Skip to main content

...I was Ten Years old when my parents were divorced. We left our Big house on 5960 Broadway Terrace in 1961. Oakland California. Yes! It was the huge Mansion. My Father Bought it for $27,000. On a Interior Decorators' Salary...he worked his own business. We moved into the big house when I was four.

I lived with our Mother, along with my two brothers. I spent my young life, moving back and forth from dads' house to moms, switching with my younger brother, more times than I can remember and count. The IRS was curious as to how Dad could afford that Large of a Home, He was audited multiple times, and was always good! Mom, also worked hard, at Owens Illinois Glass.

After my parents separated, I Lived with Mom at her House. She was one of the first few Women who could purchase their own Home, at that time, 1961. One weekend, so she could have some free time, I was sent to stay with a Family, Mom knew from work...down in the little town of San Louis Obispo. I was ten. Their Mom baked 'Delicious yeast Bread'. That's where I watched and learned how to cook it for myself. My job to help out, was to go and clean up all the Dog-Do on the backyard Lawn. I made Myself useful.

Their older son, Dave was a Cadet at the Coastguard Academy. He took me for a tour on one of their Cruisers. He was a fine Young Man. Back at the House, Dave was showing Me around his room. I could not miss seeing the Red Rider BB Gun sitting on the Floor Leaning up against the chest of drawers. I had to ask...would you sell that, could I buy it? Sure, how Much money do you Have? I produced all the spending money My Mother had given me for the visit, and showed Dave a One Dollar Bill. Without hesitation he takes the Bill, and puts the Small rifle in My Hands...IT's Yours', don't point it at anybody. This started it All, the first 'Rifle' I ever held in My Hands.

Not 'till I arrived back home to 238 Crossroads, Mom's House, was I able to get up to the store, freeway variety in Montclare, to purchase a couple of tubes of BB's.

I practiced my marksmanship, all day, most everyday. When the BB's ran Out, I was quick to get More. I became Accurate with that Rifle. I Became Very accurate!

'Sight Alignment, Trigger Squeeze'. There's Also 'EYE' Alignment! In later years, on the Rifleteam, I Developed, and Taught...'Mindfulness of the thumb slipping down the comb'. 'Follow-Through, after the Shot, the breaking of 'Focus'. And most Important 'The Natural Point of Aim'! THIS alone, can turn a 'Mediocre' Shooter into a Champion! As a Coach, I can improve any Marksmans' Score, up to 50% in 5 Minutes!

I shot in our backyard. I did not shoot birds...then. My older brother, Roger, the Nam Vet in Later years. He asked if I could hit that 'Poppy' Flower, about 15 feet from me. I took aim at the thin stem, fired and missed, so it seemed. Roger was surprised when a soft breeze came over and tipped the Flower over where I had skimmed the side of it.

I practiced every chance I could take. I got very good, where I could shoot and Kill Flies on the Back Fence, at a distance of 75-80 Feet.

Fast forward to a trip to Miles City, Montana, to visit with my Grandfather. My younger brother Brian and I, I was 13, he was 12. We found a gun shop in town that would sell us the Latest Crosman BB Rifles, but Only when we came back with a Permission note signed from our Mother. We did. And we walked out with two BB Rifles that cocked with a Sliding cantilever forearm, much like a Shotgun...and about 1000 BB's Between us. These Rifles can hold 50-60 BB's at a Time. My brother and I competed against each other all that day, shooting everything that Didn't Move! We shot and shot for years until we wore those rifles out. We Kept '3 in 1' oil with us, to keep the Rifles working Smoothly.

