I enlisted in the Marines on the buddy plan with Jack Hinkle. We had basic training at MCRD San Diego with Second Battalion, Platoon 2078, in August 1966. Our drill instructors were G/Sgt. T.J. Thompson, S/Sgt A.J. Hogan, Sgt. H.B. Stafford and Sgt. A.B. Mendoza. We went to Advanced Infantry Training at Camp Pendleton. Then I attended and graduated radio-telegraph school at MCRD. My MOS was 2533. I was selected to attend the DLIWCB in Monterey, Calif., to study Vietnamese. I had a secondary MOS of 9940. I graduated and was then assigned to Third Marines in Vietnam. I served in I Corps at Camp Carroll, Quang Tri (during Tet) and at Cua Viet, primarily as a radioman.
While on a sweep in Leatherneck Square, a helicopter landed and I was ordered to report to it. A Navy chaplain told me my mother would be dead by the time I got home on emergency leave. I left my unit without being able to pack or say goodbyes to my fellow Marines. When I finally got to Fort Worth, Texas, my mother had survived and I was back Travis AFB waiting a flight to Vietnam when my father had a stroke. I didn't want to leave the Marines, but I was given a hardship discharge. My proudest accomplishment in my life was serving with the United States Marine Corps.