Help me properly describe my father's position in the Marine Corps.
November 6, 2017 12:56 PM   Subscribe

I'm writing an obituary for my father and I know it would be important to him to get the details of his time in the US Marine Corps right. I've never really understood the structure of the Corps so the odds of me getting this right are slim - particularly as I'm not 100% sure of the details.

He did a one year tour of duty in the early 70s and was in Japan and the Philippines. He was artillery and I don't think ever achieved much in terms of rank before he was injured (not in combat) and discharged. He trained at Camp LeJune in NC and I know he was in Hotel Company - I'm presuming it might be the 3rd Battalion 12th Marines because his email address was hotel312.

Is this enough information (aside from the year(s), obviously)? And if so, how would I write this so it's accurate? I'm looking for just a sentence - He graduated from X high school in Y year, received his BA from Z University, and ... [Marines info here].

Thanks in advance for any help.
posted by AthenaPolias to Writing & Language (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
When do you have to have this in by? Also have you looked in his important papers to see if there is a DD214 there?
posted by corb at 1:00 PM on November 6, 2017

If you know the unit, you may be able to reach out to them and get their records of him - I have friends who have been able to get all kinds of info from the unit historians of units their fathers and grandfathers served in, from what I’ve heard they’re usually happy to provide any info that isn’t classified to the families of vets.
posted by Itaxpica at 1:02 PM on November 6, 2017

I can only help with this small detail, but it's spelled Camp Lejeune.
posted by something something at 1:05 PM on November 6, 2017 [4 favorites]

Ah, sorry, I should have added: this needs to be done today or tomorrow. He died earlier this week but I was out of the country, so I'm only starting to deal with the estate now and the funeral home is eager for something to get into the paper asap. I live far away and won't have access to any of his papers for the forseeable future. Basically all I need is to know how to properly phrase the information I have (and suss out or verify the rest quickly, if possible).
posted by AthenaPolias at 1:08 PM on November 6, 2017

Call the National Archives in St. Louis, where military personnel records are held. The customer service number is 314-801-0800, and they specifically say that they can provide same-day service for a funeral or other time-sensitive need.

Note from the link above: "Due to the large number of calls we receive at this number, hold times are often long. However, once you reach a technician, he or she will be happy to assist you with emergency service."
posted by Siobhan at 1:13 PM on November 6, 2017 [21 favorites]

I have a membership to fold3. It has military records and if you'd like to memail me the info I'd be glad to look it up.

Also, a city or county normally has a veterans services person. You could contact them to try to get into.
posted by ReluctantViking at 1:14 PM on November 6, 2017 [9 favorites]

this needs to be done today or tomorrow

"He served proudly in the Marine Corps." or "He proudly served in the Marine Corps but his service was cut short by a noncombat injury."
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 2:57 PM on November 6, 2017 [4 favorites]

When you call the National Archives, have his serial number, most likely his social security number, handy.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:12 PM on November 6, 2017

__ proudly served in the United States Marines from 19xx - 19xx, in Japan and the Philippines.
posted by theora55 at 3:21 PM on November 6, 2017 [7 favorites]

Alternatively: He proudly served as a field artilleryman with Third Battalion, 12th Marines from xxxx-xxxx, deploying to Japan and the Phillipines, before his honorable discharge in xxxx.

Above answers are good too.
posted by _cave at 6:14 PM on November 6, 2017 [5 favorites]

Former Marine here (rifleman) and son of a retired Marine Artillery Officer. Your guess is correct-- 12th Marine Regiment is an Artillery unit. I would use _cave's second script, above, it is well written, except perhaps omitting the word "proudly", unless you know for sure that's how he felt about his service.
posted by seasparrow at 9:45 AM on November 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

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