Fast forward one more time to High School. Our High School was three years,10, 11 and 12th grades. I was in my second year of ROTC, a Junior, I had earned my promotion to 1st Lieutenant. That years' Graduations had left a Single opening in the Rifleteam. One Japanese Cadet and Four Chinese cadets, they called themselves 'The Chinese Bandits'. And Mister, those Cadets could Shoot!! The City Rifleteams, one for each of the Six Schools, were made up of Six members. To fill the open position. the Military Instructors, opened the competition, in our Range, to fill the Vacancy. Not all of the Cadets were given a chance to shoot. When it became My turn, I was ready. One Chance, one Target, 10 shots at 50 Feet.

I thought I had competed very well. I gave it all I had! I wasn't given the news until the next day. Sargeant Teichner, badly wounded in Vietnam. 3 Machine gun bullets through is Right Arm. Badly Mangled, dangling by his side and in excruciating pain for the rest of his life. He had to use his Left hand to lay his right arm upon his desk. He calls me into the Office to give me the Great news..."You Made the Rifleteam...You Out-Shot Everyone On It!! Welcome aboard" A Scot, Expert Marksman, joins the 'Chinese Bandits', a Undefeated Team!.

The great thing about being on the team, every week we must leave in the middle of Classes dressed in Fatigues, pick up our Rifles, Reminton 40XB's with 12 Pound Barrels, and go shoot in Competition in a 'Shoulder to Shoulder' Rifle Match. 8 Teams, 6 teams in Oakland and 2 Teams in Alameda. We would compete with each other Twice, Once at their Range, once at Our Range. One of the Chinese cadets wore glasses, this handi-capped him mostly to 'scratch man'. Only the top 5 shooters make the total team score. The sixth man is not counted...'Scratched'. I was Never Once, the Scratchman.

That Year, the 6 of us shot our way as the Top Champion Rifleteam. The American Legion threw a Lavish Dinner in our Honour. We were in Uniform, there were Many Admiring guests, Men and Women. My First of Many Shooting Metals, pinned to My Chest. Culminating that years' competition of the annual 'St. Patricks Day' rifle match.

It was a Great Year to be an Officer. Next, My third Year, I was Promoted to Captain, I took the Position as Rifleteam Captain and Commander. 6 years had gone by. While I was at School, Dave visited Mom and I, at Home. She Told him I had made it on the Rifleteam, He was proud he could be a Big part in the Beginning of it. I missed him by Minutes. A 1 Dollar BB Gun!

Senior Year 1968-69

The 'Chinese Bandits' had all Graduated. Leaving Only I, and the Sargeant Teichner, to recruit the next best shooters. 5 Cadets were a lot for replacements. They were all we had, fairly good shooters, but the 6 of us, were never the Champion team, we should have been. I excelled.

I can remember one Match we fired against Castlemont High...At Our Range. Oakland Technical HS. What was the matter with those Clowns, No Honour!! Waiting to be called in for My Fire Session, I am outside the range, laying down on a Bench, Meditating, arm over my Closed eyes, When! From the second story window, one of their team members, throws a few Firecrackers out of the window, towards my position. A feeble attempt to Shatter My Nerves. I didn't even Flinch! I expected it!

They were purely Predictable! Next, one moment later, I am called in, to fire 3 Positions, Prone Standing and Kneeling. 3 Targets, 10 Bulls-Eyes each. 30 Shots plus 2 or 3 for zeroing the Sites...usually done in the prone position, first. You have 36 Minutes to Complete the 3 Positions. If One Lags behind on the Time, you may get into a Panic. This what I mean, about being Your own Competition.

I get up from my meditation, walk into 'My' Range...Thinking to Myself, "Now they're Going to witness what Marlin is Made of!" I already have my Jacket and Glove on, I take my rifle, sling, Kneeling Roll and assume the prone and Exact My Retribution, by firing one of My all-time Highest Scores!! Now, That's Discipline! My Only Competition is Myself!! My Team blew their team into the Dust!!

Castlemont! You do Not show Disrespect on My Turf!!

