A Marine Mustang
Arthur was born during the Great Depression, when millions were thrown out of work, tens of thousands of businesses collapsed, and factories closed across the nation - these events shaped him mentally and physically for the life that he was to eventually lead as a United States Marine!
As a child born in the inner city during the 1930s, growing into manhood during World War II, and enlisting in the Marine Corps at seventeen, embraced the idea, that a street kid like Arthur would join the military, even when it was not considered a popular endeavor. Because World War II had just ended, and the military were in the midst of a reduction in force, the strength of the Marine Corps was less than 70,000 as compared to having almost 500,000 Marines, 6 Marine Divisions, and 5 Marine Aircraft Wings at the end of the war.
He attributes much of his understanding of world events, to the time frame in history when he was born. Franklin Delano Roosevelt just became President and had to deal with the Great Depression. In 1941, he would ask congress to declare war against Japan, Germany and Italy. He led this country during World War II, until his demise in 1944. Even during the difficult period of the Great Depression and World War II, it was a time--when America experienced the jubilation of patriotism, and learned to fight a war to win!
As World War II continued, the Great Depression was officially over. This was a patriotic war with all Americans supporting the war effort one way or the other. Many joined the military, and many worked in aircraft factories or shipyards.
Arthur's motivation for joining was at its peak, because he wanted to get away from home, the neighborhood andthe gangs, and he knew that the Marines was his passage to a new life! In 1947, the day he turned seventeen, Arthur enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. His parents were reluctant to give him permission to join the Corps. His folks didn't think much of the idea of him joining anything, and were not in favor of his leaving home. They finally relented and signed the enlistment papers.
On the 19th of September Arthur was sworn-in, and he was immediately transported by a Marine Corps vehicle to the recruit Depot in San Diego.
Twelve weeks later, he got my wish, when he successfully completed recruit training, and became a full-fledged Marine. Arthur embraced a career of adventure, a sense of responsibility, honor and commitment. His service in the Corps led him to sites and scenes around the world, and into the field of combat, where he grew into a responsible young man.
Arthur's career moved so quickly, that he eventually caught up with the aftermath of World War II - which was to enter the arena of combat in Korea. He became committed and dedicated to his new life, and the Marine Corps gave him every opportunity to move and, work hard, learn his craft, and improve his skills at fighting wars! Arthur moved up quickly in rank, positions of responsibility, and he valued the status of leadership that was granted to him. One of his main attributes in understanding what was expected of him, was that he never hesitated to seek help from others - especially from the more experienced and seasoned Marines.
The Korean War generated an immediate increase in strength in the Marine Corps. Arthur was detailed for duty as a Drill Instructor in order to cope with the large influx ofrecruits, in support of the rapid build-up of active duty Marines for assignment to Korea. Preparing these young men for war was in a sense preparing himself for a combat tour in Korea.
Eventually, as a Staff Non-Commissioned officer, Arthur was assigned to Camp Pendleton for infantry training, then to Pickle Meadows, California for cold weather training in preparation for duty in Korea.
He obviously did his job well enough as a Platoon Sergeant, that the Marine Corps commissioned Arthur a Second Lieutenant during the latter part of his tour in Korea. He gained some polish and a lot of knowledge while attending The Basic School - an institution for newly commissioned officers, located in Quantico, Virginia. While at Quantico, he also learned much about the historical environment - the Civil War, legends of the Marine Corps, military politics, and people of other cultures. He encountered events, traveled the world, and accomplished many things that were beyond any aspirations he may have had at the time he decided to join the Corps. He served in many post and stations across the country, including the large cities of Chicago and Los Angeles. He went to sea for two years, he traveled to foreign lands, and again Arthur went into the arena of combat in a place called Vietnam.
In 1957, while stationed in Chicago, a classified presentation was made by a team of officers out of headquarters, Marine Corps in Washington, D.C. This team gave this presentation in "skit format" about a place called Indochina. They spoke of the politics, the conflict between the communist and the rest of southeast Asia, and the role of the American Military Advisory group. Most of those that attendedthis presentation had no idea where Indochina was, nor that someday, some of them would be part of that "skit" in a place called Vietnam! By this time, Arthur was well into his career as a Marine, and much more would be added to his worldly experiences and education, to include a second tour in Vietnam.
The crucible of war in Korea and Vietnam developed Arthur's character, his skills for survival - and the qualities to lead Marines both in and out of combat!
Arthur's story begins with his youth, and how he grew up as a street kid who loved school, but reluctantly left after completing the 10th grade, in order to help his family out financially. He describes his family, his relatives ad certain events, which influenced his determination to become a man. His character began to develop at home, in school, and as a member of a gang! He tells of feeling adrift while working at a civilian job, which created a void in his life! He began to develop a yearning to get a life away from home, the civilian job, and the gangs.
This story will describe Arthur's life as it evolves - as a member of the United States Marine Corps.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - dsullivan800 - LibraryThing
I was JROTC when I was in high school. Col. Eppley was the commander of the entire district-wide JROTC program. I was much impressed with him back then and stumbled on this book while looking up ... Read full review