Monday, June 13, 2011



I am writing my first novel, and this story will be
in it. It´s a true story. I was 18 at the time. I
hope that’s a mitigating factor to those who read
this and say ‘Men!’, or scum, or anything based
on my individual behaviour.

But, it is also my revealing a bit of who I was,
and what I could be like when I was not acting
as my highest self could be. And, in the Marines
that was often:-

I’m not proud of how I was, at times. During
that time my life revolved combat training and
then surviving combat in Vietnam, and when out
of the combat zone getting drunk and into fights
and brawls.

And, some of that was explosive combat rage and
trauma...and being screwed up from what I saw,
experienced and did.

It meant avoiding court martials; no charges
ever went forward. I learned from my Catholic
school days how to look honest, or innocent...
as best I could.

The week before I was discharged from the Marine
Corps (Sun. 3 May 1970; I was discharged on Monday,
11 May 1970)

I was arressted or detained by the Boston Shore Patrol
who cruised the bars and joints of the red light district
in Boston (better known as the ´Combat Zone´), and
checked the ID´s of military personell, or arrested them
if they were...unruly?

I was detained and written up for:

-disrespect to a superior officer

-foul, disrespectful and abusive language to a
superior officer

-disobeying a direct order (actually more than one;-)

-refusing to comply with request to produce my
military ID

-assault and battery on shore patrol personnel (I
made sure I didn’t strike the officer) causing
physical harm

-resisting arrest

I don’t remember the proper names of the charges.
It’s been awhile and I was drunk.

An Air Force officer with a big ´beefy´ Navy CPO
came up to me and asked for my ID. I had the
classic Marine Corps hair cut...high up, but I
told them I wasn´t in the military. You know I was
just a fella off work having a drink.

They repeated their request for my ID, and knew I
was a Marine. I told them I didn´t have one. The
third time I told them to go bother someone else.
The beefy CPO edged in to me and told me to comply
with the officer´s request, or they´d arrest me.

I was thinking; I´d like to see you try. At that
point, I just wanted a fight, and was sizing up
where to strike him.

The Air Force officer demanded I hand over my ID,and
then I said "I don´t talk to bus drivers." That
comment told them I was definitely a Marine; it´s
what Marines used to say about Air Force uniforms.

There were about seven charges in all, I was chained
to the wall at the Navy building because I was drunk
and threatening.

The CPO came over and made a few cracks at me, and I
turned polite to ask him something. When he came up
to me I kicked him in the balls. Hey, what´s one more

The worst of it was is that I was within 8 days of
leaving the Marine Corps, I was facing a good stretch
in ‘the cooler’, brig, or military jail. I didn´t know
how long, but a year is a good ballpark figure. Then,
i´d get a bad conduct discharge, which would bar me from
government jobs, and many other jobs as well. This after
going to Vietnam twice.

As the Irish say ´God is Good.´

Within hours the charges were tossed out by one of
the best Marine Corps Warrant Officers. Otherwise,
with less than a week left in the Marine Corps

He made the point to those bent on pressing charges
against me that I´d been to Vietnam twice, and had a
clean record. Plus, if the charges weren´t dropped
then the Marine Shore patrol could arrest navy air
force members...

The same Warrant Officer had similar charges (without
the fighting) dropped against a good Marine friend,
Ed Munro, the year before. On that occasion he asked
Ed 'We're you drinking?' Ed said 'No.'

And, your man said to him 'Well you smell like a
f**kin brewery
.' I had left ten minutes before
the Shore Patrol descended upon that scene.

That part of my life was also about meeting women as
an adult (barely-I was still a teenager who’d been in
combat), and having my first sexual experiences with
women. My first was a hooker on Okinawa, she was a
very, very, sweet woman and human being, and I hope
God blesses her well. She guessed i was 'a cherry.'
I didn't want to admit it, but she could tell. Once
I admitted it she smiled, and said it was okay.