This is the Big One! The Annual All Bay Area, 3 City Rifle Match. Oakland 6 schools, Alameda 2 Schools, San Francisco 8 Schools. ONLY the One Top Shooter from Each School will compete. 16 Shooters. The first place shooter fired a score of 270 out of a possible 300. Each of 30 'Bullseyes' is worth 10 Points. I fired a 265 to take Second place all Bay Area. I had the Highest score for the Kneeling position. This was My all-time highest score. Prone 99, Kneeling 95, messed up Standing, to a Low 71. I never shot a Perfect 100 Prone. The 1st High Shooter, Arkward was his name, Senior in his 4th year of ROTC and shooting at His Range at Lincoln HS, San Francisco. He took the High score for Prone and Standing. He paid the $5.00 Fee, to Challenge My Kneeling Target of 95, for a rejudging. The judgement came Back Arkward shot a 94, Marlin a 95. OR. was it Judged...Arkward also shot a 95, But Marlin had One More 'Bullseye'. When the '10' Ring on the Target, Just Gets Broken!

I graduated High School June 6, 1969. Started College a 17 Years. Roger had set me up with advanced courses at Laney JC, he was attending. Courses only current students could sign up for. They were Difficult and Challenging. I could not handle the Heavy Study Load of 24 Credits. After a Month or so, I withdrew...quit my mondain cashier job, was turned down for Warrant Officer Flight Training...and when I turned 18, signed Myself into the US Army, for a 3 Year term. My Brother asked if I would Not have my Mother sign me in at 17 as it would be bad for her mental health. I Agreed. Roger had Just Returned from His Tour in Vietnam, a year Earlier.

Birthday November 22, soon after, Indoctrination in my own home town. The 'Oakland Induction Center'. 10's of Thousands of recruits went through there! "Turn Your Head and Cough". I was perfectly healthy with 10-10 Vision and a Heart Murmur, the medics found later in Vietnam during my Flight Physical.

2 Days Later, on a Flight up to Ft. Lewis WA. At that time, Basic Training was Only (8) Weeks of training. We averaged 1/2 Day of sunshine in a Week. Off the Bus from the Airport at 0200 Hrs. Yes, that's in the Darkness...and Cold! The very first thing, the Drill Sargent marches us straight to the Barber Shop for a 'Buzz-Cut' 1/4" High! Pay the Barber $1.00. We Mostly trained Soaking wet in the Rain. In December we are Laying out on the Rifle Range on Mats in Snow and Ice!! Training in the Freezing for Warfare in Vietnam!? We were the Only Company that trained with the M-14 AND the M-16 to 'Replace' it. I earned 'Expert' in Both Rifles. I didn't Miss, moving targets.

Writ'in using Rocks outside our Barracks: 'The Men will Try, The Boys will Die...But Only the Best will Pass the Test'

Our at attention cry..."Second Platoon-Second to NO Man!"

"More PT Drill-Sargent!!" Grenades Training was most Interesting! So was 'Quick-Kill', using what else?? BB Rifles!! Forced March, at Night, was a 'Gas', full field pack and rifle. The Drill-Sargent..."Turn around! Do NOT Look at that Headlight", as a Freight train is passing, as we stand at the edge of 'Puget Sound'.

At Christmas the entire Fort is Shut Down, we are given a 4 day leave to go home. I am sitting in Tacoma Airport, in uniform. I am the ONLY Person There!! waiting for my flight by 'Stand-By'. Oh Shit! Here comes 2 MP's! A MP Soldier has all the power of authority to Arrest a Ranking General, if say, he were Drunk or Other misconduct...While wearing the Uniform. 2 MP's approaching One Big, 'The Boss' the second, smaller, must be in Training. The Boss MP..."On Your FEET!!" I'am up and at Attention. A quick Inspection. "Do You have a Shave Kit?" "Yes Sargent!" He Points over My Shoulder, "There's a Latrine right over there, Shave that DIRT off Your Upper Lip!!" They Leave. I get in the Restroom and shave-off what little hint of a Mustache I had at the time. I was Not suppose to have ANY Facial Hair in Boot Camp. I got out of the 'Latrine' and the MP's were nowhere to be seen. Ya, the Little guy was in Training. The Boss was 'Flexing his muscles'. I am called, time to Board My Flight home for Christmas.

