gene ervin
gene ervin

September 9th, 2005, 5:35 am #81

hi gene, glad you got my e-mail, iwas in the 7th or 8th squad. can't remember which one. ronny geckle and thomas was in my squad. your the first person other than dick drown i've talked to from the plt. i went to jacksonville fla. after we left p.i.
i'm retired now. just loafing all day. how you doing . have you talked to others from 71.
i never knew what happened to sgt. mckeon until i read the book " incedent at ribbon creek" i'm glad it worked out for mckeon. i really think he was a good guy. will poole
Hey Poole,
Gene Ervin here. I was just visiting Gunny's site and saw your name. It's been two years since we spoke. How are you and how's everything where you are since the onslaught of hurricane Katrina. Man, what wrath she brought !
I hope all is well with you and yours.
It's coming up on 50 years since the Incident at Ribbon Creek. I heard that we might be invited back there on that day to commemorate those six men and Sgt. Mac.

Write me back if you get this message.
Semper Fidelis
Gene Ervin, USMC 1956-1960

"Let it roll like a big wheel
down in a Georgia cottonfield. Honey hush."
Big Joe Turner c.1951
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will poole
will poole

September 20th, 2005, 8:34 pm #82

Hey Gene,
Scanning and seen your message. Every Things going quite well for myself, Hope your doing well your self. Yea i can't believe its been 5o years since we made the trip through Parris Island. It would be sorta nice if we could have some type of reunion to remember our six comrades. I'll be 67 years old this comming Febuary so that means every one should be 68 - 69. I joined on my 17 birthday. Idon't know how many would be able [ health wise ] to join us. i still work out every day so i'm am in pretty good shape[for a old man]. You know it would be great if Judge Stevens, The judge who wrote "court Martial At Parris Island' could join us. If you see this answer me and maybe we can get something going. I'm not sure How we could get in touch with anyone else. Richard Drown is Still in Huntington, West Virginia. I don't know about any one else.
William Poole
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gene ervin
gene ervin

October 10th, 2005, 4:27 am #83

hey Bill..................I just read your post of Sept 20th and thought I'd get back to you. I'm still waiting to hear from Judge Stevens about getting together in P.I. for a rememberance of those 6 guys who died. All these years, no one has said anything about them. Their memory has been supressed because Sgt. Mac was still carrying this around with him and out of respect, the 6 were put on the back burner. Well, we're coming up on 50 years and I believe it's time that these guys got some recognition and closure with all of us who are still alive.
Stay in touch.
Gene Ervin
Plt 71
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william poole
william poole

November 17th, 2005, 2:02 am #84

Hey Gene,
Sorry it took so long to get back to you but, i've been quite busy,
I took a new job a few weeks ago and they have kept me pretty busy.
I tried retirement but it just didn't fit. I still go to the gym daily but it just wasn't enough.
You know Gene i've been re-thinking the memorial thing for the six that didn't come back from Ribbon Creek. Something you said left a bad taste in my mouth. I'm Sure you didn't mean it that way but when you said the six were left on the back burner because Sgt. Mckeon was still alive sorta made me feel a little guilty. You know one thing kept comming to the front of my mind over the years. I wonder What those six would say about the events leading up to their deaths if we could freeze time for 1 minute and get their comments. I would like to know if they thought Sgt. Mckeons actions were justified. Even if justice prevailed at his court martial. You know no matter how we feel about him the fact remains that six innocent recruits died. I to this day don't know if we were that, as a platoon, out of control or if it was just alcohol that got us into the swamp. I never thought that it was a general practice to take platoons into Ribbon Creek.I Thought than that was a fabrication and i still do. That would make it just a really bad decision on his part. A decision undoubtly made partly because of the alcohol.
What i'm leading to is, it seems a little to have a memorial. Let me know how you feel about this.
I still believe Sgt. Mckeon was one fine Marine. After talking to him shortly before his death i know how he felt about the whole thing.
William Poole





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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 3rd, 2006, 5:06 pm #85

The following is from

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/usmchist/parris.txt

"Despite the great care thus used in the selection of men assigned to
train recruits, a tragedy resulting from the grievous errors of judgment of a
junior drill instructor occurred on Parris Island in April 1956. Various
regulations and standing orders of the post were violated at the same time.

The offending DI was Staff Sergeant Matthew C. McKeon, assigned to Platoon 71,
"A" Company, 3d Recruit Training Battalion.<81> On Sunday night, 8 April,
between 2000 and 2045, he marched 74 men of Platoon 71 from their barracks to
Ribbon Creek, one of the tidal streams on Parris Island, and led the men into
the water. Some of them got into depths over their heads, panic ensued, and
six recruits drowned in the resulting confusion.

The ostensible purpose of
the march was to teach the recruits discipline.<82> A court of inquiry was convened the next day by Major General Joseph C.
Burger, Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, to
investigate the circumstances. Evidence presented to the court showed that
Sergeant McKeon had graduated from the Drill Instructors' School in February
1956, ranking 14th in a class of 55 graduates; a total of 90 students had
begun the course in his class.

He had been screened by the Psychiatric
Observation Unit on 3 January 1956 and given the highest possible rating on
"motivation," "emotional stability," and "hostility factors," and a
better-than-average rating on "achievement." The conclusion of the
psychiatric unit was that McKeon was a mature, stable appearing career
Marine."<83> 16



The court was of the opinion, after considering all the evidence brought
before it, that the directives governing the recruit-training program were
correct and adequate.<84> These directives, which went into some detail in
prohibiting oppression of recruits and in forbidding training operations in
the nature of punishment, were repeatedly impressed upon students in the Drill
Instructor's School and upon senior and junior drill instructors.<85> In the
opinion of the court, supervision of the training program was adequate.<86>

The court's findings of fact and its opinions based on these findings placed
the blame for the accident squarely on Sergeant McKeon, who, "in conducting an
unauthorized and unnecessary march by night into an area of hazard...which
resulted in the deaths of six brother Marines, not only broke established
regulations but violated the fine traditions of the noncommissioned officers
of the United States Marine Corps and betrayed the trust reposed in him by his
Country, his Corps, his lost comrades and the families of the dead."<87> It
recommended, among other that the sergeant be tried by general
court-martial.<88> After making certain clarifying and supplementary remarks, General Burger
approved the proceedings, findings, opinions, and recommendations.<89>

When the record of proceedings of the court of inquiry was reviewed by
the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Randolph McC. Pate, he was of the
opinion that the court's action in the case had not gone as far as it should
have. The degree of guilt attributable to Sergeant McKeon, he believed, was
only part of the question.

