The 8th & I Reunion Association
An organization of Marines
who served at
8th & I Streets, S.E.,
Memories of the 1950's
Some of the itmes below are in PDF format, so that your computer must have an Adobe
Reader in order for you to view them. If you are unable to open these
items, go to www.adobe.com
download and install the free version on you computer. If the file is
more than a few pages in length, we suggest that you do not attempt to
print it now, as longer files will take an unduly long time, and jam
this web site. Instead, we suggest that you save the file
to your computer, by "clicking " on the "save" icon on the left
side of the task bar immediately above the document, select the folder
into which you would like the file to be saved on your computer, and
then click on the "Save" button. Then read the document
at your leisure and enjoy!
[To exit from theses PDF files and return to this
page, click on the "Back" arrow at the left side of your web browser's
tool bar, or on your keyboard, hold down the the "Alt" and "left arrow"
One of the funniest events of the 1950's was the effort by Col. Chapman to
rid the Barracks of the "salty" ceremonial appearance of the uniforms worn by the troops.
To view the problem, Col. Chapman's solution, and its lasting effectiveness,
1958 was the banner year for great trips! In August
the 1st Platoon went to Edinburgh, Scotland and Brussels for the World's Fair.
The Edinburgh trip is featured on the "Historical - the 1950's" and "Photos - The 1950
's" pages. Another collection of photos on the Edinburgh trip, emphasizes that part
of the trip to Brussels, Belgium for participation in the 1958 World's Fair,
In June, the Second Platoon boarded
a newly commissioned aircraft carrier for a tour of South America. To see
the South American trip, click here.
For Ron Burton's interesting, and often hilarious recount of his days
in CGC between 1955-59, click here.
For Denny Harris' highly amusing story about "Officers and
Swagger Sticks", click here.
Denny's story prompted another swagger stick story by Joe Larkin, which can be
viewed by clicking here.
For Jim Sottile's account of his first "re-visit" to Newport, RI
since accompanying President Eisenhower there in 1957,
For Dan Grady's "Sunset Parade" program for 19 August 1954,
For Steve Evans' Evening Parade program for August 16, 1957,
For Del Bunker's published "Island Veteran Shares Memories - Once a Marine, Always a Marine" article,
For an excellent group of photos of the late 1950's era submitted by Dave Melchior,
For Steve Trimble's amusing 1958 story of the eagle-eyed bird that overlooked its own nest,
For an excellent 1959 Evening Star article on a Sunset Parade submitted by Tom Holstein,
To view the 1953 M1 Manual Of Arms which was submitted by Drew Graham, MCI Company, 1954-1957 ... Source: Guidebook For Marines, Third Revised Edition, First Printing, July 1, 1953, published by The Leatherneck Association, Inc., Washington, DC ... click here.
Ordered to 8th & I !
The original orders transferring Russ Curtis, Bill Rogers, George Collier,
Don Picard, and John Novosel from Camp LeJune (ITR) to 8th and I:
(Submitted by Russ Curtis)
The 1950's in Perspective - A View Down 8th Street
Urban transit at its best!
(Submitted by Bob Rowe)
The Old Corps" - Vintage 1950
Cpl Nick Nickerson at the Main Gate in 1950
(Note the blue cover on the Barracks Hat)
The view past the Main Gate - 1950
the 8th & I basketball team in March of 1951.
(L - R:: Cpl Don Nickerson, 18, of Warren MA; Cpl Don Hann, 21 Mechanicsburg PA;
Pfc Dick Weand, 22, Phil. PA; and Pfc James Murray, 18, of Holidaysburg PA.
(Submitted by Nick Nickerson)
This photo of Wayne Pilny was taken during the winter of '52-53, to show the then-new
Drill Team Jacket, which was fashioned by the post tailor (thus the jacket was introduced
several years prior to the earliest ones yet reported). The photo was taken near a
horse barn in a nearby park, where Wayne, Joe Qualtier, Joe Maglione,
Patterson and a few others had stayed overnight and decided to start cracking a 10-foot long bull-whip. The Park Police responded to several reports of gunfire in the area. They
hadn't anticipated a bull-whip, and left after they saw the Marines having a good time.
