By Lloyd Reynolds © 2005
Well let’s go back to 1961. I was a Grunt in Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Brigade, 3rd Marine Division stationed in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. More specifically I was a Machine Gun Squad Leader (0331) and a newly promoted Lance Corporal (Probational) as of October 1st, 1961. Let me explain this. Lance Corporal was a fairly new rank and then all promotions above Private First Class were probational for six months. Some of the powers to be didn’t know what to do with us. We (I) was told that we were Corporals in training but not NCO’s so we could not associate with the Corporals or Sergeants. Yet we were not peons so we could not associate with the Privates or Privates First Class. We could only associate with other Lance Corporals of which there were very few at that time (there were still a number of E-3 Corporals and E-4 Sergeants around). Yet Lance Corporals were assigned duties like Assistant Duty NCO, holding morning formation at 0630 and marching the Company to chow. Yes the whole Grunt Company HAD to march to chow except any one above the rank of the one in charge. If you didn’t want to eat you fell out at the Mess Hall.
The following takes place on December 17th, 1961. I had just gotten a new Marine in my squad (a PFC) and as the Squad Leader I felt it my duty to take him on his first Hawaiian Liberty and show him the sights of Waikiki. Well we wound up at some party and got really drunk. Some how we left the party and wound up downtown Waikiki where all the tourist are. A big No-No for Marines. Next thing I remember is this BIG Hawaiian Cop telling me to sit down. I refused and got an elbow in the stomach for my discretion. Well I had had my four hours of hand to hand combat training in Boot Camp, so I gave this cop a Judo Chop on the shoulder. Right away I knew something was wrong because without an airplane, I’m not supposed to fly. The only thing that stopped me from landing out in the street was a conveniently placed telephone pole. The next thing I remember is the HASP (Hawaiian Armed Services Police) showing up in a “Paddy Wagon”. Two Navy Shore Patrol. I think I had almost talked them into just taking us around the corner and letting us go. When, my Marine jumped up and said “Swabbie’s” and hit one of them.
When I woke up I was in a cell somewhere covered in barf. I had on a pair of trousers, a sock on one foot and a tennis shoe on the other and a head that barley fit in the cell. (I was told that this was the way I was picked up.) A Marine Sergeant pushed a swab and bucket into the cell and told me to mop up. I threw the water on him. Then I was dragged outside and hosed down. When the cold water hit me I took off. I was caught and taken back inside before a Marine Officer. I recall a lot of yelling and that I refused to sign a receipt for my property. At this time I did not know what had happened to the other Marine.
The next day I’m loaded back into a “Paddy Wagon” and there is the other Marine. He has on a “Hospital type” top and has burns on the side of his face and shoulder. I asked him what happened and he doesn’t remember. We are driven back to Kaneohe Bay and turned over to the Company Duty NCO. It was Sunday morning. I started raising hell and wanted an investigation over how and why he got burned. He was taken to sick bay and treated. (We found out later that he had knocked a cup of hot coffee out of a turnkey’s hand when it was offered to him.)
The next day, Monday I expect the ax to fall but nothing happened. The Platoon Sergeant and my Platoon Leader ask me a lot of questions. Mostly about my squad member’s burns. The Holiday’s are coming up and the Company is planing a big to-do for a local orphanage.
New Years Eve I catch Assistant Duty NCO. (The Duty NCO usually a Corporal would stand duty from Liberty Call (1600) to Taps (2200). Then the assistant until Reveille (0600)). Well it being New Years I had a fifth of liquor with me, just for company. About midnight here comes the Officer of the Day making his rounds. He happened to be from my Company (lucky me). He has a Typhoon fifth and a shot glass with him. He offers me a shot, which I accept. We exchange pleasantries. Then I put my bottle on the counter and offer him a shot. Big mistake. When I stood up I kinda wobbled. He told me to go and get the “Duty NCO”. I did and I was relieved of duty. Oh oh now I had a pissed off Corporal mad at loosing a nights sleep. I gave him the rest of my bottle to keep him happy while I hit the rack. Nothing further was said but I knew I was on someone’s shit list.
January 5th 1962 is the big day of my Office Hours. I go before the Company Executive Officer to face the music. He is from the “Old School” and tells me that getting drunk and so on is to be expected of a young Marine. But I was a Lance Corporal a Corporal in training and that I could not associate with PFC’s after hours. I get two weeks restriction. Wow I don’t get busted, I’m still a Lance Corporal. Some of the “Old Salts” had told me that stripes were like “Bail Money” to keep you out of jail.
The Marine that I had taken on Liberty had already had his Office Hours and had gotten two weeks EPD (Extra Police Duty). He said that the XO had told him that I had been a bad influence. That’s why I thought I would be busted.
Then one day late in January I catch Company Runner Duty. Which is sitting in the Company Office waiting for something to happen other than making coffee for the office personnel.
I get the word “Run over to Battalion and get the Guard Mail.” Off I go to Battalion and pick up the mail. Being curious I’m looking through it on the way back to the Company and happen to see my name. It’s the charge sheet from the HASP. Oh shit and more oh shit as I read it. Man I am going to Portsmouth Naval Prison. They had me for; Assault on a civilian cop, Assault on a Shore Patrol, Assault on a Marine NCO, Disrespect to a Marine Officer and Attempted escape. Oh man what to do? Well being resourceful I tore it up and shit canned it. Never heard anything more about it.
While on restriction I caught the duty a lot. During this time I had a friend that was in the Navy and he had written that his ship would be in Pearl Harbor on a certain date. Well on that date I had the duty so a little after Liberty Call had gone and I had some free time. I called Pearl Harbor on the duty phone and asked for his ship. To my surprise I was put through. The Officer of the Deck came on and I asked for my friend Joe (real name). I was told “wait one” and soon Joe came on the line. We made arrangements to meet the next night in Waikiki after 2300.
The next night after signing the restriction log at 2200 I went on “Vampire Liberty”. Over the fence and through the swamp and off to Waikiki. I met up with Joe and told him we couldn’t get to drunk cuz I was on restriction. He told me that when I had called his ship it had just tied up at the dock. They had just secured the lines and hooked up the phone. My call was the first one to the ship. I made it back to the base in time to sign in at 0630. We had this souvenir photo taken in Waikiki.