The Marine Corps itself was on trial in a moral
sense for the death of the six recruits, in his opinion, and he believed that
a reorganization of training procedures at Parris Island, "insofar as the
supervision thereof is concerned," was necessary.<90> Thus, a separate recruit training command was established at Parris
Island, to be commanded by a brigadier general selected by the Commandant and
reporting directly to him.

In this way, the Commandant could "personally
control and monitor the steps which must be taken to insure more effective
supervision of our recruit training system." A similar recruit training
command was to be established at San Diego. Each of these recruit training
commands was to be staffed with specially selected officers "to supervise and
monitor but not to supplant the drill instructors" in the training of
recruits.

At Headquarters Marine Corps, in Washington, the Commandant
appointed an Inspector General of Recruit Training to assist him in the close
supervision of this new administrative machinery. These extraordinary
measures would remain in effect, he said, until he was convinced that no
reasonable objection could be made to the Marine Corps training program.<91> 17





Thus Sergeant McKeon's ill-fated march set off immediate repercussions
which shook Marine Corps training from top to bottom. Moreover, an
uninterrupted flood of publicity by the press, radio, and television literally
divided the entire country into two opposing camps, those who condemmed McKeon
for what had happened and those who sympathized with him.

It was in this glare of public gaze that McKeon's court-martial began at
Parris Island on 16 July 1956. A noted New York trial counsel, Emile Zola
Berman, undertook the sergeant's defense before the military court. For three
weeks, the battle ebbed and flowed, concerned as much with the propriety of
the rationale and practices of Marine Corps training as with McKeon's
responsibility for the Ribbon Creek affair. Witnesses came forward to defend
Marine training, others came forth to condemn it.

The defense presentation
culminated in the appearance on the stand of retired Lieutenant General Lewis
B. Puller and the Commandant of the Marine Corps himself.

Finally, on 4 August 1956, the court handed down its decision: McKeon
was acquitted of charges of manslaughter and oppression of troops; he was
found guilty of negligent homicide and drinking on duty. The sentence was a
fine of $270, nine months confinement at hard labor as a private and a
bad-conduct discharge from the Marine Corps. Upon review by the Secretary of
the Navy, the sentence was reduced to three months hard labor and reduction to
the rank of private; the discharge was set aside and the fine remitted.

Having already served part of his term prior to sentencing, McKeon was
released from custody on 19 October 1956 and restored to duty commensurate
with his reduced rank. By then, most of the public tumult had died, but there
was little doubt that 8 April 1956 had become an historic date in the history
of Marine Corps training, whether it be at Parris Island or elsewhere. The
drownings at Ribbon Creek had brought the training system of the Corps to
public attention in an exceedingly unfavorable light. The Marine Corps,
normally a strictly voluntary organization, had always derived much of its
strength and prestige from the confidence reposed in it by the general
citizenry of the United States.

If this confidence, which had been seriously
shaken in many sectors of the populace, could not be restored, the general
cause of the Corps would suffer. In the 41 years of its existence as a major
center of Marine training, Parris Island had never faced a more serious
challenge; for now, in addition to its primary mission of training new
Marines, it was of utmost importance to assure the American people, by the
power of example, that the rigors of recruit discipline and work were
sufficiently tempered by humanity and common sense as to prevent the
recurrence of tragedies such as Ribbon Creek.


18



Basically, nothing was wrong with recruit training at Parris Island, but
some changes were instituted in training procedures, customs, and philosophy.
Most of the changes can be traced to the objective of saving for the drill
instructor his over-all authority while eliminating every reason that might
cause him to abuse it.<92> Drill instructors were more carefully selected, and a special school was
established to assure that only the best of them became recruit trainers.


Three instructors were assigned each recruit platoon instead of two, while
extra pay of $30 a month was provided each DI to help compensate him for the
extra hours his job required. All training was closely supervised by a team
of officers to seek ways of improving procedures so as to best provide the
type of Marine recruit graduate desired. Drill instructors were directed to
put a greater premium on example, persuasion, psychology, and leadership in
bringing a platoon of recruits into shape.<93>

A special training unit was set up at Parris Island to take care of
recruits with specific problems. A conditioning platoon, designed to take
care of those overweight, provided special diet and proper exercise to help
its members lose up to 30 pounds within three weeks. A motivation platoon for
the recalcitrants and a proficiency platoon for the slow learners were
established.

A strength platoon provided for those requiring special
exercises to build up flabby muscles, and a hospital platoon took care of
those requiring medical attention. More than three-fourths of the recruits
sent to such special platoons return to their regular platoons to successfully
complete the training program.

The Marine Corps does not give up on a recruit
until he has had thorough physical and psychiatric examinations and has had
repeated interviews and careful study by a board of officers. Most of them
get through boot camp, with the rejection rate about 4-1/2 percent at Parris
Island in 1959.<94> There is general agreement that the basic training at Parris Island is
professionally excellent and that the physical training is the best in the
history of the Recruit Depot.

It may not be like the 'old Corps,' but Parris
Island is turning out Marines mentally and physically ready to maintain, and
even enhance, the reputation of the Marine Corps. In the words of Commandant
David M. Shoup, "The Marines we are turning out at Parris Island today can cut
the mustard with any Marine who ever lived and fought.<95>


ADDENDUM:
From Gunny G's Maverick Marines....



