WHAT MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIPS?
Not long after I got out of the Marine Corps in 1952, I joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW). I used to go to meetings, social events and ceremonies a lot in the earlier days but since I’ve gotten older, I seldom get up there anymore.
HOW HAS MILITARY SERVICE INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU HAVE APPROACHED YOUR LIFE AND CAREER?
The discipline I learned in the Marine gave me a lifetime of confidence. I believe in my ability to accomplish whatever I set out to do regardless of the difficulties. It also gave me the courage to try things I would otherwise have avoided.
Perhaps the most important lesson I learned came from fighting in deadly combat, often against great odds. I should have been killed many times yet I survived without a scratch. I often wonder why but more importantly, I’ve realized how fragile and precious life is and how lucky I am to be alive.
I have also come to believe we’d have a better country if all able bodied men had to do at least one hitch of military service where discipline, integrity, endurance, self-confidence and teamwork are drilled into their entire being. I believe the result would be better, more productive citizens.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR THOSE THAT ARE STILL SERVING?
When you make mistakes, and you will, it’s important to quickly recognize these mistakes and to devise and apply the means to correct them.
Be a cooperative team player, not a go-it-alone maverick. Failing to show a spirit of cooperation can doom the mission.
Learn the skills and take the training that give you a comprehensive understanding of your job and those of your subordinates. As best as possible, know your immediate supervisor’s job in case that person is incapacitated and you must step in and take over.
Above all else, be as proud of your service to our country as were are as proud of you.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU MAINTAIN A BOND WITH YOUR SERVICE AND THOSE YOU SERVED WITH?
It is good for me. For many years I have thought about things that happened to me in combat. Now I am with a bunch of guys who have seen as bad or worse. Some were in my war in Korea, others are veterans of World War II, Vietnam and wars in the Middle East, but no matter which war, we are a Band of Brothers in the strictest sense of the term. TogetherWeServed.com keeps it alive.