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Everything posted by CaptO

  1. I remember seeing articles about him in the past. Remarkable man. Rest in Peace, sir!
  2. I agree, Marion, the color photos are awesome!
  3. Wow! This is awesome, Marion! I'm glad you've gotten to talk to him. Hope he continues to do well!!!
  4. Yes, I knew this news would be coming, but it still hurts to hear. I'm glad I got to meet him - he was a great man (as all of them I met were).
  5. CaptO

    Info on the 1277th - John Priest

    Very cool! Will be looking forward to the pics. Also, homemade honey is the best! I got hooked on having local honey when I was at 2d Battalion, 10th Marines. I was talking to our SgtMaj one day and he started mainlining honey (i.e. he upended a squeeze bottle of honey into his mouth). I commented that it must be good and he said he kept bees and let me try some. It was darn good. From that point on there was no more Honey Bear in my future. I was very glad to find a local honey store in Okinawa that I frequented for the four years I was there. SO GOOD! https://okinawahai.com/kohama-hachimitsu-小浜のハチミツ/
  6. So there are no commissioned officers in USMC bands. . . or are there??!! So when I emailed the band director (who knew I played trombone) to ask when tickets were available for the Christmas Concert (yes, actually Christmas and not "Holiday") he said, "Anytime. Hope to see you there. Do you want to sit in? Please?" The regular bass trombone player was on the sound board so I got to play with the band!! How 'bout that! After 20 years from when I told the recruiter I wasn't joining the USMC band so I could go to college, I'm finally playing in the band!! One more concert to go (Saturday) and I will have done all four concerts. What a shot of motivation for an old guy like me!!! The rest of the photos are here: https://picasaweb.google.com/104745627018165888181/MeAtTheIIIMEFBandConcert
  7. CaptO


    That's a pretty comprehensive list of insignia. I found the 540th and its battalions on 80, 103, and 123.
  8. Yes, these are great photos. Seems like with WWII you see a lot of the same photos over and over despite the volume of photos shot in the war. It's always good to see private photos because a) by their nature, haven't been seen by many and b) usually they are taken of things that may have seen "mundane" by the people who put together "Photos of World War II!!" books. It adds a visual dimension to the war you would otherwise not have.
  9. CaptO

    What the major is up to now

    I also forgot to mention I played with the Marine Band in Quantico, too!! This was August of last year. In Fredericksburg town square: And at the Marine Corps Museum
  10. CaptO

    What the major is up to now

    Wow, it's been a while since I've posted this! Since then, I've now been made the S-3 (operations officer) for the Battalion and will soon be running (in the operational sense, of course) the Marine Corps Marathon in DC. During that event, October 28th this year, the Marines from Quantico go up to Washington D.C. to provide most of the manpower to facilitate the race. We man water/Gatorade points, food stations, and the start and finish activities (such as giving medals to all finishers). This year, I get to be the operations officer for all of the Marines involved - yay. It's a lot of work and a SUPER early morning, but it's a good time and mostly a lot of fun - at least when you are at a water point of food station. the ops section will be locked in some building somewhere so I'm not sure how fun that will be. Lastly, other than running the marathon (once again, not in the jogging sense!) I'm running other events here in Quantico for the Battalion. We always want to get Marines out of the office to "Marine things" and this was one of those efforts. My portion starts at 1:30: https://www.dvidshub.net/video/623944/saved-rounds-episode-11
  11. CaptO

    V-Mail Newsletters - WWII Museum

    Interesting - I hadn't heard of Ernest Childers, but it is quite a story. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Childers
  12. There are a lot of feelings I had when I first read "Farewell Tony Stefanelli". I would love to be able to tell you all of them at one time, but since that isn't possible, I'll try to break them down. I had that heart lowering, sad feeling when I first read the words but I don't want really want to say that this is necessarily sad for a couple of reasons. First off is my belief in God and that this life isn't the point, if you follow me. Secondly, he was 102 and you certainly couldn't say he didn't live a long, fruitful life. What I do feel is that sense of loss that we all get when someone we knew (regardless of how long) that we really liked. I only met him the once, but I really enjoyed my time with him. I only regret I didn't get to hang out more since he was such a great guy with awesome stories to tell. I would have really enjoyed spending more time with him, but it was not to be. I know he would have been surrounded by his children and grandkids at the end and that is the most important. I'll just have to wait until that great everything reunion in the sky. Farewell Tony. You were certainly one of the good ones and you can't do much better than that.
  13. CaptO