(Item submitted by Wayne Pilny)
In 1956, Col Chapman (later Commandant) had a Barracks-wide track meet.
Pictured here are the members of the 2nd plt, CGC, receiving their trophies
from Col Chapman.
1956 - PFCs Juneau and Thompson at the Main Gate.
(Items submitted by Ben Juneau)
Rich Shanoskie at Camp David - 1957
(Submitted by Rich Shanoskie)
John Hershiser in dress blues.
George Ryan with "Chesty I" prior to this debut during the 1957 parade season. At that time,
Chesty followed the handler from the ship's bell to a position beside the
CO of troops, did an about face, and stood at parade rest for the remainder
of the parade.
The Silent Drill Team's trip to Endicott, NY (the home of IBM) during the summer
George Ryan receiving the CO's trophy from Col. Leonard F. Chapman for the
(Items submitted by George Ryan)
Joe & Lil Larkin were married on May 5, 1956 in the Chapel at the
Naval Receiving Station, Anacostia, MD. From rear to front, the Sgts. with the
swords are (left side) Bud Belanger, Hank Kammen and Dick Cirka. On the right side
are Dick Blakeslee, Dick Stroup and Buzz Sawyer.
(Item submitted by Joe Larkin)
1954 honor guard for Glenn Lambert's wedding.
(Front row l - r): Don Manley, Blaine Singer, Chet Gnatt, unidentified.
(Back row l - r): Joe Storm, ? Olson, unidentified, ? Oldson.
Don Manley in 1954 (Barracks Detachment)
(Submitted by Don Manley)
3rd Plt, CGC in 1955
Lt Coulter was plt. ldr., and S/Sgt Sherman was plt. sgt.
Dwight Price (former USN) is 4th man in 1st rank, and ____ Hestor is 9th man, 1st rank
Gene Smallwood is 4th man, 2nd rank.
(Photo sbumitted by Richie DelVecchio
identifications by Gene Smallwood)
The Do's and Don't's When Reporting to 8th & I - 1956
(Submitted by Joe Ruszkowski)
USMC Birthday Cake - November, 1958
(Item submitted by Jim Harris)
Joe Westner being questioned by Commandant Randolph McCall Pate
(Col. Leonard F. Chapman is behind General Pate,
and in the foreground is Sgt Juneau)
(Item submitted by Ed Croghan)
The 4th plt. being inspected by a foreign Admiral in gym at 8th&I. Lt.Stewart is the officer
at far left. Next officer is Commandant Pate, then Capt. Richard Hatch, Fred Sheeder
over the Admiral's left shoulder, then unknown, Madix, & MacMichael.
The 4th plt.performing drill at Newport,R.I. for President Eisenhower in 1958.
The Sgt standing alone with his back to camera is Sgt Ron Burton.
(Items submitted by Ralph MacMichael)
Marine Band in 1956, led by CWO Dale Harpham
SSgt Bob Capeci and Sgt Ron Burton in May, 1957
Pfc. Vic Usin, Sgt Ron Burton and Cpl Ralph Reimers
Sgt. Ron Burton as artist - Cpl. Denny Harris as subject
1st Sq; 4th Plt. in May 1957 at the Barracks. L-r; Pvt Gwinn, Pvt.
Gene Ledford, Pfc Perry and Pfc Cuffe.
3rd CGC Silent Drill Platoon Passing in Review during a Sunset Parade in 1956.
The Platoon Leader is 1st Lt. Frank Mitchell, the Platoon Sgt. is SSgt. SSgt Sherman,
Sgt. Bill Keller (left) and Sgt. Bob Capeci (right), Pvt. Van J. Potter
(deceased 2000) (3rd Marine in the rear rank), Pfc. Warren Roseland (4th Marine
Rear Rank), Pfc. Ralph Reimers (9th Marine rear rank), and Pvt.
Dave Almer (6th Marine, front rank).
Cpl. Ralph Reimers being questioned by HRH Royal Highness Prince Philip,
Duke of Edinburgh and Captain General, Royal Marines. Col. L.F. Chapman
standing at the right and to the rear of the Prince, and Commandant R.
McCall Pate standing behind the Prince. October, 1957.
Parade through Edinburgh, Scotland in connection with Edinburgh Tattoo in 1958.