R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952-72
<>
Gunny G's Marines Sites & Forums!
http://www.furl.net/item.jsp?id=6834406
http://www.furl.net/item.jsp?id=6834406


~~~~~~~~~~
R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GnySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952 (Plt #437)--'72
GyG's Globe and Anchor! --Sites & Forums
http://www.angelfire.com/ca/dickg/sites.html
GyG's Old Salt Marines Tavern ~Interactive~
http://network54.com/Forum/135069
Gunny G's Globe and Anchor Weblog
http://gunnyg.blogspot.com
~SITES/FORUMS FOR THE THINKING MARINE!~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

April 7th, 2006, 1:08 am #86

The following is from

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/usmchist/parris.txt

"Despite the great care thus used in the selection of men assigned to
train recruits, a tragedy resulting from the grievous errors of judgment of a
junior drill instructor occurred on Parris Island in April 1956. Various
regulations and standing orders of the post were violated at the same time.

The offending DI was Staff Sergeant Matthew C. McKeon, assigned to Platoon 71,
"A" Company, 3d Recruit Training Battalion.<81> On Sunday night, 8 April,
between 2000 and 2045, he marched 74 men of Platoon 71 from their barracks to
Ribbon Creek, one of the tidal streams on Parris Island, and led the men into
the water. Some of them got into depths over their heads, panic ensued, and
six recruits drowned in the resulting confusion.

The ostensible purpose of
the march was to teach the recruits discipline.<82> A court of inquiry was convened the next day by Major General Joseph C.
Burger, Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, to
investigate the circumstances. Evidence presented to the court showed that
Sergeant McKeon had graduated from the Drill Instructors' School in February
1956, ranking 14th in a class of 55 graduates; a total of 90 students had
begun the course in his class.

He had been screened by the Psychiatric
Observation Unit on 3 January 1956 and given the highest possible rating on
"motivation," "emotional stability," and "hostility factors," and a
better-than-average rating on "achievement." The conclusion of the
psychiatric unit was that McKeon was a mature, stable appearing career
Marine."<83> 16



The court was of the opinion, after considering all the evidence brought
before it, that the directives governing the recruit-training program were
correct and adequate.<84> These directives, which went into some detail in
prohibiting oppression of recruits and in forbidding training operations in
the nature of punishment, were repeatedly impressed upon students in the Drill
Instructor's School and upon senior and junior drill instructors.<85> In the
opinion of the court, supervision of the training program was adequate.<86>

The court's findings of fact and its opinions based on these findings placed
the blame for the accident squarely on Sergeant McKeon, who, "in conducting an
unauthorized and unnecessary march by night into an area of hazard...which
resulted in the deaths of six brother Marines, not only broke established
regulations but violated the fine traditions of the noncommissioned officers
of the United States Marine Corps and betrayed the trust reposed in him by his
Country, his Corps, his lost comrades and the families of the dead."<87> It
recommended, among other that the sergeant be tried by general
court-martial.<88> After making certain clarifying and supplementary remarks, General Burger
approved the proceedings, findings, opinions, and recommendations.<89>

When the record of proceedings of the court of inquiry was reviewed by
the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Randolph McC. Pate, he was of the
opinion that the court's action in the case had not gone as far as it should
have. The degree of guilt attributable to Sergeant McKeon, he believed, was
only part of the question.

The Marine Corps itself was on trial in a moral
sense for the death of the six recruits, in his opinion, and he believed that
a reorganization of training procedures at Parris Island, "insofar as the
supervision thereof is concerned," was necessary.<90> Thus, a separate recruit training command was established at Parris
Island, to be commanded by a brigadier general selected by the Commandant and
reporting directly to him.

In this way, the Commandant could "personally
control and monitor the steps which must be taken to insure more effective
supervision of our recruit training system." A similar recruit training
command was to be established at San Diego. Each of these recruit training
commands was to be staffed with specially selected officers "to supervise and
monitor but not to supplant the drill instructors" in the training of
recruits.

At Headquarters Marine Corps, in Washington, the Commandant
appointed an Inspector General of Recruit Training to assist him in the close
supervision of this new administrative machinery. These extraordinary
measures would remain in effect, he said, until he was convinced that no
reasonable objection could be made to the Marine Corps training program.<91> 17





Thus Sergeant McKeon's ill-fated march set off immediate repercussions
which shook Marine Corps training from top to bottom. Moreover, an
uninterrupted flood of publicity by the press, radio, and television literally
divided the entire country into two opposing camps, those who condemmed McKeon
for what had happened and those who sympathized with him.

It was in this glare of public gaze that McKeon's court-martial began at
Parris Island on 16 July 1956. A noted New York trial counsel, Emile Zola
Berman, undertook the sergeant's defense before the military court. For three
weeks, the battle ebbed and flowed, concerned as much with the propriety of
the rationale and practices of Marine Corps training as with McKeon's
responsibility for the Ribbon Creek affair. Witnesses came forward to defend
Marine training, others came forth to condemn it.

The defense presentation
culminated in the appearance on the stand of retired Lieutenant General Lewis
B. Puller and the Commandant of the Marine Corps himself.

Finally, on 4 August 1956, the court handed down its decision: McKeon
was acquitted of charges of manslaughter and oppression of troops; he was
found guilty of negligent homicide and drinking on duty. The sentence was a
fine of $270, nine months confinement at hard labor as a private and a
bad-conduct discharge from the Marine Corps. Upon review by the Secretary of
the Navy, the sentence was reduced to three months hard labor and reduction to
the rank of private; the discharge was set aside and the fine remitted.

Having already served part of his term prior to sentencing, McKeon was
released from custody on 19 October 1956 and restored to duty commensurate
with his reduced rank. By then, most of the public tumult had died, but there
was little doubt that 8 April 1956 had become an historic date in the history
of Marine Corps training, whether it be at Parris Island or elsewhere. The
drownings at Ribbon Creek had brought the training system of the Corps to
public attention in an exceedingly unfavorable light. The Marine Corps,
normally a strictly voluntary organization, had always derived much of its
strength and prestige from the confidence reposed in it by the general
citizenry of the United States.

If this confidence, which had been seriously
shaken in many sectors of the populace, could not be restored, the general
cause of the Corps would suffer. In the 41 years of its existence as a major
center of Marine training, Parris Island had never faced a more serious
challenge; for now, in addition to its primary mission of training new
Marines, it was of utmost importance to assure the American people, by the
power of example, that the rigors of recruit discipline and work were
sufficiently tempered by humanity and common sense as to prevent the
recurrence of tragedies such as Ribbon Creek.


18



Basically, nothing was wrong with recruit training at Parris Island, but
some changes were instituted in training procedures, customs, and philosophy.
Most of the changes can be traced to the objective of saving for the drill
instructor his over-all authority while eliminating every reason that might
cause him to abuse it.<92> Drill instructors were more carefully selected, and a special school was
established to assure that only the best of them became recruit trainers.


Three instructors were assigned each recruit platoon instead of two, while
extra pay of $30 a month was provided each DI to help compensate him for the
extra hours his job required. All training was closely supervised by a team
of officers to seek ways of improving procedures so as to best provide the
type of Marine recruit graduate desired. Drill instructors were directed to
put a greater premium on example, persuasion, psychology, and leadership in
bringing a platoon of recruits into shape.<93>

