 4 feet. We had all of luggage and it was very tight. A woman came running down the hallway yelling, “Stop! Stop! Stop!”. The door closed and the elevator dropped to the first floor. That was the fastest elevator I ever rode and then we understood why the woman was yelling at us. The other Marine that was with me was name Ralph Fuentese. When I was in South Korea, he was a 2nd Lieutenant and he was my Platoon Commander. He got reverted back to Master Sergeant because the Marine Corps reverted temporary officers back to their enlisted status. This time in Morocco he worked for me. When we got to the airport we were in uniform. We walked to where the luggage was and found the baggage was behind closed doors that rolled up. We were waiting for our bags and just before the doors opened all of the people that were waiting jammed toward those doors. We were ahead of the line and then we got pushed back. The guy handing out the bags looked around and saw me in uniform. I had my badge under my collar and I moved my lapel for him so see my badge that I was an agent of the King of Morocco. He jumped up on the counter and dropped down in front of the people and began to move them to one side. He took us to the counter and waited on us. They put a uniformed Moroccan to escort us to a special waiting room. We waited there for the airplane that was to take us to Italy. The escort stayed with us until we boarded the plane.
We made it to Naples, Italy. When we were flying into Naples, I could see Mount Vesuvius. It looked like there were bonfires on the mountain. The stewardess told us there were holes in the mountain and through the holes you can see fire from the lava. At the airport we were picked up by another Captain and we stayed in his apartment in Naples. We took one day off for sightseeing and the Captain went with us. We traveled by train to Rome. We went to the Vatican. We went to the Fountain of Trevi where we turned our back and tossed a coin into the fountain. Next, we went to the Colosseum. There was a stone wall that separated where Julius Caesar sat from the rest of the seating. I sat in Julius Caesar seat.
We took a boat to the Isle of Capri. I saw a blue grotto inside the mountain. The tide was out and I could see the cave where the water had come in from the sea. The boat took us back to Rome and we took a train back to Naples.
One evening the Captain, Ralph, and I went to a Pizza Parlor. They had on the menu American Pizza and Italian Pizza. The Italian pizza is pizza dough with a can of tomatoes crushed by hand and with different cheeses on top. The guy was flipping a thick crust around and stretching the dough. Now that is truly an Italian pizza. After you have eaten their pizza, they serve blood oranges. The Captain told Ralph to watch what happens when you order ice cream. When Ralph ordered the ice cream you could see the waiter was not to happy. He ran out the front door and when he came back through the door, he had one ice cream cone in his hand. He put the ice cream in a dish and served it to Ralph. Then he asked me what I wanted and I said, “Ice cream”. So he went out again. When we got the bill, Ralph and I each gave a $20.00 tip to the waiter. We left the parlor and the waiter followed us down the street thanking us. It was really nice having the Captain around because he spoke Italian and he took us to all the fantastic places to see.
Ralph and I flew from Naples to Milan, Italy and changed planes to fly on to the city of Lebanon. While we were there, we did not take a tour or really do anything. We just did our job inspecting.
In February 1969, we landed in Jerusalem, Israel. There was a wall where people kiss the wall and leave note in the cracks. I saw the street where Jesus Christ carried his cross. This street was blocked off. While I was standing there, I got a very warm feeling.
Also in 1969, I was in Germany. I saw the wall between East and West Germany. In West German I went to a Bavarian shop and I bought a set of Czechoslovakian crystal glasses. The guy told me not to take them to the United States. He did not even give me a receipt. At the time Czechoslovakia was a community country.
The next place for us to stop was Dublin, Ireland. We inspected a Marine Embassy. While I was in Ireland in 1969, I had the advantage of buying a full set of Waterford Crystal from Waterford, Ireland and had it all shipped to the United States.
Our next stop was in London. We took a tour bus on our day off. Our hotel had a restaurant. The menu contained a full English breakfast. A full breakfast contained 2 eggs, muffin, and 2 slices of bacon. It came in a very small plate. I age all that and asked for 2 more full English breakfasts.
We went to Hyde Park. There is where people made speeches about any subject. We were able to see Windsor Castle. I had my picture taken with one of the guards. We went to the Wax Museum. There was a wax figure of Jack Kennedy and a lot of other famous people. In London, just about every large intersection is a traffic circle.
Next, we went to the state of New York. We had to go through United States Customs. I was in uniform and I hid the Czechoslovakian glasses in my overcoat. I was behind a woman that had rings on every finger. The declaration that was signed by her was marked nothing to declare. The man in charge said, “What about the rings?” I spoke up and said, “Is it okay if I go on through?” He looked at me and said, “Go ahead, Captain”.
Then I began to inspect logistics in every Marine unit for a total of 4 years. East of the Mississippi River Except for New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine.
In April 1970, I had taken a trip to Bermuda to inspect a Marine unit. During our flight back to North Carolina, the stewardess said, “We are going to Cuba”. My plane was being hijacked to Cuba. When we got to Cuba, the Cuban police checked every passport and ID of every passenger. They came to me and I did not show my passport because it had Diplomat Abroad on Official Business for the United States Government. I told them I did not have a passport but I showed them my North Carolina Driver License. While we were still on the ground, I saw 2 men being escorted by the Cuban police. The plane then returned to the United States.
In 1972, I was stationed in Okinawa, Japan to the 7th Communication Battalion as the S4 Logistics Officer. My responsibilities included the communication equipment, vehicles, and weapons. The value was 100 million dollars or more.
In 1973, three other marines and I were in Iwakuni, Japan inspecting the Marine Air Station commissary. We were all staying at a hotel and we gathered into one room. We played a trick on one of the marines. We laughed so hard that we were heard down the hall. It wasn’t very long when we got a knock on our door. It was Dusty Rhodes, who was wrestling for the International Wrestling Enterprise in Japan, he said “Should have known there were marines in here.” Then he invited us to dinner at the hotel with him. Surprising to us he ate 3 meals. While we were eating the people would come over to the table and bow to him.
Late in 1973 I was back in Okinawa, Japan I met a Major and we became good friends. We had taken a plane together to see his Dad that lived in Washington D.C. When we got there his Dad had his best friend James A. Michener and his wife over for dinner. We all ate and talked for quite a while. I told him I had read his first book “Tales of the South Pacific” and it was only 3/8 inch thick. Then I read his second book “Hawaii” which was about 3 inches thick. I asked Mr. Michener, “Why was your second book so thick?” He answered, “Because I started getting paid by the word.”
I was still in Okinawa in 1974 and I took a trip to the Philippines and Hong Kong, China. I purchased furniture and lamps. I still have the furniture and lamps and a lot of the souvenirs from all over the world.
In 1976, I was transferred from Okinawa, Japan to San Diego, California for retirement. I served 27 years, 6 months, 15 days and 6 hours in the United States Marine Corps.