The last Marine to the right, in front of the Navy Corpsman, is Sgt. Ralph Reimers
(Above items submitted by Ralph Reimers)
Cpl Jim Meskan, with Piper Dave Boyle of the Black Watch,
taken in "The Castle on the Rock" prior to the Edinburgh Tattoo.
John Hopkins, of MCI Company in front of the Arcade.
(Items Submitted by Jim Meskan)
1st Plt. CGC at Anacostia Naval Air Station - 1956
Prior to trip to Lynchburg, Virginia
(Item submitted by Jack Badyna)
Bob Moroni at the front gate
(Items submitted by Bob Moroni)
Bob Moroni and Joe Rodino dressed in their finest "civvies"
"hit the town" in 1959.
(Item submitted by Ralph Reimers)
Pepper, Gannon and Eaton
Dick Doyle (dressed)
Dick Doyle (undressed)
Walt Petersen, Orin Howard, George Harriett, Pat Rochford and Art Gannon
Harold Sushansky and Seymour "Pattie" Ginsberg
(items above submitted by Dick Doyle)
1952 1st plt. (Drill Team) in front of CMC House.
Drill Team parades through Miami before its 1953 Orange Bowl appearance
1952 CGC pistol team - "Gallery League"
Lt. Earl Roth (1st Plt.) dancing with Gov. Earl Warren's daughter
(Eisenhower Inaugural Ball)
Jim Brunner relaxing on second deck next to gym
Jim Brunner on duty at main gate
Awaiting inspection of guard (long before today's blue overcoat)
Duty in the guardshack.
(Items above submitted by Jim Brunner)
Drill Team Squares away for ceremony
Ft Henry, Canada - 1952
Submitted by Jaime Layhew (Drill Team 2003 -2004)
Sunset parade honoring Commandant Randolph Mc. Pate.
(Item submitted by Bob Rowe)
The 1954-55 Silent Drill Team led by 1st Lt. Love
Bob Doster being inspected by 1st Lt. Francis X. Quinn - 1955
(Items submitted by Bob Doster)
The sottille twins (Jim and Vincent)
in Beirut, Lebanon - July, 1958
(submitted by Jim Sottille)
Third Platoon CGC - 1956-57
(Photos submitted by Joe Mryncza)
H&S Co. First Sgt. John Greer and Gy Sgt. Joe Larkin
1957 Guidebook for Marines featuring 1st Platoon, CGC
Evening Parade program form 26 June 1959.
(Submitted by Bill Hanley)
The Old Cannon
CHARLIE HUHA'S & WHITEY LEINES' 1959 MEMORIES
Larry Hess and I were at ITR together from P.I.. We went home on leave Christmas Eve 1958 and departed for Quantico on January 1st. We took the long way down Route 1 along with Lefty Keegan and someone else I can't remember, unless it was the Carroll brothers, arriving at Quantico on the 2nd, our reporting day and time. We were greeted by John T. Evans, Bill Blumberg, and Jim Robinson and felt as though I was back at P. I.. We then met then Sgt. Burton and Sgt. Croghan and at some point then Lt. Stewart. We went through a grueling 3 months of training, but, it was terrific. It was a wonderful experience especially working with the caliber of Marines conducting our training. Then Lt. Stewart was our Platoon Leader, Sgt. Burton was our Platoon Sergeant, Sgt. Croghan was our right guide, Cpl. Robinson was the 1st Squad Leader, Cpl. John Evans was the 2nd Squad Leader, and Cpl. Bill Blumberg was the 3rd Squad Leader. I think I have all the ranks and positions correct.
We arrived at the Barracks and only stayed there a month when we were shipped out to Building 58 at the Naval Gun Factory because the Barracks was too crowded. At that time a one Platoon Drill Team was established for which I was honored to be selected and to serve as the 3rd squad Leader. This required additional extensive training outside and at the National Guard Armory. We always joked how we could sleep well that night because the National Guard was awake or so the signs in the armory indicated. I don't believe we ever saw a Guardsman, I guess they were sleeping so they could be up during the night. I can't respond to everyone as my email sent book won't let me. I don't have Col. Stewart's email address. Some of my fondest memories are of the time at Quantico and, of course, at 8th & I. The fondest are of some of the finest Marines I ever served with and for and they are:
Arthur L. Stewart
Semper Fi to all.
