Jacksonville is an important stop for aspiring Marines

“We will fight the battles of our country,” the Marines hymn assures us in songs, “in the air, on land and in water.”

However, 245 years of USMC history heralds other achievements that did not involve bombarding enemy positions and placing the American flag on a desolate, war-torn hill.

America’s Corps of Marines guarded the US Post Office in 1921; In 1992 they were given the name “Sea Angels” in the tsunami-struck Bangladesh. and they have fought forest fires in the west several times in the past three decades.

And with this letter, busloads of incoming recruits are eagerly awaiting their turn on Parris Island’s dreaded and fabled “yellow footprints” – which will only happen after two weeks of careful COVID testing in Jacksonville, where the Palm Coast and its legendary civil Together, military partnership has the means to feed, house, and process a few hundred “almost Marines”.

The delay time can sometimes be much shorter (or longer) depending on the test and exposure results required upon arrival in Jax and weekly thereafter.

Retired Sgt. Maj. Robert Benn von Eustis told me, “These future Marines get a little extra, unplanned warrior training in patience, that’s all.

“And they are well trained in ‘you go where you are told,'” he said, grinning.

“Oh, they’ll always be the first to fight,” said Benn, whose background includes a purple heart from the Vietnam War and three tours of the drilling field. “But over the years I have had to reassure more than one youth who did not fully understand that sometimes it comes down to filling sandbags in a peace crisis or guarding a warship in a friendly harbor or delivering tons of food during a humanitarian operation .

“Jacksonville may not be the yellow footprint,” said Colonel Ricardo Player, who directs Task Force Commitment, the USMCR’s imaginative and aggressive attack on COVID, “but this great city is certainly the” gateway “to the yellow footprint. “

The Corps is “very serious about our commitment to America’s families who have lent us their sons and daughters for sea service around the world,” Player said. “And evidence of due diligence on a Marine (be it a COVID delay or some other reason) begins as soon as they raise that right hand.

“And thanks to our US Navy documents,” Player added, “this promise will last until the day a leather neck gives its final greeting and goes home with an honorable discharge.”

Small World Department: The Mustang Colonel graduated from Ithaca College, New York, the school that gave Daily Commercial readers the gift of Art Brooks, an absolute crackerjack from a sports editor here who was once the placekicker of the Ithaca bombers.

Col. Riccoh Player, Task Force Commitment Commander


TV presenter Bob Peters of You Tube’s “Central Florida Salute” warns us of an event that will take place on Sunday April 11th. specific challenges. See the Daily Commercial for more information. or call the Mount Dora American Legion Post at (352) 383-4389.


From the pen of Altoonas Lt. Cmdr. (CHC) Bob Haines, USN:

It was the summer of 1968. Bill and I went from Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio to the Jones Auditorium in Houston to join the cast of “Up With People” for a show and the weekend.

From top to bottom, of course, and we took a leisurely step and enjoyed the afternoon.

Somewhere on I-10 in the Schulenburg-Weimar region, the old Mustang got hot and we had to stop at the side of the road. I examined the little 289 engine and couldn’t figure out exactly what had happened. But I knew it wasn’t an easy problem.

Not realizing what the other was doing, Bill and I did what we both did best in a situation like this: Say a little quick prayer in the order: “God, help us out of here.”

Within a minute this middle-aged man stopped in his station wagon and asked what was going on. Without a word of explaining “if”, “and”, “but” or “why” the guy told us he would pull us to the next place we could get to fix the car.

He hooked this little sting onto his station wagon with a chain and began to pull. Very soon we came to a gas station – a Texaco, I remember.

There was a mechanic on duty with a strong German accent (actually German-Texan. You had to be there!) Who examined our trip. He politely told me the engine was frozen and we could get out of the car there for repairs.

Well, I had about as much naive belief then as I ever had before. We left the car there and this man in the station wagon drove us straight to the Jones Auditorium. Bill invited him to the show and then went home.

Bill was meeting up with his fiancé and friends and I made it to my home. Around the time the show was about to start, we received a message that a man and woman were asking for Bill at the ticket office.

We ventured further and there was this “angel” in front of us, who had driven us to the auditorium with his wife, whereupon I bought his tickets.

At the end of the show we met to chat and that was the last time we saw him. We spent the weekend in Houston in a cabana on the property of one of the richest men I have ever met, George Strake, wildcatter of the Lone Star State, who encountered this bubbling crude near Conroe in 1931 and became a philanthropist.

I don’t remember getting back to my car the following Sunday afternoon, but there it was repaired – as good as new – at a reasonable cost and we drove back to ole San Antone.

We drove this car across Texas this summer and it never went better thanks to a Texas Angel showing up at a time of need in response to two simple prayers uttered softly by two young aviators who didn’t know any better were.

Do you want to be an “angel”? Glad to share the “secret recipe” of a Methodist icon:

“Do all the best that you can, by all means you can, in all ways, in all places, at all times, at all times that you can, to all of the people you can, for as long as you can (John Wesley). “

And if you’re pressed for time, here’s a shorter version from King David:

“Trust in the Lord and do good (Psalm 37: 3).” CHAPTER OUT.

Can’t wait to see what you will read in LZ LAKEHAWK until Sunday? Visit Leesburg’s WQBQ 1240 AM on Friday morning to see who and what we will be writing about. Plus, you can hear some great local veteran perspectives from the CO Station James Floyd train, that of Airman Bob Peters, retired Florida Army National Guard Colonel Ric Baysinger, and former Army Captain, and the pride and joy of the FAMU, Theo Bob, is led.

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