WASHINGTON, D.C. — Aftermost fall, Bill Gearhart didn’t apperceive if he was activity to be able to accompany his adolescent Marines at their fourth reunion. Afterwards Apple War II, a lot of aggressive capacity captivated anniversary reunions, about from the time of their discharge. Those reunions reunited action vets with their squads, and together, they battled the ancillary of war that cipher knew about but their associate to the appropriate and their associate to the left.
During their appointment aftermost anniversary to Marine Corps headquarters, a few Marines who served in 4th Platoon, Bravo Co., 1st Amtrac Battalion, 3rd Marine Division in Vietnam 1968-’69, met a colonel whose ancestor had served in Vietnam. Afterwards they talked for a abbreviate time, the colonel gave the men of Bravo Company passes to appear a achievement of “The President’s Own,” Marine Corps Band, as able-bodied as a analysis of the USMC Silent Drill Team.
“I acquaint you, we got the VIP treatment,” Gearhart said of the experience. “When they alien the accustomed guests, they alien us first,” he said, “We went to our seats, and Marines in dress dejection and white escorted our wives to their seats. They absolutely looked sharp. The concert was great, but the Silent Drill Team was aloof out of this world. It was article that was actual appropriate to all of us.”
Gearhart’s Marine Corps assembly were anxious about their brother because of a motorcycle basic he had on Oct. 13, 2014. He bankrupt several bones, still needs a knee replacement, and walks with a cane. His buddies were abashed that their baker wouldn’t be with them, but with his wife, Sharon Gearhart allowance her bedmate bisect continued distances in a caster chair, they fabricated it through together.
“I told them that if I couldn’t walk, they could backpack me about on a stretcher,” Gearhart said. “They got the joke.”
The concert was on June 5, at the Marine Corps Headquarters. One affiliate of the 4th Army emailed the colonel who provided them with passes. The Amtrac Battalion veterans becoming the nickname, “Amgrunts,” because of the war they were deployed in combat. The colonel responded to the Amgrunts in an e-mail that Gearhart shared.
“My dad alternate home from Vietnam in 1966 with no acceptable afterwards aerial 316 action missions and actuality shot-down twice,” the colonel wrote. “The Marines you saw aftermost night adulation assuming for the Marines that accept gone afore them … abnormally Vietnam Marines.” He teased that the Marines should break in appearance for a alarm to acknowledgment to alive duty, and bankrupt his message: “Safe campaign to the Amgrunts.”
“We served during the deadliest years of the war and I accept consistently been appreciative of my account in Vietnam,” Gearhart said. “It was an abhorred war, and I apperceive it. When I got out, I couldn’t alike acquisition a job because no one capital to appoint a Vietnam veteran. But I did not accept a best in the war I was beatific to action in. The alone affair I could do was to do my best.”
One of Gearhart’s adolescent Marines, Vito Parisi, started acclimation the reunions in 2011. In 2012, the army aggregate in Memphis, Tenn., in 2013, they met in San Diego, Calif., and aftermost year, they met at St. Louis.
— Contact Bill Archer at [email protected]
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