FanStory.com - Attack ofthe50 States:N Carolinaby Bill Schott
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2d Marine Division
Attack of the Fifty States
: Attack ofthe50 States:N Carolina by Bill Schott

The Carolinas were pretty much just a geography answer to me until I was nineteen. I'm not even sure I knew the difference between them and the Dakotas. Now that I think about it, I probably got that geography question wrong.

When I decided to join the Marines in 1974, I quickly learned that Parris Island (yes I spelled it right) was in South Carolina and contained the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. In North Carolina, Camp Lejeune was the headquarters for the 2nd Marine Division. (There are four divisions: Camp Pendleton, California has the 1st Marine Division; Okinawa, Japan, the 3rd; and all the Marine Corps Reserves make up the 4th MarDiv.

Once I finished boot camp, which was surprisingly in MCRD San Diego, California, not SC, and I finished my MOS school in Lawton, Oklahoma, I was assigned to HQ Battery, 2nd Field Artillery Group, 2nd Field Service Support Group, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic. I was in North Carolina.

The military town outside Camp Lejeune was Jacksonville. This was the mid-seventies and Vietnam was almost in the books. The town reflected the times and was packed with bars, strip joints, tattoo parlors, whore houses, and lawyers. The attorneys represented the bar brawlers, sexual assault assailants, victims of crooked businessmen, and those being blackmailed by prostitutes' pimps' lawyers.

Outside of this area, the state of North Carolina was a beautiful and friendly place to live. I was surprised, after growing up in Michigan, how downright neighborly folks were. Being part of the Bible Belt accounts for some of it, but the general population lived life at a little slower and relaxed pace.

I was married right out of boot camp and lived off-base in town. My first hitch was three years and I was ready to move on. I had made it to sergeant in two years, which I discovered later was considered impressive. I think, being married, I avoided a lot of the snares that get Marines in trouble and slow down their careers.

My wife managed to get pregnant a few months before my hitch was up, so we decided to re-enlist. The economy under Presidents Ford and Carter was in sad shape, so staying made sense.

After that three year term, we left the Marines and North Carolina. Within two years we were back and I found that my old unit, 2nd FAG, had been disbanded and the artillery batteries were absorbed by 10th Marine Regiment.

The rest of my story goes on a bumpy ride, so I will take this opportunity to beef up your Nort-Cacalacki history.

North Carolina is bordered by Virginia to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Georgia and South Carolina to the south, and Tennessee to the west. Raleigh is the state's capital and Charlotte is its largest city. Charlotte is the largest banking center in the nation after New York City.

NC was established in 1729 as one of the original Thirteen Colonies. North Carolina is named in honor of King Charles I; Carolus being Latin for "Charles".

North Carolina was the 12th state to ratify the United States Constitution.

It declared secession from the Union in 1861, becoming the last of eleven states to join the Confederate States; restored to the Union in 1868.

Orville and Wilbur Wright successfully flew the first heavier-than-air aircraft at Kill Devil Hills in North Carolina's Outer Banks in 1903. The state's license plates say "First in Flight".

North Carolina's elevations go from the highest point east of the Mississippi River, Mount Mitchell at 6,684 feet, in the Appalachian Mountains, to sea level on the Atlantic coastal plain.

Within a year of returning to the Corps and North Carolina, I was sent to Beirut, Lebanon. After that debacle, I returned to find I was getting divorced. Long story short, first wife out, next wife in. Then within a year, we transferred out of North Carolina to Oklahoma.

Three years there, a year in Okinawa, which included Desert Storm, and I was sent again to 10th Marines in North Carolina. My new wife and new family remained there until we transferred to my final duty station in Iowa.

Did I mention South Carolina? I will in the next installment. Meet you in Myrtle Beach.




 

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