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A Marine 24 x 7

A Marine 24 x 7
by Chet Lynn

Chet Lynn tells the story about one of the more unusual Marines he knew.

Hockaday possessed not one item of civilian clothing. Most of the time this had proven no great disadvantage until Hockaday was assigned to the 2nd Marines, a regiment with a rather socially-minded officer's mess. It came to pass that the regimental commander decided that there would be a gathering of the officers, and their spouses as a matter of "calls made and returned." The uniform was specified as "appropriate civilian attire." In this case coat and tie was "appropriate."

Hockaday stated that he believed that Summer Service A would also be appropriate, but he was informed that it would be deeply appreciated (or words to that effect) if he would comply with the desires of the regimental commander. So Hockaday hied himself to the Marine Corps Manual where he researched to discover what , if any, uniform items might be worn with civilian attire and he found that virtually any item of uniform that did not have some device identifying it as a military item could be worn.

On the day in question Hockaday presented himself to the assembled regimental officers and spouses and proceeded through the receiving line attired in spit shined cordovan dress shoes, regulation black socks, khaki trousers, starched long sleeve khaki shirt with no ribbons, badges, etc., thereon, a multi-colored necktie that looked as if the local foundling home had used it as a spit up rag and a sort-of rust colored sport coat that I am sure he located in a local thrift shop.

After passing through a suddenly quiet and bemused receiving line, Hockaday then proceeded to the bar where he had the two ritually imposed drinks, and made his departure dropping his card in the bowl provided for that purpose. As he left the officers' club, he passed a large dumpster into which he deposited the coat and necktie before boarding his Marine Green TR7 with Camoflage covered upholstery and departing the area.

That was the first and only time Hockaday was ever observed in civilian attire.

Chet Lynn was a Marine. In a sense, that says it all. He joined the Corps as a teenager in the late 1940s, made the long walk out from the Chosen Reservoir in 1950, took a commission when still young enough to look like a child, and rose to lieutenant colonel before retiring.

Chet's gone now, but he's left a legacy of wonderful tales about his life in the Corps and some of his erstwhile comrades.

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