8th & I Marine CHARLIE HUHA, Ceremonial Guard Company, Silent Drill Platoon, 1958-1961, Pompton Lakes, NJ
John - You can add to Charlie's notes the fact that when we arrived in DC., one of the first duties we received was the graveyard shift for John Foster Dulles at Wash. Cath.; guarding a casket in the catacombs. One of my memories of Lt. Stewart was the hike at Camp David where he made the platoon put chewing tobacco in their mouths and keep up with his long legs. Only two people didn't get sick
Regards, Semper Fi
8th & I Marine EGIL "WHITEY" LEINES, Color Guard, 1958-1961, Alpharetta,GA
The above letter, dated June 21, 1957, was written by the widow (Jean) of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_McCarthy ... and was sent to 8th & I Marine Cornelius "Nick" Bailey, 1957-1958, Greenwich, CT. The 4th Platoon participated at Sen. Joe McCarthy's funeral in Washington and I believe that everyone got one.
7-30-10 ... Joe Westner ....super picture of Ernest "Dick" Savoy. I arrived at the barracks in January 1957 and was assigned to the newly formed 4th Platoon. Lt. Savoy was my platoon leader. Fair, quiet and articulate...looked like a Marine officer and acted like one. I saw him mad or perhaps better said, upset...once. The platoon was at Camp David in early spring of 1957 and I had met a young, good-looking gal that lived in Gettysburg. I borrowed one of my platoon mates (Bob Moroni) new Chevrolet and decided to go see her see her one evening. Ron Gaydosh went with me to meet one of her friends. After a wild evening and a snout full of beer, we headed back to Camp David and on that long lonesome drive I fell asleep at the wheel, turned over the car and completely destroyed it....luckily both of us never got a scratch. The state police arrested me and offered jail or a $25.00 fine. I was flat broke and said if you will drive me back to Camp David, I will get it from Lt. Savoy. The Trooper was a former Marine and said, lets go. I arrived at the gate about 0300 and walked up to the door of Lt. Savoy's hut (we all lived in separate little huts in 1957) and knocked on the door. Lt. Savoy came to the door in his shorts and I explained my problem to a very p--ssed off Marine Corps Lieutenant. He gave me the $25.00. The next morning walking down to the big house for chow....he walked down with me and put his hand on my shoulder and with a big smile, said "just pay me back when you get in". I never heard another word about it....what a wonderful gesture that I sorely needed that cold morning at Camp David.
As I worked my way through my own military career, I tried to emulate men like Dick Savoy, Richard Hatch, Bob Capeci, Ron Burton and even old 1Sgt Alsop. At the tender age of 19, I was quite fortunate to have had such a fine bunch of mentors.
Sorry for the windy note, but the picture brought back some very pleasant memories,
Semper fi....Denny Harris, CGC, 1957-58
Joe Ruszkowski guarding president Eisenhower at Newport RI. 1957
I am Michael H. Olejarz (1554372) and I was fresh out of Parris Island via Camp Geiger and 8th &I was my first duty post. Briefly, I was assigned to the Second Platoon, MCI and bunked in the infamous "10 Room". I met you and Bernie McKonnis as the latter was the senior NCO in charge of 10 room while I was there. He use to refer to you as "Butch". Also I remember Sgt Brown "Brownie" who ran the supply window adjacent to 10 room. While at the Barracks, the guys referred to me as "Olie" which was short for the last name of Olejarz. I hung around with Bob Michaels who was from Wheeling, West Virginia. I have fond memories of the fun and the misery of those summer Moonlight Parades in our starched whites and heavy blues-the sweat just poured off the body. I believe what kept me from passing out, like some of the other guys, was the fact that myself and a bunch of us that drank about six qts of beer right before the parade-we were hydrated. Gunny Gamm was our company gunny. I worked in Supply with Sgt.Tatara and remember Sgt. Ferrante; and the officers which I still remember were Lieut. O'Toole, there was Lieut Lapham from CGC, and Captain Hatch also from CGC. I also remember Lieut Wallace M. Green III. Colonel Jonas M. Platt had just taken over when I arrived replacing Colonel Chapman. We had a lot of laughs hitting all the joints on 8th street and I wonder now how we escaped with our lives as we went into places owned and frequented by the "brothers" such as the "Red Robin", and who could forget the the toughest bar on 8th Street, "Guy's". I also remember J&J's grill, buying a meal ticket which was punched for each meal you bought.