A special training unit was set up at Parris Island to take care of
recruits with specific problems. A conditioning platoon, designed to take
care of those overweight, provided special diet and proper exercise to help
its members lose up to 30 pounds within three weeks. A motivation platoon for
the recalcitrants and a proficiency platoon for the slow learners were
established.

A strength platoon provided for those requiring special
exercises to build up flabby muscles, and a hospital platoon took care of
those requiring medical attention. More than three-fourths of the recruits
sent to such special platoons return to their regular platoons to successfully
complete the training program.

The Marine Corps does not give up on a recruit
until he has had thorough physical and psychiatric examinations and has had
repeated interviews and careful study by a board of officers. Most of them
get through boot camp, with the rejection rate about 4-1/2 percent at Parris
Island in 1959.<94> There is general agreement that the basic training at Parris Island is
professionally excellent and that the physical training is the best in the
history of the Recruit Depot.

It may not be like the 'old Corps,' but Parris
Island is turning out Marines mentally and physically ready to maintain, and
even enhance, the reputation of the Marine Corps. In the words of Commandant
David M. Shoup, "The Marines we are turning out at Parris Island today can cut
the mustard with any Marine who ever lived and fought.<95>


ADDENDUM:
From Gunny G's Maverick Marines....



R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952-72
<>
Gunny G's Marines Sites & Forums!
<a href="http://www.furl.net/item.jsp?id=7916163</a" target="_new">http://www.furl.net/item.jsp?id=7916163</a>
<a href="http://www.furl.net/item.jsp?id=7916163</a" target="_new">http://www.furl.net/item.jsp?id=7916163</a>


Platoon 71 survivors return to Ribbon Creek to find peace
Published Saturday April 8 2006
By LORI YOUNT
The Beaufort Gazette
Though John Martinez was able to escape the powerful currents and paralyzing mud of Ribbon Creek on April 8, 1956, when six of his fellow recruits drowned, he was unable to escape the feeling that the survivors from Platoon 71 had a "bad rap" in the Marine Corps.

"Nobody ever said how many guys would've died if it weren't for the guys swimming" back into the creek to save others, Martinez reiterated throughout his return Friday to Parris Island. "We did a pretty good job. When it hit the fan, we did our job."

But a trip back to the base and the creek with six other survivors provided Martinez some relief.

"This I didn't expect," he said of a warm reception by Parris Island officials. "I'm very glad I came to this. At least we feel the upper echelon understands."

Fifty years ago today, Staff Sgt. Matthew McKeon, Platoon 71's inexperienced drill instructor, marched his platoon, including men he knew couldn't swim, into the swampy waters of Ribbon Creek at night to instill discipline. Unbeknownst to McKeon, the water was deeper and the tides stronger than usual, causing chaos that resulted in the loss of six lives.

McKeon was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and drinking in an enlisted barracks because he admitted to drinking vodka the afternoon before the march. He received a short prison sentence and stayed in the Corps with the reduced rank of private.

More than wanting to put themselves at peace, the returning members of Platoon 71 wanted to honor the six who died.

"The reason we didn't do it before was because McKeon was still alive," said Gene Ervin, who said he wrote his former drill instructor a letter shortly before his death a few years ago and didn't want to open old wounds for him. "It's time to say hello and goodbye and finalize it -- to remember six young guys didn't make it to 20 years old."

Friday morning, the men marveled at the pomp and circumstance surrounding a modern Marine Corps graduation -- an elaborate colors ceremony followed by a crowd of family and friends cheering graduating recruits as they march on the parade deck. The open graduations were an indirect result of the drownings and the scrutiny they brought.

"I just hope what has transpired has made their life a little more bearable," Gerald Langone, the platoon's section leader, said of watching the recruits march across the parade deck.

The Platoon 71 recruits couldn't agree on whether they had any formal graduation ceremony.

"They just shipped us out," said Ervin, adding though the platoon continued a training schedule after the drownings, they were sequestered and isolated from the rest of the recruits.

Bob Dombo remembers a dramatic farewell from Parris Island's new commanding officer, Gen. Wallace Greene. Speaking privately to the platoon, the general took off his stars to demonstrate he was talking to the new Marines as equals, warning them of possible questions they may face from friends and media, he said.

"He told us to tell the truth and don't make up any stories because" we were coming back for assignments, said Dombo, a retired New York firefighter who drove up from Orlando, Fla., with best friend and fellow Platoon 71 member Tom Vaughn.

Dramatic and systematic changes to improve training also impressed the men who had endured Parris Island in an era where drill instructors weren't questioned and thumping, or hazing, ran rampant.

"If they had this when we were in, this never would've happened," Martinez said in the middle of an explanation of the week of combat water survival training at the pool. In 1956, recruits weren't required to pass any water survival qualifications before moving on in training.

Ervin said he remembers April 8, 1956, well. During the day, the platoon was doing laundry and was goofing off outside the building, Ervin said, and the next thing he knew they were scrubbing down decks and later went for a "walk."

"I was frightened because I couldn't see," said Ervin, who knew how to swim. "I was concerned about what was going on in the back of platoon."

If they knew the cries for "help" were panic and not horseplay, more may have been saved, he said.

"Everyone here helped pull someone out," Ervin said.

Vaughn said he quickly found his shorter best friend, Dombo, who was farther back in the formation and more susceptible to the high waters and pulled him out. Tony Moran said he and Martinez, both strong swimmers, kept diving back in until there was no one visible to save.

"What broke my heart was leaving those guys behind," Martinez said.

Making peace

On Friday afternoon, they made their way back to behind the rifle range on Parris Island and to Ribbon Creek for the first time in 50 years, where they last left six fellow recruits: Thomas Hardeman, Donald Francis O'Shea, Charles Francis Reilly, Jerry Lamonte Thomas, Leroy Thompson and Norman Alfred Wood.

In the daylight and at a lower tide, the creek didn't seem nearly as large or formidable. Without hesitation, the men climbed down the bank and jumped into the mud and marsh grass that had haunted their memories for half a century.

Moran brought two packages of tobacco to scatter in the water, which he said is a American Indian tradition. Each grabbed a pinch, and some ventured close to the water.

"You will live forever," Moran said as he released his tobacco leaves.

Walking around base, nobody could distinguish the seven men from the swarm of parents and former Marines touring during the weekly graduation. However, Chief of Staff Col. John Valentin did visit them at the creek, thanking them for continuing to support the Corps "irrespective of things we didn't do right."

"We're not proud of it," he said. "But we better talk about every stinkin' mistake. We are proud of you. We got it wrong and have to talk about it because it lacked professionalism."

Langone said he thinks forgiveness for the incident lies with the families of the drowned recruits, especially after feeling the pain of losing his own child.

"But nobody here says, 'I'm not a Marine anymore,'" he said. No one could think of any platoon members who went on to have a military career, though.

Platoon 71 seemed particularly touched by their tour guide for the day, Staff Sgt. Lance Oufnac, a senior drill instructor who told them the history of the horrific night is studied in the 13-week drill instructor school.

"For me, you're legends -- the history of Parris Island and the Marine Corps," he said. "It's because of you that I'm standing right here."

As a final stop, the men visited the depot chapel for a moment of reflection, and for a few minutes, everything was still except the fans whirring above them.

"We've come full circle," Ervin said as he boarded the bus to leave, shoes and trousers crusted with plough mud from Ribbon Creek. "The boys are going to rest in peace now."
Copyright 2006 The Beaufort Gazette � May not be republished in any form without the express written permission of the publisher.



