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Features

  • During 1937, my senior year at the University of Washington, I met Florence Epler, a beautiful and talented young lady, whom I dated for two years, interrupted by my service as a Marine officer.

    We might have married were it not for the requirement in those days that regular Marine 2nd lieutenants could not marry during their first two years of service.

  • When Brendan Chase looks for some peace, quiet and musical inspiration he heads to a place most of us try to avoid – the cemetery.

    There, the 28-year-old Shelbyville native composes songs, plays his guitar and finds sanctuary to sooth his painful past.

    Chase is particularity fond of Long Run Cemetery in Jefferson County where he often places a penny on the grave of Abraham Lincoln’s grandfather.

  • While enrolled in the University of Washington in Seattle, I would spend summer vacations at home with my parents in Longview, Wash. There, I was able to find employment in the huge lumber mill of Robert Alexander Long, who was born and raised on a Shelby County farm.

    A lumber puller

    Mr. Hamilton, the foreman of the planer mill, was pleased to hire young college men, who were eager to perform the strenuous work of pulling finished lumber off the chains. We would work harder, secure in the knowledge that we would not be doing such hard work all our lives.

  • Robert A. Long’s planned city,

    Longview, Wash.

    In the summer of 1933, my father was asked to establish a local hospital, with an associated medical service bureau, in the unused railroad station in Longview, Wash., a city on the Columbia River about 150 miles south of Seattle.

  • In Seattle I commenced delivering the Seattle Times on Route 74, not far from home. I replaced a carrier who had been fired. Understandably, in showing me the route, he was not very encouraging, describing one section as the Dismal Swamp.

    I picked up my papers from a shack on Fremont Avenue, a mile from my route, and carried them fore and aft in a carrier’s bag. They weighed more than fifty pounds on Sundays when the paper had more ads.

    Silver Dollars – “hard” money

  • In 1927, the year of Lindbergh’s epic flight across the Atlantic, when I was eleven, a bully confronted me at school. Dad promptly signed me up with Billy Rath, a Bellingham physical instructor, to learn how to defend myself. Rath spent a couple of minutes showing me how to box and then walked away, leaving me shadow boxing. He then gave me a quick alcohol rub down. So much for my boxing instruction!

    In the buff in a YMCA pool

  • Bellingham, Washington

    In 1923 my family moved to Bellingham, Wash., living first at 704 Garden Street.

    My best friend was Jack Carver whose home was separated from ours by that of Captain Humphries, who, we understood, in his early years had sailed the Pacific. We used to cross Captain Humphries’ yard to play in each other’s yards.

    Jack’s father, Coston Carver, long-serving editor of the Bellingham Herald, was a quiet man of considerable intellect and talent.

  • Having passed Milestone 102, I am inclined to follow the example of Lee Meriwether (1862-1966), cousin, friend, world traveler and prolific writer, whose last book, “My First 103 Years,” was in process of publication at the time of his death.

    Lee Meriwether, whom my late wife Susanne and I had known well, had been a close friend of Susanne’s mother, Marquise Susanne de Charette, her grandmother, Sue T. Henning, and her great grandmother, Bettie Allen Meriwether, of Allen Dale Farm.

  • Mobilization

    Following Britain’s entry into the war in September 1939, mobilization of our armed forces picked up momentum, even though the mood of the country favored neutrality.

    At that time I was serving in Company D, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment (called 6th Marines) at the Marine Corps Base, San Diego. Company D was an infantry heavy weapons company consisting of three machine gun platoons and an 81mm mortar platoon.

    Marine reserves measure up

  • Gotemba Trail

    We departed Station 2.5 on foot at about 12:30 p.m., and headed up the Gotemba Trail.

    The current Mt. Fuji website describes this trail:

  • The ultimate scholarship

    Upon graduation from the University of Washington in June 1937, as the Honor Graduate of my ROTC class, I was offered a commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the Regular U.S. Marine Corps. This I accepted with enthusiasm.

    With a modicum of hyperbole, it could have been described as the ultimate scholarship: a 30-year career in the Marine Corps. However, it imposed accompanying commitments: Duty, Honor, Country!

  • In my new assignment as Commanding General (Forward) and Deputy Commander, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, I may have carried an impressive title, but it was less significant than appeared. I was Lt. Gen. Victor H. (Brute) Krulak’s man at the Okinawa Marine Logistics Base, which supported the Vietnam War.

    My task was to coordinate this support and trouble-shoot logistic problems under his supervision from his headquarters, over 4,500 miles away in Honolulu.

  • On July 1, 1965 Susanne and I gave a dinner party in honor of Millard and Marguerite Cox of Louisville. Attorney Millard Cox, a Kentucky racing commissioner, had invited us to the Kentucky Derby, held only two months earlier. The Cox’s were visiting San Diego to say farewell to their son, Second Lieutenant Millard Cox III, US Marine Corps, who was being deployed to Vietnam.

  • A remarkable Kentucky character,

    Colonel George Morgan Chinn (1902-1987)

    While visiting my Marine Corps Reserve unit in Frankfort, Kentucky, I met a remarkable individual, Colonel George Morgan Chinn, U. S. Marine Corps Reserve. I was impressed to learn that he was the author of the Encyclopedia Britannica’s entries for both “Daniel Boone” and “Machine guns.” He was a nationally prominent designer and inventor of military weapons, especially machine guns.

  • In this duty assignment in Philadelphia, I had command over the reserve units and recruitment stations in the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.

    Marine Corps Headquarters, unaware as yet of my performance of duty as Chief of Staff of the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune a month before, would have considered it unlikely that I would be promoted and that this would be my final duty station before retirement.

  • In the summer of 1958, upon completion of my instruction at the Canadian National Defence College in Kingston, Ontario, I took my family to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where I reported for duty to the Major General Commanding the 2nd Marine Division.

    At that time, the division consisted of three infantry regiments, an artillery battalion, and other supporting units, trained to spearhead amphibious landings. It had a strength of about 18,000 officers and men.

  • A classmate at the Canadian National Defence College in Kingston, Ontario during 1957-58 was John Killick of the British Foreign Service. Intelligent, informal, with a ready wit and a guitar at the ready, he was the most accomplished and popular member of our class.

    It was generally known that he had been a parachutist in World War II, but little was known about the nature of his service. Now this information is readily available on the all-encompassing Internet.

    Operation “Market Garden”

    – September 17-25, 1944

  • We then proceeded to Newton, also in Cambridgeshire, England, to visit Winifred (Win) Peacock, my father Reginald Bareham’s sister.

    I formed an immediate liking for Win with whom I felt a feeling of common interest. She was moat gracious, appeared to be in good health and spirits. She and her husband Cliff Peacock showed me around Newton, introducing me to all the relatives within that area.

  • London

    I arrived in London by air from Dinard, Brittany on May 18, 1958. It looked clean, orderly and green from the air. Susanne, who had to return to Paris to catch her scheduled flight, met me the following day. We found comfortable accommodations at a reasonable price, just north of Pall Mall in central London.

  • La Maison de Charette de la Contrie

    I have written extensively about the distinguished family Charette de la Contrie, revered in France not for their titles but for their heroic leadership in combat against overwhelming odds.