I remained at 8th & I until January 1960 when I made the cut for MSG School. Upon finishing, I was assigned to the MSG detachment in Montevideo,Uruguay. I remained there two years, married my wife and we are celebrating 50 yrs next March. She was a secretary assigned to the embassy. Fifty years later, two children, two grandchildren is the final score card.
I was discharged in 62 and went to George Washington University and then went to work for the Federal Government which I retired from after 36 yrs;however, I still continue to do contract work, serving in all the war zones.
8th & I Marine MICHAEL OLEJARZ, Marine Corps Institute Co., 2nd Plt., 1958-1960, Haymarket, VA
1-21-12 ... Great reminiscing----thanks for bringing back a lot of forgotten memories. Not really forgotten, but safely tucked away in our memory banks and not released again until someone like you brings them up "front and center".
I remember coming into the Bks and buying gas from the gas pumps that were right outside the mess hall, along side the arcade. My platoon helped unload the saluting batteries that someone "found" in New England some where----at the Sub. base at New London I believe.---
A Gy Sgt from MCI ( a cannon cocker) was delegated to teach the crews of the batteries proper saluting technique but someone did not recall that he would usually stop at "Fleets Inn" before reporting to the barracks for battery duty ( and he also stuttered quite a bit) so the first volleys that were test fired, ( no one knew how much powder to use with the blank rounds), did some considerable damage to the windows in the Commandant's house at the far end of the parade deck( much to the amusement of the Marines that were watching this fiasco).
Some of us from that 50's period may recall Gy Bunce's call over the P A system for the -----Plt to fall out for the MAN-U-RAY detail. There were many questions as to why there were so many shovels in the bed of the truck that took the troops out to Lt Col Roy J. Batterton's (NOTE: We honor him on our website's Hall of Valor, http://8thandi.com/valor.html ) horse ranch in nearby VA. It became clear when they realized that the Lt Col had sold another load of horse manure to the Bks. to be shoveled over the parade deck to preserve the grass during the winter time.----MEMORIES-----
Joe "Mustang" Larkin, Ceremonial Guard Company, 1955-1959 / USMC 1948-1971, San Diego, CA
I was selected to attend the one of the early classes of the Marine Drill Instructor School along with four other Pfc.'s. from Parris Island Recruit Depot upon completion of boot camp training in the Fall of 1952.
(Submitted by David Titus, Barracks Detachment, 1953-1955, Simpsonville, SC)
RALPH SHERMAN'S 1950'S MEMORIES OF "SGT. RECKLESS," THE KOREAN WAR HORSE AND NATIONAL HERO
7-25-13 ... I served in Korea from Feb. 1952 to Apr.1953. I was a Sgt with a recoilless rifle squad and served under Lt. Eric Pedersen, who bought Reckless and brought her to our company. In a book written by Colonel Andrew Geer, "Reckless, Pride of the Marines" published in 1955, I am mentioned in Reckless' first mission on pages 144 to 147. On those pages he wrote: " Wham-whoosh!" the hills bellowed and rocketed with the roar. Behind the weapon spurted a flume of dust. Though weighted down with six shells, Reckless left the ground with all four feet....her eyes went white". She soon became accustomed to the sound of the gun. While Plt.Sgt. Latham trained her, I believe it was PFC. Monroe Coleman who cared for her. We were indeed "the horse Marines" and proud of it. And yes, the enemy did keep a watchful eye out to try get Reckless whenever the opportunity presented itself. I am proud to have served with Reckless and the other Marines of our company. A unique bit of history from the Korean War that even today, at 80 yrs of age, I will always remember.
8th & I Marine Ralph Sherman, Barracks Detachment/Ceremonial Guard Company, 3rd Platoon, 1955-1957, Korean War veteran, Joliet, IL
NOTE: "Sgt. Reckless" joined the Corps in 1952, fought in the Korean War (received two Purple Hearts), and passed away in 1968.
