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Nov-10-2009 01:16TweetFollow @OregonNews
Marines: We Celebrate November 10By Dennis Latham for Salem-News.com
A memory from the Vietnam War on the 234th anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps.
(GUILFORD, Indiana) - The picture accompanying this story was taken in Vietnam aboard the USS Iwo Jima in late 1967. I'm on the left, holding one of the few M-14 rifles that remained in the 1st Battalion 3rd Marine Regiment (1/3) before everyone went to the M-16 rifle.
I also had a West German AGFA camera that was almost impossible to find film for in Vietnam, so this was one of those rare shots that made it home.
The Marine in the center, Robert, was a black guy who sang like a white guy. I was a white guy who sang like a black guy. We made a strange pair when we sang together. No one knew what to make of us. Danny, on the right, was a full blooded Sioux.
They were both great guys and I would have died without hesitation for either of them. We were Marines and that's what we do. I loved them in a way I still don't much understand because it's never repeated in the outside world.
Back home, I would have never met these men or even knew they existed. If they are both alive, I wish them well because they are my brothers.
Every Marine is my brother. Once a Marine always a Marine is true because you do become a Marine for life. I was a 19 old kid with an attitude who became a man on the grinder and in the I-Corps jungles. I discovered I had what it takes to become a Marine. That is no small feat. No one will ever be able to take that away from me.
So, on November 10th each year, all Marines celebrate our birthday: a legacy forged in blood and honor. I'm humble and grateful that I was allowed to be part of the forever brotherhood.
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