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Roseann Hurt
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68.3.92.225

Charles Riley's Daughter

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March 3 2005, 9:39 PM 

As the daughter of one of Ribbon Creeks casualties...I am searching for anyone who knew my father since I never had the opportunity to know him. I was born May 11, 1956 and only have had a newspaper article to go on as I was adopted at the age of 6. I have read the book by John Stevens and have copies of every bit of info I have been able to find. I have even spoken to John Martinez who claims to have pulled my father to chest high water that fateful night. Not knowing my father couldn't swim he felt he would be safe at that point...I would welcome any correspondence from any remaining platoon members as I am preparing a legacy to pass on to his 5 grandchildren. Thank you and God bless!!

 
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Willam Poole
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24.131.98.24

Charles Riley

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March 9 2005, 3:21 PM 

Hi Roseanne,
I seen your message on the gunny's web page. I thought i'd answer with what ever information i could. I do remember vaguly your dad. Its been such a very long time since the night we went into Ribbon Creek. The platoon was formed into squads according to height and we were about the same height so we were in the same squad. I did talk to Sgt. Mckeon a month before he passed away. I'll let you ask me any thing you want and I'll do my best to answer. Feel free to E-Mail Me.
Will Poole

 
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GyG
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USMC Boot Camp - 1956 Before and After...

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August 1 2005, 3:02 PM 



    
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A Deadly Walk In The Swamp, by Gene Ervin

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August 16 2005, 11:16 AM 

http://www.angelfire.com/ca4/gunnyg/swamp.html
http://www.angelfire.com/ca4/gunnyg/swamp.html



~~~~~~~~~~



R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GnySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952 (Plt #437)--'72

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GyG
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MARINE DI TOLD OTHERS HIS FEARS...NOW DEAD!

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February 3 2006, 12:06 PM 

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~
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Gunny G's Globe and Anchor Weblog
http://gunnyg.blogspot.com
~SITES/FORUMS FOR THE THINKING MARINE!~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 
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GyG
(Login Dick Gaines)
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Ribbon Creek Marines Return After 50 YEARS....

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April 6 2006, 9:08 PM 

http://www.furl.net/item.jsp?id=7916163>
http://www.furl.net/item.jsp?id=7916163>


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
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!~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    
This message has been edited by Dick Gaines from IP address 67.76.6.143 on Apr 11, 2006 2:32 PM


 
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GyG
(Login Dick Gaines)
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67.76.6.143

Platoon #71....Comments?....

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April 7 2006, 12:37 PM 



    
This message has been edited by Dick Gaines from IP address 67.76.6.143 on Apr 8, 2006 10:46 AM


 
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GyG
(Login Dick Gaines)
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From Gene Ervin to GyG...Plt #71 Marines....

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April 17 2006, 7:23 PM 

~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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
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
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~SITES/FORUMS FOR THE THINKING MARINE!~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    
This message has been edited by Dick Gaines from IP address 67.76.6.143 on Apr 17, 2006 7:26 PM


 
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GyG
(Login Dick Gaines)
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67.76.6.143

To GyG from Gene Ervin....

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April 18 2006, 7:35 PM 

Hey Folks
Looking out over the spot at low tide where my comrades drowned that night.
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: DSC01404.JPG
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2006 08:50:23 -0400
MIME-Version: 1.0 (Apple Message framework v623)
Received: from sccrmhc14.comcast.net ([63.240.77.84]) by bay0-mc5-f15.bay0.hotmail.com with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.1830); Mon, 17 Apr 2006 05:50:32 -0700
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>
>
>

>
>DSC01404.JPG
>
>
>


DSC01404.jpg
214K View Download

Reply Reply to all Forward Invite gene to Gmail



Richard Gaines
Ref Gene Ervin April 2006, Ribbon Creek, PISC.... -GyG/From gen Ervin... -- R...
8:31 pm (2 minutes ago)







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---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Richard Gaines" <gunnyg@gmail.com>
To: GunnyG@hotmail.com
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2006 20:31:42 -0300
Subject: Fwd: FW: DSC01404.JPG
Ref Gene Ervin April 2006, Ribbon Creek, PISC....
-GyG/From gen Ervin...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: gene ervin <hushan7@hotmail.com>
Date: Apr 18, 2006 7:14 PM
Subject: FW: DSC01404.JPG
To: kmaja@ucsc.edu, super_fly76@hotmail.com
Cc: bosatsue8080@sbcglobal.net, sylvia.blazo@unlv.edu


Hey Folks


Looking out over the spot at low tide where my comrades drowned that night.

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: DSC01404.JPG
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2006 08:50:23 -0400
MIME-Version: 1.0 (Apple Message framework v623)
Received: from sccrmhc14.comcast.net ([63.240.77.84]) by bay0-mc5-f15.bay0.hotmail.com with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.1830); Mon, 17 Apr 2006 05:50:32 -0700
Received: from [ 24.34.126.89] (c-24-34-126-89.hsd1.ma.comcast.net[24.34.126.89]) by comcast.net (sccrmhc14) with SMTP id <200604171250230140087qqke>; Mon, 17 Apr 2006 12:50:23 +0000
>
>
>

>
>DSC01404.JPG
>
>



~~~~~~~~~~



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!~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    
This message has been edited by Dick Gaines from IP address 67.76.6.143 on Apr 18, 2006 7:46 PM


 
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GyG
(Login Dick Gaines)
Owner
67.76.6.143

Beaufort Gazette: Plt #71 Survivors....

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April 8 2006, 3:25 PM 

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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GyG
(Login Dick Gaines)
Owner
67.76.6.143

Beaufort Gazette Article.............................

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April 11 2006, 2:36 PM 


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!~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 
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