Click on this link for more information, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sgt_Reckless
Post Mascot “Chesty” of 8th and I By David F. Felmet
While serving in the Marines, I was stationed in Washington, DC. “Chesty” was the Post Mascot of 8th and I. In November of 1959, Chesty and I were invited by the Washington Bulldog Club to the Washington Bulldog Clubs gathering in Chevy Chase, MD. Chesty and “Jiggs”, Quantico's mascot, were both invited guests. This picture shows Chesty after having been given 2 tranquilizer shots by his veterinarian, given to him due to the fact that he had led a very sheltered life as a mascot, and had not been exposed to other dogs. At this time at 8th and I, I was in a Special Services Company. In addition to caring for Chesty, I was also Cannon Cocker on Gun No. 1 of the Saluting Battery. I started in CGC in November of 1957 and was in Third Platoon for 1 year. My days at 8th and I will always be near and dear to my heart.
The pictures are of Me with Chesty and the back of the photo for dating and photographer information. The other is a cardboard placard that was from the Washington Bulldog Club that told people who he was being that he was just up on the stage and on the other side of the stage was Jiggs.
8th & I Marine David F. Felmet, Member 3rd. Platoon 1958
After my tour with CGC I went to H &S Company/Special Services. My job was to look after Cpl Chesty. Based on what I can read he was #1.
I was stationed at 8th & Eye 1953 - 1955. In those days, the permanent "Company" at Camp David were Navy personnel and a few civilians. As a "fresh"
2nd Lt. it was my regular (pleasant) assignment to be at Camp David - Guard Duty when we learned that Ike was going to be there. An interesting sidelite:
Ike had kept with him, the driver that he had used during WW II in France. This individual had a reputation for being a fast driver. On more than one
occasion, Ike would be driven to Camp David leaving the support vehicles in the dust.
Security, of course, was "tight" partcularly during those days. Our orders were to protect the Camp and not to be seen. On one occasion Ike had the first ever meeting of the White House staff, Dept. Secretaries, etc. at the Camp. Media personnel were transported to the proper location - on board a bus. It was my misfortune to be "spotted" by the media people who wnated me tostop and talk with them. I disappeared into the woods!
One of the special pleasures while on duty at the Camp was the service and food that was served at the "Mess Hall". One could order (almost) whatever he
wanted - steak & eggs for breakfast - and receive an outstanding meal.
Sumbitted by Bernie Oakes, 8th and I Marine, 1953-1955
2-13-15 --- BILL WAYLAND'S EARLY 1950'S MEMORIES OF 8TH & I
John--seeing the pictures of "ike" reminded me of an incident that happened at an ike inaugural ball at the statler hotel @ 16th & k streets, nw in early 1957 at which i was part of the military honor guard. There were a number of inaugural balls around town as no one place was large enough to host all of those interested in attending one. So the newly elected president (2nd term) would go from ball to ball to make his appearance. One piece of background info. Someone at marine barracks had brought in a dance teacher to teach the rumba and i took her lessons. So, at the ball i asked one of the female singers with the band to dance. As we were dancing, i asked her if the band would play a rumba so i could try out my new steps with her. She said something like "...i don't know, let's go ask him..." the band playing was guy lombardo so we went up to the band stand. As he leaned over she said, "...the sgt. Would like to know if you would play a rumba for him..."or words to that effect. Lombardo responded with, "... We don't play rumbas, we leave them to xavier cugat..." needless to say, i was crushed. From that moment on, i had a dislike for lombardo but still liked his music. About five minutes later i was still dancing with the young lady when lombardo got on the microphone and said something like, "...we have a request from president eisenhower for a rumba..." well, my take was that lombardo was trying to save face since ike had already come and gone to some other ball
Submitted by Bill Wayland, 8th & I, MCI Detachment and H & S Company, 1954-1957, The Villages, FL
Captain Tom Ryan's Late-1950's memories of the 3rd Platoon, Ceremonial Guard Company
