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Memorial Day Weekend...

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  • Ionosphere

Please allow me to ramble a little on  this Memorial Day weekend.


Michael Morton was my platoon SGT in Germany.  I was there when he married Pietra in Germany,
and I was there when his first son was born.  Today that son is a U.S. Marine.
Michael rests at Arlington National Cemetery, Section 60,  Site 10186.  After Desert Storm Mike went to OCS and became an officer.  He left the Army after many years and then went back to Iraq and worked as a private contractor.  He passed away in 2012 after a long fight with cancer, probably as a result of contaminates on the battlefield.  Petra said in his last days he was so thin he only weighed about 100 pounds.  Mike was one of the best NCO's I ever had.  He wasn't your typical butt-hole, jacked-up NCO.  He really cared about his soldiers and helped them to grow, both in their personal lives and in their military careers.




Quintin Mann was on my team in Iraq.  He was a gentle kind of guy, from New York, and always had a smile on his face.  He told me one time that he joined the Army because his fiancee worked as a Metro Cop.  When Quintin cheated on her, she put her pistol to his head and threatened to kill him.  So he joined the Army to get out of town.   LOL   Quinton and I were clearing bunkers in the Iraq/Kuwait border one day and after the dust settled we decided to do some souvenir hunting (too young and too dumb).  We were snooping in an Iraqi sleeping bunker when I saw something cool and started to picked it up to see what it was.  It was a US-made antipersonnel mine, fused, with a wire attached to it.  Luckily I didn't move it enough to trip the wire.  After the "come to Jesus" moment and we started back breathing, we both eased out of that bunker as softly as we could.

Another day in Iraq we were waiting for the AF to finish a bombing run so we could clear the bunkers of survivors.  Quintin was sitting up against the wheel of a deuce-and-a-half asleep.  His Kevlar helmet was sitting beside him on the ground, upside down.  As it happened, I found an dead lizard that had been killed in the previous strafing run.  Being the prankster that I am, I put the dead lizard in Quintin's kevlar, kicked him and yelled, "Saddle up!  We're moving!"  Quintin awoke, grabbed his kevlar, jumped up, went to put it on his head and when he did that dead lizard fell out right on top of his head.  The screaming and flailing that ensued was worth a million dollars.  We were all laughing, Quintin knew I did it.  Once he got his wits back and his heart rate dropped back near normal, the fight started until the fellas broke us up.  LOL

Then there was the time in Saudi Arabia that Quintin went to the latrine (just a plywood outhouse built by the engineers), leaned his rifle against the wall and forgot about it and left.  Of course someone found it and turned it in, and they traced the serial number right back to Quintin.  For the next week he worn that rifle padlocked around his waist with a huge logging chain 24 hours a day.  I swear that chain had links 6 inches long and it had to weight 50 pounds.

Then there was the time when the scuds were inbound in Saudi Arabia at the seaport at 2am.  The Patriots took them out but debris fell to the ground all around us.  The chemical NBC alarms went off.  We all assumed it was a biological attack so we got into out chemical gear and gas masks.  Quintin put on his gas mask but forgot to take the little plastic cap off that kept the sand out, so he couldn't breathe.  After about a minute he began to stagger around, eventually passed out and fell over.  He crashed between two cots and the last words I heard him mumble were, "They got me.  The basterds got me".  Now that Quinton was "dead" we knew we were under chemical attack...until about that time I saw the red plastic cap on the intake tube of his gas mask and removed it.  We revived him and you can be sure for the next 8 months we never let him forget that, usually grabbing out chests like Fred Sanford and saying, "They got me.  The basterds got me" as we pretended to fall over.

Then there was the time in Germany that Quintin and I had to sweep the entire battalion motor pool for a week after we got caught using our ration cards to sell Marlboro cigarettes and Jack Daniels to the German black market guy outside the front gate.  It rained one of those days so Top had up mop the rain up out of the motor pool with a mop all day long in the rain.

Quinton got out of the military and lived in Florida.  He went to school and became a nurse and worked at a hospital in Palm Bay.  Quintin died in a vehicle rollover in Melbourne, Florida in 2011.  Today he rests at South Florida National Cemetery in Palm Beach County, Section 39, Site 297, leaving a wife and child.



(The lizard fight)

Quintin and I, Kuwait



"When you speak of them, say that they were my Brothers."


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