I was also learning about relationships…trying to act
mature, when in reality I was a young man with a huge
drinking problem. I drank in large part to suppress
the trauma and emotional shock and pain of what I had
seen, done and experienced in Vietnam, especially
the A Shau valley.

I was growing into a man, and trying to establish
myself with others, and find out who I was it whilst
trying to make sense of the craziness I had just been
through...wiping up human remains was the worst thing
I ever did. And, there was a lot of pain and regret at
the death of those two marines.

And, I was having fun with friends and doing crazy
things. In many ways I was trying to find or be who
I should be; I’m sixty and still doing that:-

My Marine Corps training for combat was not just about
squad tactics, setting up or repelling ambushes, learning
how to use weapons, (M-60, M-14 and then M-16), or how to
use flamethrowers (a horrible weapon that makes someone
rich), how to set up claymore mines, toss hand grenades,
and more.

Think about it. All those horrible weapons that kill by
roasting a human body, or blowing humans to bits makes
someone very, very rich.

An essential part of my military training was racism;
although I didn´t realize it at the time. The aim was
to dehumanize the Vietnamese people. In all of my
training I don’t ever remember the Vietnamese being
called people. They were called ‘gooks’ ‘slants’ ‘slopes’,
or slope heads. ´Charlie´ was probably the kindest.

Also military training was and is sexist; incredibly so.
Sexist is too mild a word to describe the degradation of
women that became part of our training. The terms for
women used by our drill instructors were ‘c***, b****,
pig, hog, and more. Even in boot camp I wondered what
it was like when the drill instructor went home.

Some of the culture of sexism and violence against
women emerged from ‘The Tailhook scandal 1991’
( ) where 83 women and seven
men were groped and more.

How bad is it? ‘A 1995 study published in the Archives
of Family Medicine found that 90 percent of female
veterans from the 1991 U.S. attack on Iraq and earlier
wars had been sexually harassed.

A 2003 survey of women veterans from the period
encompassing Vietnam and the 1991 Iraq attack,
published in the American Journal of Industrial
Medicine, found that 30 percent of the women soldiers
said they were raped.

In 2004, a study of veterans from Vietnam and all
wars since, published in the journal of Military
Medicine, found that 71 percent of the women were
sexually assaulted or raped while serving.’
(Culture of Unpunished Sexual Assault in U.S.
Military by Dahr Jamail )

And the Pentagon reports that 80% of sexual assaults
go unreported!!

Those are my mea culpas before going on into the story.


The photo: that´s me, and my cousin Bernadette Davis
in July 1969. I was going back to Vietnam. I volunteered.
Bernadette was a sweet human being who was a beautiful
on the inside as the outside. The outside was a reflection
of her soul. She didn´t have a bad bone in her body. RIP.

My first medevac from Vietnam took me to the Chelsea Naval
Hospital, then the rehab barrarcks, and after, to the Marine
Corps Barracks at the Charlestown Naval Yard.

Our ‘liberty’ (free time) started each day at 16:30. Shortly
before that time and after Marines were showering and getting
dressed in their ‘civvies’ – civilian clothes and on our way
to get drunk, laid or raise hell in general.

One of the days I was on one side of the squad bay; our living
quarters; two rows of bunk beds on opposite sides of the room.
There were two Marines on the other side and at the opposite
end from me. They hung out together.

The First Marine came out of the shower and said said to the
second Marine ‘Hey how’d it go last night?’

The Second Marine said ‘Fuck man, I thought I was going to
have to do a wolf’s shear. My arm was under her pillow when
I started to wake up. ’ (Wolf´shear refers to a phenomenon
in which a wold gets it´s leg caught in a metal trap used
to catch a bear or other animal and will ‘shear’ or ‘chew’
its leg off to get out of the trap. The wolf realizes that
it’s vulnerable; it may not know that chewing its leg off
may cause death due to bleeding). It is acting on instinct
to avoid prey.

