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236 years ago–1775 to be exact–the U.S. Marine Corps began their history as the first to fight and die for America.

45 years ago, in 1966, I enlisted in the Marine Corps to go to war in Vietnam.

Why did I do such a stupid thing? It was my best friend’s fault. We were both going to be drafted and thought it would be a cool thing to do. I’m kidding about it being my best friend’s fault; I was the instigator. After growing up watching John Wayne movies like the Sands of Iwo Jima and admiring my favorite uncle who was a real-life Marine who fought on Iwo Jima during WW2.

So I got my best friend to go along with me and we enlisted under the buddy system. They promised us we would always be together. Well, that was a big lie–I never saw him again until I was discharged two years later in July of 1968.

Someone recently asked me what I got from that life-changing experience. The answer popped out of my mouth and without thinking I said I lost my innocence.

Perhaps this video can explain it better than I can.

[vsw id=”ASETse4oNlI” source=”youtube” width=”425″ height=”344″ autoplay=”no”]

November 10th will always be my birthday as well. God Bless the Marine Corps, our country, and all our veterans. Happy Birthday Marines, Semper Fidelis, and Happy Veterans Day.

Editor’s note: Thanks to “HeyMarine” for great guest post–and thank you, and all our veterans for your honorable and admirable service. 


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