This is an autobiography, Memoir if you will of four years of my life as a United States Marine. This particular story is dated from April 1963 through November 1967, while I was on active duty in the Marines. It also involves two tours of duty in Vietnam.
It begins with enlistment while still in high school, boot camp, and then into my first year at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where I became a problem for the authorities, and my resulting turn around. It then transitions to the new me, experiences of traveling overseas, not only crossing the Atlantic to Spain, but also the Pacific to Okinawa, and finally, to Vietnam. While in Vietnam on my first tour, I became an "experiment", which resulted in some personal satisfaction.
Next is my rotation back to the States, and new experiences as a non-commissioned officer. It was a time of homecoming and the renewing of a friendship from my first tour of duty in Vietnam. Then, I experienced more training and harassments, resulting in my extension of enlistment so that I could return for a second tour of duty in Vietnam.
This is when the war in Vietnam really started to increase in events that could only be noticed by someone retuning there for a second tour. Someone like me, who has traveled through the northern part of South Vietnam right up to the Demilitarized Zone. This is when the story really gets to the heart of my memories.
The changing of MOS (military occupational specialty) duties physically, but not on Marine Corps paper, where a truck driver/mechanic becomes a real Marine with a rifle. A grunt! An infantryman. The fears of not knowing, what is about to happen, and what to do, when it happens. These fears are not so much for myself, but for the Marines I feel responsible for.
Then comes the relief from stress, it is all over. And recovery is now in a hospital. But yes, I, like a million others, still claim to this day to be a United States Marine.