The First Marine said ‘was it that bad?’

Second Marine ‘How the fuck would I know I was so drunk.
You know you’re waking up and it’s like ‘oh shit’ which
one was she? Oh fuck what did I tell her, oh
did we get here, and how the hell am I gonna get outta here.’

First Marine ‘Hey, I told you we were going to meet up
with the others. We had a great time. So what happened?’

Second Marine ‘I woke up late today and was hurrying to
get back here before roll call. I told her I had to get
back quick or I’d miss roll call. I just made it. Then,
she said ‘Will I see you tonight?’ And, I was wondering
what the f**k did I say last night? I told her that I
didn’t know if I had duty tonight. She asked me about
tomorrow, and I said I know I got guard duty.’

First Marine ‘She get pissed?’

Second Marine ‘Hell ya. I thought she was gonna throw
something at me. She got up and said’ so was I just a
'one night stand?’ I said no. you’re nice…it’s just that,
you know we’re not going out. I don’t know what I’m doing.´

First Marine ‘Yoúd´ve been better off to say "ya", and not
show up. You should leave out the ´we´re not going out´´

I was almost dressed and she says you Marines are all alike;
just looking for a piece of ass for the night. Do you have
guard duty seven days a week?’

Second Marine ‘I didn’t think of that. It’s always when I’m
waking. I should’ve woken up earlier and got out.’

First Marine ‘You give em a big line of smoozing, and you
don´t think about what happens when you wake up.

That’s when I hesitantly said ‘Why don’t you do what I do?’

They looked at me and smirked, I was known for drinking,
getting into fights and brawls.

The Second Marine said ‘oh ya, what’s that?’ These two
Marines were a few years older than me and more suave;
I called them ‘The Everly Brothers.’

And I said ‘Look when you’re waking you’re muscles are
moving and even your body even before you’re awake, or
realize it.’ But, they know it.

The Marines said ‘No shit. So?’

I said ‘Just that if she starts to wake first you’ll
know, and she knows when you’re waking. The hardest
part, unless you want to see her again is to get out.
but, it’s a bit awkward when you just want to get out.’

The second Marine ‘Ya, so what do you do?’ They looked
at each other and smiled.

I said if I wake and think ´oh shit,´ and want to get
out I start kissing the back of her neck and shoulders
and telling her how nice it was, and how nice she is.

Then, I say ‘Let’s have breakfast in bed. How about if
I go get a half dozen donuts at Dunkin Donuts and some
coffee, and we have breakfast in bed?’

‘Ya, so what’ one of the Marines said, and I said 'I ask
if I should get some milk or anything else at the store,
and say I´ll pay for it. That way you can get dressed...
keep kissing and you can leave without ‘will I see you
again?’ and you´re gone.´

One of the Marines said ‘Man, that’s fucking cold.’ I
said ‘beats a wolf’s shear. And besides she may be happy
when I don’t come back. I only did it twice, but...’

The Second Marine pointed to his mate and said ‘Man, he’s
right, that’s really cold, but maybe I´ll try it sometime.’
I just nodded; they laughed, and I said that I didn't have
such a big head that I knew that the woman might be relieved
when I don't show up.' And, I stay away from that bar after

I was on my way to see a steady girlfriend. Well, she was 24,
and married, separated and with two children. I was 18. But,
I´m a ´family kind of guy´ :-

After that day, there were times when I came into the barracks
the Dunkin Donuts manand one or both of those Marines would say
out loud 'Hey, it´s the Dunkin Donut man.' And, things like
'Hey, you buy any donuts lately?'

´No need to when you´re with a married woman.´

And, soon some of the others had heard about it and called me
'Mr. Dunkin Donuts.'

It’s just being honest about myself. I wasn’t and am not perfect.
Oh, but I’m much more mature; I’m 60;-

Why I wouldn´t even ever think of doing I could
say (in Lisboa) ´how about I go to the Pasteleria...´ Naw

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