Today was December 20, 1990. It was a typical Thursday. We had an early afternoon formation in which we finally got the official word on when we were flying out. It would be soon, real soon. Early Thursday morning of next week in fact. December 27th, two days after Christmas.
My first thought was, “Well, at least we get a decent Christmas meal before go eat camel food.” It also gave us a chance to call home on Christmas Day which was perfect since most of everyone I would be calling would all be gathered together at my grandmother’s house.
Later that day I heard some loud talking outside the barracks. I stepped outside to catch this image. The sign is hard to read in this picture but it says, “Headquarters Battery 10th Marine Regiment.” I ran down stairs after taking the picture thinking everyone was going to take a turn posing in front of it, but when I got there, they were all gone. We didn’t take selfies back then, either. So I make my way back up the stairs and back in my room. Later on we all got together and posed in front of it which is this other picture that I’ve included. My flash didn’t go off so the picture is very poor quality but I made a small circle around my face so you can see where I was.
I continued working on my final letter home that I mentioned in an earlier post. I wasn’t quite finished with it. We didn’t ask each other’s opinion on what to write. It had to come straight from your own heart. It had to be well thought out because it would be the last words your loved ones may hear from you. What do you want them to know? What is your last dying breath? And about that time, I heard the most beautiful words a marine could hear over the loudspeaker, “Pizzas in the Duty Hut, five bucks each!”
Occasionally, one of the local pizza places would make extra pizzas and have their delivery guy go to the various barracks selling them for five or six dollars. But you had to be quick. I learned that the hard way. I’m on the third floor and those hungry marines below showed no mercy! I’m surprised I didn’t get any broken ankles. I jumped down flights of stairs to get there. You could hear thunder rolling in the stairwell every time those announcements were made. Sometimes I made it and sometimes I didn’t. You can’t hesitate and think about whether you wanted it or not. Hesitation is for losers. There is one principle that I believe applies in every situation, especially for marines going to war. When you want something, there’s only one thing to do: Go Get Yours!
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”