~~~~~~~~~~
R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GnySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952 (Plt #437)--'72
GyG's Globe and Anchor! --Sites & Forums
<a href="http://www.angelfire.com/ca/dickg/sites.html</a" target="_new">http://www.angelfire.com/ca/dickg/sites.html</a>
GyG's Old Salt Marines Tavern ~Interactive~
<a href="http://network54.com/Forum/135069</a" target="_new">http://network54.com/Forum/135069</a>
Gunny G's Globe and Anchor Weblog
<a href="http://gunnyg.blogspot.com</a" target="_new">http://gunnyg.blogspot.com</a>
~SITES/FORUMS FOR THE THINKING MARINE!~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Last edited by Dick Gaines on April 11th, 2006, 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

April 7th, 2006, 4:37 pm #87

omments?/Plt #71....


~~~~~~~~~~
R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GnySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952 (Plt #437)--'72
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Last edited by Dick Gaines on April 8th, 2006, 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

April 8th, 2006, 7:25 pm #88

<a href="http://www.furl.net/item.jsp?id=7916163</a" target="_new">http://www.furl.net/item.jsp?id=7916163</a>
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Platoon 71 survivors return to Ribbon Creek to find peace
Published Saturday April 8 2006
By LORI YOUNT
The Beaufort Gazette
Though John Martinez was able to escape the powerful currents and paralyzing mud of Ribbon Creek on April 8, 1956, when six of his fellow recruits drowned, he was unable to escape the feeling that the survivors from Platoon 71 had a "bad rap" in the Marine Corps.

"Nobody ever said how many guys would've died if it weren't for the guys swimming" back into the creek to save others, Martinez reiterated throughout his return Friday to Parris Island. "We did a pretty good job. When it hit the fan, we did our job."

But a trip back to the base and the creek with six other survivors provided Martinez some relief.

"This I didn't expect," he said of a warm reception by Parris Island officials. "I'm very glad I came to this. At least we feel the upper echelon understands."

Fifty years ago today, Staff Sgt. Matthew McKeon, Platoon 71's inexperienced drill instructor, marched his platoon, including men he knew couldn't swim, into the swampy waters of Ribbon Creek at night to instill discipline. Unbeknownst to McKeon, the water was deeper and the tides stronger than usual, causing chaos that resulted in the loss of six lives.

McKeon was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and drinking in an enlisted barracks because he admitted to drinking vodka the afternoon before the march. He received a short prison sentence and stayed in the Corps with the reduced rank of private.

More than wanting to put themselves at peace, the returning members of Platoon 71 wanted to honor the six who died.

"The reason we didn't do it before was because McKeon was still alive," said Gene Ervin, who said he wrote his former drill instructor a letter shortly before his death a few years ago and didn't want to open old wounds for him. "It's time to say hello and goodbye and finalize it -- to remember six young guys didn't make it to 20 years old."

Friday morning, the men marveled at the pomp and circumstance surrounding a modern Marine Corps graduation -- an elaborate colors ceremony followed by a crowd of family and friends cheering graduating recruits as they march on the parade deck. The open graduations were an indirect result of the drownings and the scrutiny they brought.

"I just hope what has transpired has made their life a little more bearable," Gerald Langone, the platoon's section leader, said of watching the recruits march across the parade deck.

The Platoon 71 recruits couldn't agree on whether they had any formal graduation ceremony.

"They just shipped us out," said Ervin, adding though the platoon continued a training schedule after the drownings, they were sequestered and isolated from the rest of the recruits.

Bob Dombo remembers a dramatic farewell from Parris Island's new commanding officer, Gen. Wallace Greene. Speaking privately to the platoon, the general took off his stars to demonstrate he was talking to the new Marines as equals, warning them of possible questions they may face from friends and media, he said.

"He told us to tell the truth and don't make up any stories because" we were coming back for assignments, said Dombo, a retired New York firefighter who drove up from Orlando, Fla., with best friend and fellow Platoon 71 member Tom Vaughn.

Dramatic and systematic changes to improve training also impressed the men who had endured Parris Island in an era where drill instructors weren't questioned and thumping, or hazing, ran rampant.

"If they had this when we were in, this never would've happened," Martinez said in the middle of an explanation of the week of combat water survival training at the pool. In 1956, recruits weren't required to pass any water survival qualifications before moving on in training.

Ervin said he remembers April 8, 1956, well. During the day, the platoon was doing laundry and was goofing off outside the building, Ervin said, and the next thing he knew they were scrubbing down decks and later went for a "walk."

"I was frightened because I couldn't see," said Ervin, who knew how to swim. "I was concerned about what was going on in the back of platoon."

If they knew the cries for "help" were panic and not horseplay, more may have been saved, he said.

"Everyone here helped pull someone out," Ervin said.

Vaughn said he quickly found his shorter best friend, Dombo, who was farther back in the formation and more susceptible to the high waters and pulled him out. Tony Moran said he and Martinez, both strong swimmers, kept diving back in until there was no one visible to save.

"What broke my heart was leaving those guys behind," Martinez said.

Making peace

On Friday afternoon, they made their way back to behind the rifle range on Parris Island and to Ribbon Creek for the first time in 50 years, where they last left six fellow recruits: Thomas Hardeman, Donald Francis O'Shea, Charles Francis Reilly, Jerry Lamonte Thomas, Leroy Thompson and Norman Alfred Wood.

In the daylight and at a lower tide, the creek didn't seem nearly as large or formidable. Without hesitation, the men climbed down the bank and jumped into the mud and marsh grass that had haunted their memories for half a century.

Moran brought two packages of tobacco to scatter in the water, which he said is a American Indian tradition. Each grabbed a pinch, and some ventured close to the water.

"You will live forever," Moran said as he released his tobacco leaves.

Walking around base, nobody could distinguish the seven men from the swarm of parents and former Marines touring during the weekly graduation. However, Chief of Staff Col. John Valentin did visit them at the creek, thanking them for continuing to support the Corps "irrespective of things we didn't do right."

"We're not proud of it," he said. "But we better talk about every stinkin' mistake. We are proud of you. We got it wrong and have to talk about it because it lacked professionalism."

Langone said he thinks forgiveness for the incident lies with the families of the drowned recruits, especially after feeling the pain of losing his own child.

"But nobody here says, 'I'm not a Marine anymore,'" he said. No one could think of any platoon members who went on to have a military career, though.

Platoon 71 seemed particularly touched by their tour guide for the day, Staff Sgt. Lance Oufnac, a senior drill instructor who told them the history of the horrific night is studied in the 13-week drill instructor school.

"For me, you're legends -- the history of Parris Island and the Marine Corps," he said. "It's because of you that I'm standing right here."

As a final stop, the men visited the depot chapel for a moment of reflection, and for a few minutes, everything was still except the fans whirring above them.

"We've come full circle," Ervin said as he boarded the bus to leave, shoes and trousers crusted with plough mud from Ribbon Creek. "The boys are going to rest in peace now."
Copyright 2006 The Beaufort Gazette � May not be republished in any form without the express written permission of the publisher.