By Fate, I never, in 3 Years, missed a Christmas at Home. Including when I was in Vietnam...But that was a Emergency Leave to go home and see My Mother in the Hospital, before She Passed-away.

We 'Graduated' 'Boot' in February, before being sent, some of us, to Ft Eustis, VA for our AMT...Advanced Military Training. In My case 'Spit and Polish, Toe the Line at 4 AM' every single day, training for 3 Months. And, those Boots Better be Spit-Shined!

CH-47 Chinook Criewchief 67U2F. Two Manuals Both 2 Inches Thick, and there's no time to study when you're pulling KP and other duty. Every Night were Classes from 7 to 10PM...Sorry, that's 1900 to 2200 HRs. Classroom and mostly 'Hands-On' Mechanicals. Electrical, Hydraulics, and More. 27 Miles of Wiring...5 Miles of Hydraulic Tubing and Hoses!

When we received Orders that we would be sent to Vietnam...we knew there was a 99% chance of that, we were assigned to 'Vietnam' Training, Trip wires, booby traps, insurgents, guard, Map reading, evade and escape and much more. Including, Criewchiefs were Schooled on How to Deliver a Baby!! True, and That Happened on My ship in Nam!

To Finish Basic Training...Our Entire Company was Marching to Graduation, leaving the Company Area, in the Dark of the Morning...for the Last time. We were moving out as the NEW Company was coming in. Their column was held at attention, as we passed by in front, Chanting out Cadence to 'Ole-Anna'. At the Top of our lungs, We were all Men! Solid, Trained Men. We were 'Booming' with Pride and Bravado!! As I could see the Glass Windows on the Company Headquarters, Flexing In and Out...I thought the Windows Should Shatter! I will never forget the Look on the Faces of the New Recruits. All Eyes Bulging-Out, In Dreaded Fear, as if thinking, 'What the Hell have These Guys been Put Through??' I'am thinking 'If You Only Knew, what You were about to receive'. We Were Done!! I went into Basic weighing 165 Pounds, at Graduation, I came out weighing 195. Believe It! In Boot, the Overweight, Lost Pounds, The under-weight Gained Pounds, Phenomenal. It was the Great Food and the 'Exercise'!!

The Main Cook Knew 'an Army moves on it's Belly'. My Opinion was, it's the Best Food on The Planet! Army Meals are Planned 2 Years in advance! On Pay day, everyone is eating 'Off Base'. On One particular Payday, it was Steaks for Dinner! There were Only a Half-Dozen or so, of us, in the Entire Mess Hall. I'am eating my Second Steak, when the Cook comes out from the Kitchen...In a STERN Voice, "Alright! Come and get Your Third Steak, or I'am Throwing it Out!!" I was 'Stuffed' Full, couldn't eat another bite! I learned Later, All Food 'Scraps' are given to the Local Pig Farmers. I'am sure most of the Steaks went home with some of the Officers.

Soon after that, basic training became 16 Weeks.

After Graduation, 4 days leave at home, then on a Flight from Travis AFB to Ft. Eustis, Virginia (Even Uncle Sam Thinks It Sucks)

The Photo:

Chu-Lai, near the Cambodian Border 1970

Spec. 4 Marlin Jack 18 Yrs. 147th Asslt. Support Hel. Co

'Protect the Innocent, Defend the Weak'

We Fed Them, We Moved Villages.

I didn't Like Bullies, and I was put in a Position to Do Something About It!

All of My Pilots went home, Walking.

In Americas' Darkest Hour...we couldn't Save them All, but we Saved Some.

Have a nice Memorial Day weekend, It's all about the Remembering and the Honoring.

Last edited by marlinjack

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.