    That was the only place that both of my grandfathers were in the same place during the war. My paternal grandfather's history is known to many here, but for those who don't know, he was with the 540th, Marion's father's unit. My maternal grandfather was from Oklahoma so he was in the 45th Infantry Division as an Infantry officer (a captain, I believe). He was injured pretty seriously three days from the conclusion of the battle and was sent home for the duration. He came back to Europe following the war in the occupation troops. Here are some pictures I found looking up Operation HUSKY. Thank goodness for the internet! You can always find new WWII pictures! (Well, new to me!)
  14. CaptO

    Thieves steal money from a WWII engineer

    I'm always pleased to see how many people there are to help after sad things like this happen.
  15. CaptO

    Happy 4th!

    I was in Dallas for the Fourth. I would have liked to have been in DC for the fireworks, but I had to go visit family and look at colleges for the big one (now a senior). Happy (late) Fourth to all!
  16. I heard about this the other day. Very sad, but it is getting to be an older structure and has been hit by ships in the harbor before. Here are pictures of the Arizona memorial and the other things to see in Honolulu that I took on my visits: https://get.google.com/albumarchive/104745627018165888181/album/AF1QipPnVav3sfNyIxLvFIN5vKjt4P7FWQq89EakkIEF https://get.google.com/albumarchive/104745627018165888181/album/AF1QipNfx5RcBSAVCZ2P_8fHaQkoCGriF5xkD8Y1zvtM https://get.google.com/albumarchive/104745627018165888181/album/AF1QipMNRRgOs9ItPIdkM9ZF85K01-_TdYKUhdrtjqHw It's a lot to go through, but there is a lot to see. I'd post some highlights, but even the Google Photo Archive doesn't allow direct linking now (it used to). Have to find a new photo posting site!
  17. CaptO

    Late introduction

    I've been posting for a while but I have yet to "introduce myself" so here it is. I am a Captain in the Marine Corps serving with the Second Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune. I am married with two boys (3 and 6 [six and a half he points out.]) I have deployed to Iraq once in 2004 as an augment to 3/24 (Third Battalion, 24th Marines.) As for future deployments, nothing is certain. Individuals get sent out without a great deal of warning all of the time. I am working (slowly) toward a Masters in Military History with a concentration in WWII through American Military University online. My grandfather was LTC John C. O'Brien of the 2832nd Battalion of the 540th. It was perhaps the fact I knew he was in WWII that sparked my interest in it in early grade school - if not before. He never talked much about it although I did interview him once on what he did. Even then he wasn't very specific as most real vets are. He was a great man and I miss him. Cheers to him and the rest of the vets who have gone before. I enjoy plastic military modeling although I don't have much time for that with the crazy three year old running around! I have to set up my modeling stuff after he goes to sleep and put it up every night so I don't do it often. I also enjoy photography - my undergrad major. I have a Graflex 4x5 press camera but in order to process and print I have to mail off my film because Jacksonville, NC does not have a that sort of service here. I also am a big music fan and have a very eclectic taste. As I write this I am listening to Beethoven's 9th Symphony but I am just as likely to listen to Rush, Pink Floyd, Mannheim Steamroller, BB King, Gipsy Kings, or Alice in Chains. I also am a big talk radio devotee. I've enjoyed reading and posting here. My postings for my classes are mostly graded so I don't feel as structured here! Thanks for all of your comments. Capt Todd O. The first photo is of my grandfather as a captain which would indicate being relatively early in the war. I'm not sure who the man on his left is. The other is me after a long night guarding a weapons cache a squad from the other platoon found but didn't have the supplies to sit on overnight. We found more weapons and ammo with some metal detectors over night and we were feeling pretty good by the time we blew it all to bits later that day.
  18. CaptO