~~~~~~~~~~
R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GnySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952 (Plt #437)--'72
GyG's Globe and Anchor! --Sites & Forums
<a href="http://www.angelfire.com/ca/dickg/sites.html</a" target="_new">http://www.angelfire.com/ca/dickg/sites.html</a>
GyG's Old Salt Marines Tavern ~Interactive~
<a href="http://network54.com/Forum/135069</a" target="_new">http://network54.com/Forum/135069</a>
Gunny G's Globe and Anchor Weblog
<a href="http://gunnyg.blogspot.com</a" target="_new">http://gunnyg.blogspot.com</a>
~SITES/FORUMS FOR THE THINKING MARINE!~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
http://www.furl.net/item.jsp?id=7938612
http://www.furl.net/item.jsp?id=7938612


~~~~~~~~~~
R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GnySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952 (Plt #437)--'72
GyG's Globe and Anchor! --Sites & Forums
http://www.angelfire.com/ca/dickg/sites.html
GyG's Old Salt Marines Tavern ~Interactive~
http://network54.com/Forum/135069
Gunny G's Globe and Anchor Weblog
http://gunnyg.blogspot.com
~SITES/FORUMS FOR THE THINKING MARINE!~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

April 11th, 2006, 6:36 pm #89

<a href="http://www.furl.net/item.jsp?id=7916163</a" target="_new">http://www.furl.net/item.jsp?id=7916163</a>
<a href="http://www.furl.net/item.jsp?id=7916163</a" target="_new">http://www.furl.net/item.jsp?id=7916163</a>


Platoon 71 survivors return to Ribbon Creek to find peace
Published Saturday April 8 2006
By LORI YOUNT
The Beaufort Gazette
Though John Martinez was able to escape the powerful currents and paralyzing mud of Ribbon Creek on April 8, 1956, when six of his fellow recruits drowned, he was unable to escape the feeling that the survivors from Platoon 71 had a "bad rap" in the Marine Corps.

"Nobody ever said how many guys would've died if it weren't for the guys swimming" back into the creek to save others, Martinez reiterated throughout his return Friday to Parris Island. "We did a pretty good job. When it hit the fan, we did our job."

But a trip back to the base and the creek with six other survivors provided Martinez some relief.

"This I didn't expect," he said of a warm reception by Parris Island officials. "I'm very glad I came to this. At least we feel the upper echelon understands."

Fifty years ago today, Staff Sgt. Matthew McKeon, Platoon 71's inexperienced drill instructor, marched his platoon, including men he knew couldn't swim, into the swampy waters of Ribbon Creek at night to instill discipline. Unbeknownst to McKeon, the water was deeper and the tides stronger than usual, causing chaos that resulted in the loss of six lives.

McKeon was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and drinking in an enlisted barracks because he admitted to drinking vodka the afternoon before the march. He received a short prison sentence and stayed in the Corps with the reduced rank of private.

More than wanting to put themselves at peace, the returning members of Platoon 71 wanted to honor the six who died.

"The reason we didn't do it before was because McKeon was still alive," said Gene Ervin, who said he wrote his former drill instructor a letter shortly before his death a few years ago and didn't want to open old wounds for him. "It's time to say hello and goodbye and finalize it -- to remember six young guys didn't make it to 20 years old."

Friday morning, the men marveled at the pomp and circumstance surrounding a modern Marine Corps graduation -- an elaborate colors ceremony followed by a crowd of family and friends cheering graduating recruits as they march on the parade deck. The open graduations were an indirect result of the drownings and the scrutiny they brought.

"I just hope what has transpired has made their life a little more bearable," Gerald Langone, the platoon's section leader, said of watching the recruits march across the parade deck.

The Platoon 71 recruits couldn't agree on whether they had any formal graduation ceremony.

"They just shipped us out," said Ervin, adding though the platoon continued a training schedule after the drownings, they were sequestered and isolated from the rest of the recruits.

Bob Dombo remembers a dramatic farewell from Parris Island's new commanding officer, Gen. Wallace Greene. Speaking privately to the platoon, the general took off his stars to demonstrate he was talking to the new Marines as equals, warning them of possible questions they may face from friends and media, he said.

"He told us to tell the truth and don't make up any stories because" we were coming back for assignments, said Dombo, a retired New York firefighter who drove up from Orlando, Fla., with best friend and fellow Platoon 71 member Tom Vaughn.

Dramatic and systematic changes to improve training also impressed the men who had endured Parris Island in an era where drill instructors weren't questioned and thumping, or hazing, ran rampant.

"If they had this when we were in, this never would've happened," Martinez said in the middle of an explanation of the week of combat water survival training at the pool. In 1956, recruits weren't required to pass any water survival qualifications before moving on in training.

Ervin said he remembers April 8, 1956, well. During the day, the platoon was doing laundry and was goofing off outside the building, Ervin said, and the next thing he knew they were scrubbing down decks and later went for a "walk."

"I was frightened because I couldn't see," said Ervin, who knew how to swim. "I was concerned about what was going on in the back of platoon."

If they knew the cries for "help" were panic and not horseplay, more may have been saved, he said.

"Everyone here helped pull someone out," Ervin said.

Vaughn said he quickly found his shorter best friend, Dombo, who was farther back in the formation and more susceptible to the high waters and pulled him out. Tony Moran said he and Martinez, both strong swimmers, kept diving back in until there was no one visible to save.

"What broke my heart was leaving those guys behind," Martinez said.

Making peace

On Friday afternoon, they made their way back to behind the rifle range on Parris Island and to Ribbon Creek for the first time in 50 years, where they last left six fellow recruits: Thomas Hardeman, Donald Francis O'Shea, Charles Francis Reilly, Jerry Lamonte Thomas, Leroy Thompson and Norman Alfred Wood.

In the daylight and at a lower tide, the creek didn't seem nearly as large or formidable. Without hesitation, the men climbed down the bank and jumped into the mud and marsh grass that had haunted their memories for half a century.

Moran brought two packages of tobacco to scatter in the water, which he said is a American Indian tradition. Each grabbed a pinch, and some ventured close to the water.

"You will live forever," Moran said as he released his tobacco leaves.

Walking around base, nobody could distinguish the seven men from the swarm of parents and former Marines touring during the weekly graduation. However, Chief of Staff Col. John Valentin did visit them at the creek, thanking them for continuing to support the Corps "irrespective of things we didn't do right."

"We're not proud of it," he said. "But we better talk about every stinkin' mistake. We are proud of you. We got it wrong and have to talk about it because it lacked professionalism."

Langone said he thinks forgiveness for the incident lies with the families of the drowned recruits, especially after feeling the pain of losing his own child.

"But nobody here says, 'I'm not a Marine anymore,'" he said. No one could think of any platoon members who went on to have a military career, though.

Platoon 71 seemed particularly touched by their tour guide for the day, Staff Sgt. Lance Oufnac, a senior drill instructor who told them the history of the horrific night is studied in the 13-week drill instructor school.

"For me, you're legends -- the history of Parris Island and the Marine Corps," he said. "It's because of you that I'm standing right here."

As a final stop, the men visited the depot chapel for a moment of reflection, and for a few minutes, everything was still except the fans whirring above them.

"We've come full circle," Ervin said as he boarded the bus to leave, shoes and trousers crusted with plough mud from Ribbon Creek. "The boys are going to rest in peace now."
Copyright 2006 The Beaufort Gazette � May not be republished in any form without the express written permission of the publisher.