1-29-17 - I just spent some time reading a couple of the history stories at the Building #58 Barracks Gang and their tale from their point of view. As Commissioned Officers at the Barracks there were just a few commissioned officers that served in ceremonies in command of troops as well as guarding the Commander in Chief. The varied backgrounds and skills of all Marines both enlisted and commissioned was to say the least, fantastic. When I was assigned to the 3rd Platoon of Guard Company, I had just transferred from the USS Intrepid CVA 11 as the Executive Officer of the US Marine Detachment after 2 years aboard with her. She was a beauty, every Marine in the Detachment were great Marines and my 2 years aboard her remains very memorable. I was shocked and burst with pride when I studied each and every background file on every Marine in the Guard Platoon that I now was in charge. I met the platoon at Camp David in October of 1959. I rehearsed and re-rehearsed by myself for the ceremonial parade that I was going to be in when the unit would return from its assignment at Camp David. When I was Executive Officer of the first rifle Company in the 3rd Marine Division, I coached the company fast ball team. We won the Pacific Championship. I believed in teamwork concepts and told the 3rd Platoon that I needed them as they needed me for us to perform successfully as a unit. I had not seen a parade at the Barracks and the schedule says that I was going to be in a parade before I was going to see one. Not only was I going to be in a parade at the Barracks but I was also going to be in a parade at the Iwo Jima Monument on November 10th. To put a little topping on the parades, my unit was selected for the wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown on Veterans Day the 11th of November. Thank God I had participated in many ceremonies aboard the USS Intrepid. It allowed me to be attentive to instructions and flexible in leadership. Oh and by the way, I had my first date with my wife Sue to attend the Commandants Birthday Ball at the Sheraton on November 10, 1959. My wife was a New York Conover Model who was the Princess at the ball. She was stunning in all respects and I was her proud escort who took every opportunity to make her time the most meaningful date of her life. It worked because we just celebrated our 55th wedding anniversary.
As for the 3rd Platoon and all that faced us following the parade at Iwo Jima on the birthday of the Corps, I last saw them after the parade at Building 58. Sue and I were invited for their Birthday brunch at the Enlisted Club. It was icing on the cake of the day and kept the excitement of events rolling on the “class act” level. For this short story I will keep with the 3rd Platoon events and simply state that I stayed up all night and concluded at my office in Building 58 at 6.30 am on the 11th of November to get ready for the Tomb of the Unknown Wreath Laying ceremony. I went up to the sleeping quarters for the 3rd Platoon and found no one around. In fact, none of the racks had been even bothered or slept in all night. Liberty is up at 7 am and I could hear activity arriving through the lower level main hatchway. I moved quickly in the shadows to my office. I sat and prayed a tad and then leaned back and sipped on a fresh brew of coffee. I watched from my window that was above the street where the platoon was to form for inspection. “Hey Mr. Flexible…what in the hell can you do if someone is screwed up and not ready? Unless it was so dramatic that they had to be dismissed, not really anything. In their state of mind, they are mechanical and respondent to their training and I am utterly confident they are totally ready. Somewhat blind yes, but totally ready!!” As I looked out the window, I could see the ranks weaving at attention. My Platoon Sergeant informed me the platoon was ready for inspection and I replied, “Load the bus Sergeant.” He looked at me with sort of a smirky smile and had everybody load the bus. If you ever participated in a joint ceremony, you realize the Army runs the ceremony and high ranking officers run around like crazy. We formed up prior to the ceremony at the base of the 48 steps up to the tomb. Mind you, I have not slept the whole night as well. Guess what? An Army Major comes up to me and says, “Follow me Lieutenant, I have some changes to show you.” He talks all the way up the 48 stairs and back down. He then asks me if I have any questions. I say, “No Sir!” My Platoon Sergeant asks me if I have any changes to give him. I say,”Nope!” Just as we get the orders to move out, the Major comes running to me and says, “Forget all the changes, do it as you rehearsed!” I replied,' Aye aye sir.”
Submitted by Thomas J. Ryan, Commander of the 3rd Platoon, Ceremonial Guard Company and CO of MCI Company, 10-4-59 through 2-28-63, Columbus, OH
Click here to read the memories of the Body Bearer's of the 1950's Body Bearers
Click here to read the memories of SgtMaj Blackie (mascot) SgtMaj Blackie
For David Melchior's memories of the 1950's, Click here.
Anyone having additional submissions for this page should send them