    Late introduction

    Yes indeed. Even in my experience in the Marine Corps, change is an ever present reminder of the passage of time. I noticed that even from the start. As a lieutenant, I left my first unit and noted how most of the SNCOs had moved on and that Marines that had checked in as PFCs (in the Marine Corps and E-2) were now corporals. I visited that unit a few years later and didn't know anyone! Right now I'm struck by the fact that my Marines are closer in age to my elder son (17) than they are to me - by far! The youngest Marines are 1 year older and the average is probably only 4 years older. By way of contrast, I'm older than them by an average of 21 years! Just looking at the command board is another indicator of this. Our command board has pictures of the CO, SgtMaj, company commanders, and staff heads (for the S-1, S-3, legal team, chaplain, etc.) What I am noticing now is the surprising lack of stars on the National Defense ribbons people are wearing. The National Defense Medal is authorized during times of conflict. The fact that it is awarded as soon as you join gives it the moniker the "Fire Watch Ribbon", The latest time period it was authorized was following 9/11 and is still issued to the current day. The previous time period it was issued for (and for which one would have a star on the ribbon or medal) was Desert Storm and the inclusive dates were August 2, 1990 - November 30, 1995. As I went to boot camp in Feb of 1995, I rate it and so have the star. On the rack below, it is second row, second from the right (red on ends yellow in middle). So what this means is that the majority of people who are in senior positions in this and most battalions joined after November of 1995 - even the first sergeants! Just another reminder of time gone by! And pretty soon, my star will be gone from the board as well!
  19. Glad to hear he is still doing well. Pretty darn tough for an old guy!
  20. CaptO

    Late introduction

    Just read over this again. Wow - it's like a time capsule! I miss all those WWII vets!!
  21. Awwwwwww. . . shucks!
  22. That link will give you a great amount of information on requesting your family member's records to include awards. My father did this for my grandfather and they not only sent a document with what he had earned, but also brand new medals for all of the ones he had earned. By way of general instruction, here is the gouge on medals and ribbons. The simplest way to put it is that every medal has a corresponding ribbon, but some ribbons (e.g. Presidential Unit Citation, or Navy Combat Action Ribbon) do not have a corresponding medal. Medals are only authorized for very special occasions. In the Marine Corps, for example, medals can only be worn with our dress blues. They cannot be worn even with our equivalent to Army "Class A's". Ribbons, however, are worn with all uniforms that are not designed as fighting uniforms, in other words, with service uniforms. Army Service Uniforms Note in the picture above that medals are only worn on the best dress uniforms. Marine Dress Blues In the photo above, you will notice that Marines are wearing medals and ribbons (as some of the Army folks did in the photo above). In the USMC, when wearing Dress Blue Alphas (dress blues with medals), ribbons for which there is no corresponding medal are worn on the right side of the uniform. If medals were not being worn, all ribbons (those for medals and those that don't have a medal) would be worn on the left. Maybe there is someone smart on Army regs who could say why the Army has some ribbons on the right hand side even wearing a ribbon rack on the left. This Jar Head don't get it. . . This is me in my "Alphas" (as we call them in the Marines). All ribbons (those that are ribbons only and those that have medals) all on the same side. Ribbons with no corresponding medal in this picture are the Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Citation, Meritorious Unit Citation, and sea service deployment ribbon.
  23. Well, I know I've not been hanging around the site much, but I've been pretty busy. I had assumed that after my job as HQ Company Commander (they still have my picture up as of now) they would ease me into something else that wouldn't take so much time as I wind out my time before retirement, but that was not to be. I have been made the Operations Officer for the HQ&SVC Battalion, Marine Corps Base Quantico. As such, I have been running on all engines since I took over in March. Also, the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon is coming up (20 May) in Fredericksburg, VA and the Battalion runs that so that means that I run that! Fortunately, I will be running it with a great Ops Chief and 350ish other Marines, but it does keep me busy. Soon, however, I will be replaced with a guy who is sticking around longer (I was just the Band-Aid to get the Battalion through the Marathon). So hopefully, I can start winding down and work on getting a new job, because. . . . I retire on November 29th! That's actually my terminal leave day and my official end of service is 1 Feb. That will make for 24 years in the Marine Corps. Hard to believe it will be coming to an end. Anyway, I just wanted to check in because it had been a while and I wanted to share that news. I'll write more later, but I gotta go!
  24. What is also hard to believe is that I've been hanging around here since 2007! I do miss the old days, sometimes. Remember when we had probably 5 or so regular WWII vets posting almost daily? Dems were da days!