~~~~~~~~~~
R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GnySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952 (Plt #437)--'72
GyG's Globe and Anchor! --Sites & Forums
<a href="http://www.angelfire.com/ca/dickg/sites.html</a" target="_new">http://www.angelfire.com/ca/dickg/sites.html</a>
GyG's Old Salt Marines Tavern ~Interactive~
<a href="http://network54.com/Forum/135069</a" target="_new">http://network54.com/Forum/135069</a>
Gunny G's Globe and Anchor Weblog
<a href="http://gunnyg.blogspot.com</a" target="_new">http://gunnyg.blogspot.com</a>
~SITES/FORUMS FOR THE THINKING MARINE!~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Escaping Parris Island a risky feat
Eighty years ago, man lost his head
Published Sunday March 12 2006
By LORI YOUNT
The Beaufort Gazette
Originally home to a Naval prison and later grounds to one of the world's most rigorous basic military training, many unwilling residents of Parris Island have concocted escape plans during its history.

But most aren't heard of because the Marines try to keep it quiet if possible, said Eugene Alvarez, a published historian on Parris Island who was a recruit there in 1950 and served two tours of duty there as a drill instructor.

He said he's heard stories of recruits hiding in cars, in trucks and being found more than 100 miles away. As a drill instructor, Alvarez said he tried to scare any thoughts of escape out of recruits' heads.

"We would tell stories like there were sharks in the water," he said.

But sharks may be the least of the worries of recruits looking to brave the marshes off the island.

Alvarez said the most infamous escape attempt -- and murder -- came less than 10 years into Parris Island's training mission under the Marine Corps. On June 26, 1924, three recently graduated recruits deserted by wading across a shallow creek onto Horse Island, and the next day, two of them surfaced alive on the shores of Port Royal Island.

The third showed up a couple of days later in a marsh by Horse Island -- without a head.

After a systematic search, the head of Pvt. Aaron Fredericksen was found hidden in bushes. It had been "severed from the body by a knife or razor," the like of which was found on one of the surviving Marines, according to articles in The Beaufort Gazette at the time.

Originally, Fredericksen's death was ruled a drowning, and according to The Gazette, it was originally thought "a shark might have mangled the body, as an arm was mangled in addition to the loss of the head."

About the same time the body was found, the Beaufort County sheriff found the other two deserters, in civilian clothes, some bought at Lipsitz's department store in Burton, and Army boots, and arrested them because Parris Island officials led the sheriff to believe the two men were thieves.

Once returned to the recruit depot, Marine Corps officials refused to give them up, even after indicted by a civilian coroner's court with Fredericksen's murder with the theory that Fredericksen had second thoughts about deserting, "and in order to forever stop his mouth the other two killed and mangled him."

According to The Gazette, Parris Island officials kept the news of the death secret for days -- the first mention of the murder came almost two weeks after the three deserted. The two Marines were never punished for deserting, and though their ultimate punishment is unclear, the writer of a Gazette article thought "no culprits ever deserved death more or ever committed a more atrocious crime."

Today, recruit depot officials try to nip the idea of escape in the bud.

Fresh off the bus and standing on the yellow footprints, the first mention of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which the greeting drill instructor tells them in a booming voice that they are now under, is Article 86, or the charge of absence without leave. The three-page article is quite detailed, but maximum punishment ranges from three days to 18 months and dishonorable discharge.

