A few of my rocks...

When the Lord, Jesus Christ, established his church, he said to one Simon Peter, a fisherman, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I shall build my Church" Through out all of history armies have been built upon their strong rock foundations called sergeants.

We young officers would never make general without sergeants to nurture us and keep us from the follies of our ignorance and inexperience. In recent times Clint Eastwood did a movie called Heartbreak Ridge. There was a story within the story of Gunny Tom Highway bringing, kicking, dragging, nagging and guiding young Lt. Ring towards being worthy of the greatest privelege of all, being an officer of Marines. So all you young/old Lt. Rings let us lift our glasses to the Gunny Highways of the world and say thanks.

I must remember Gunny Dosier (B Co, 1st Recon). I was sure he hated me, and I think he did at first. But he perservered and actually found the raw materials within me and helped me bring them out without getting, myself or anyone killed. My Platoon Sergeant, SSgt Ernesto Romo, 15 years in the Corps, nine as a DI, three stateside and three in combat. He was quiet and thoughtful and the men simply did what he told them to do, I only wished I had stayed in country long enough to put to use all of what he taught me.

Sgt. Dave Lopez, 'the magnet', as in bullet magnet.He could have his team scheduled into a patrol zone that had not had a sighting in months and he would get shot out of the LZ. Tall and lean with a sense of humor he was a pro. He had to be since he had such a knack for finding bad guys!

Sgt. Ernie Wallace, a second cousin to the governor of Alabama. He won the Navy Cross as a machine gunner on his first tour. A big man, light on his feet, if he could not convince to go someplace he could pick you up and take you there!

Sgt Charlie Tannehill, R.I.P. a freckle faced kid from the hills of North Carolina. I remember him always smiling and happy. Loved snakes. He once brought an eleven foot long Rock Python back from Elephant Valley in his pack. We built a cage and named him "Charlie T" our company mascot. That snake was the only animal that ever held its own against the D Company mongoose! Charlie was killed a month or so after I got hit. I will miss him!

Most important of all, the man whose character and bearing convinced me to elect my commission in the Marine Corps, First Sergeant (then Gunny) John Castor, the Asst Marine Officer Instructor at the University of Pennsylvania. Its all his fault!

written by Brian B. Riley, Lt USMC(ret), Bravo Deuce, 1st Recon Bn.