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Why I believe in the United States of America

August 18, 2016

Photo on 2-9-15 at 8.56 AM


Clara, me, Bob and Todd in 1975 in Tustin, California.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

In November, 1970, I was released about a month early from confinement in the U.S. Navy Correctional Facility in Millington, Tennessee.  I had been sentenced to six months for standing up to my USMC Commanding Officer, Major Waddell, who dared me to hit him.  Well, I did dare.  My second grade teacher taught us to stand up to bullies.

Of course, I was immediately arrested and got a Summary Court Martial before a Navy Captain.  He found me guilty of assault on a superior officer and sentenced me to six months at hard labor, forfeiture of 2/3 pay, and a Bad Conduct Discharge.  I fully expected to celebrate Christmas in the brig before becoming a civilian.

For some reason, that has never been made clear to me, I got out of jail a month early and the Bad Conduct Discharge was dismissed.

Instead of Christmas in jail, I got orders to Southern California to train as a supply man, albeit making only 1/3 my usual pay until after Christmas.

Here’s why I have faith in my fellow Americans:  that day in Millington, Tennessee, in November, a Marine Corps Captain escorted me through the Marine Corps Training Squadron headquarters where Major Waddell had been commander.  As I followed the Captain through the administration section, the room erupted in applause.  I confess I was mystified by the kindness of these strangers.  I never saw any of them again.

Those applauders were U.S. Marines, many of them Vietnam veterans.  Do they sound like the kind of person who would blindly follow the likes of Donald Trump?

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