Unauthorized absences are far from unusual at Parris Island, but most recruits return or are relocated before reports of them missing make the military police blotter in the morning, depot spokesman Maj. Guillermo Canedo said.

And in the event the prospect of a court-martial didn't have enough teeth, an "environmental video" routinely shown to recruits during their first night on the island warns of the "dangers of plough mud" and the perilous species that inhabit the area, such as oyster beds, poisonous spiders, vipers, water moccasins and sharks, zooming in on a menacing photo of a great white shark.

The 15-minute film also emphasizes that the only "safe" way off the island is through the Parris Island Causeway, which is always guarded by two sentries -- and sometimes one by the traffic circle just inside.

Apparently four recruits in August 2004 weren't deterred by the video or the threat of punishment under military law. During their 17 hours missing from the depot, they managed to swim across Battery Creek and were found by an off-duty drill instructor near The Sands in Port Royal. He picked them up in his boat after he saw one flagging for help.

"The recruits said they had left their barracks around midnight and had been crawling around in the marsh, stopping twice when they thought they saw sharks," according to a Gazette article.

Two had passed combat water survival training and taught the other two how to blow up their blouses as flotation devices. Alas, more cooperation in their attempt didn't mean any more success in escaping than their predecessors 80 years ago.

However, after being treated at Naval Hospital Beaufort, all four recruits returned to training and ended up graduating without the Uniform Military Code of Justice bearing down upon them, Canedo said.

After all, as the recruit video states, "The safest journey off Parris Island is to graduate."
Copyright 2006 The Beaufort Gazette • May not be republished in any form without the express written permission of the publisher.



~~~~~~~~~~
R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GnySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952 (Plt #437)--'72
GyG's Globe and Anchor! --Sites & Forums
http://www.angelfire.com/ca/dickg/sites.html
GyG's Old Salt Marines Tavern ~Interactive~
http://network54.com/Forum/135069
Gunny G's Globe and Anchor Weblog
http://gunnyg.blogspot.com
~SITES/FORUMS FOR THE THINKING MARINE!~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Quote
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

April 17th, 2006, 11:23 pm #90

omments?/Plt #71....


~~~~~~~~~~
R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GnySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952 (Plt #437)--'72
GyG's Globe and Anchor! --Sites & Forums
<a href="http://www.angelfire.com/ca/dickg/sites.html</a" target="_new">http://www.angelfire.com/ca/dickg/sites.html</a>
GyG's Old Salt Marines Tavern ~Interactive~
<a href="http://network54.com/Forum/135069</a" target="_new">http://network54.com/Forum/135069</a>
Gunny G's Globe and Anchor Weblog
<a href="http://gunnyg.blogspot.com</a" target="_new">http://gunnyg.blogspot.com</a>
~SITES/FORUMS FOR THE THINKING MARINE!~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
E-Mail....

From: "gene ervin" <hushan7@hotmail.com> Add to Address BookAdd to Address Book Add Mobile Alert
To: gyg1345@yahoo.com
Subject: FW: DSC01398.JPG
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2006 16:08:48 -0700

Gunny...............here are a couple of the survivors of 71. I'm standing next to the General.

Gene




Softer...gentler...deeper...quieter...calmer...more spacious...free from the hectic day...traveling inward to be at pe ace with self and world......I practice.

Sifu Greg Brodsky

From: Pamela Stevens <chester4@comcast.net>
To: Ervin Ervin <hushan7@hotmail.com>
Subject: DSC01398.JPG
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2006 08:45:33 -0400
MIME-Version: 1.0 (Apple Message framework v623)
Received: from sccrmhc11.comcast.net ([204.127.200.81]) by bay0-mc9-f17.bay0.hotmail.com with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.1830); Mon, 17 Apr 2006 05:45:50 -0700
Received: from [24.34.126.89] (c-24-34-126-89.hsd1.ma.comcast.net[24.34.126.89]) by comcast.net (sccrmhc11) with SMTP id <2006041712453401100f8cl2e>; Mon, 17 Apr 2006 12:45:34 +0000
>Gene,
>You still look like a marine-very distinguished. You look like you
>are at parade rest. I was honored to finally meet you and you are
>much like I thought you would be. You are a fine handsome man with
>a touch of humor to your personality. I felt like I was an observer
>of history and being a historian I had very much the same feelings I
>had when I visited Ground Zero three weeks after the disaster with
>the head of the New York Fire Academy-Captain Edward Flynn. Your
>emotions reminded me much of what he was going through. His were
>very raw because he had trained so many of the firemen that lost
>their lives. I think time does not soften those emotions but just
>folds them away like laundry that has been hung in the fresh air.
>You can take that laundry out and still smell that freshness at a
>much later time. I visited my Dad's grave with my three brothers at
>Arlington National Cemetery 10 years ago on the 25 anniversary of
>his death. My Dad died when we were all too young to really
>understand our loss. It was as painful if not more so 25 years
>later when we realized we would never be able to have an adult
>relationship with our dad. He had not witnessed any of our
>accomplishments. He would not know our children. He barely knew
>us. He was away so much. He fought in three wars and that has
>made me a very proud and patriotic person. I can not view the
>color ceremony without tears in my eyes. Anyway I do not believe
>that time heals all wounds-it just scabs them over and they can open
>with a smell, a long forgotten tune or sight and even sound. Well
>so much for my philosophy of life. I just wanted to let you know as
>an observer it was such a moving event. I think it is going to take
>a while for you to recover. Platoon 71 is in my thoughts as you all
>resume your normal lives. You have touched Jay's and my lives
>forever. You know you always have a place to visit in Beaufort.
>Love to you and your family-Pamela
>
>

>
>DSC01398.JPG
>
>
>

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~~~~~~~~~~
R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GnySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952 (Plt #437)--'72
GyG's Globe and Anchor! --Sites & Forums
<a href="http://www.angelfire.com/ca/dickg/sites.html</a" target="_new">http://www.angelfire.com/ca/dickg/sites.html</a>
GyG's Old Salt Marines Tavern ~Interactive~
<a href="http://network54.com/Forum/135069</a" target="_new">http://network54.com/Forum/135069</a>
Gunny G's Globe and Anchor Weblog
<a href="http://gunnyg.blogspot.com</a" target="_new">http://gunnyg.blogspot.com</a>
~SITES/FORUMS FOR THE THINKING MARINE!~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Last edited by Dick Gaines on April 17th, 2006, 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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