Units I Served with:
MAG-32, 2nd MAW, H&MS-32
VMA-513, MCAS Beaufort, SC VMA-542
USMC Good Conduct, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service
USMC National Defense,USAF Longevity,CA Air National Guard Drill Attendance
LIMA Co., 3rd BN., Platoon 3102
June 1971 AE "A" School NAS JAX, FL
June 1972 MCAS, Beaufort, SC
May 1972 H&MS-32 Harrier Avionics
This is our CO, Lt. Col. Frank Cline standing in front of the IMA Harrier Avionics van complex at LZ Bluebird, May 1972
In early 1970 while still a senior in high school, I joined the Marines on the delayed entry program. August 2nd after I had graduated from high school I had shaved my head bald, now I am bald, and off to boot camp I went. After a short plane ride to San Diego and a bus ride to MCRD I met up with those famous YELLOW FOOTPRINTS. Right about that time, and I am sure others were thinking the same, I was thinking what the heck am I doing here.
Well the barber still found something to shave but at least the others in the platoon knew what I looked like but I had trouble recognizing the guys I had met now that they had no hair.
Boot camps was over, sure was fun, then there was ITR at Camp Pendleton, a month or so of quarantine because someone became ill and right before Xmas 1970 I made it home on leave
January 1971 and it was off to NATC, NAS Jacksonville, FLA for Aviation Electricians AEA school. I even ran into another high school classmate who had enlisted it the Coast Guard and was also attending AE A school.
In June I completed A school and was sent to Cherry Point. I spent the night there, was given orders the next morning and was off to H&MS-32, MCAS, Beaufort, SC that same afternoon.
Once I arrived at Beaufort I saw for the first time the AV-8A Harrier. As I walked through the field towards the H&MS-32 hanger I saw my first Harrier. I couldnt believe it could just hang in the air like it was doing. I had been told at Cherry Point that I would be working on the black boxes out of the Harrier but I had never heard of it before so it was a real sight. To this day its just amazing how it can stand still in the air as if gravity had no effect on it like other planes.
Once there I was shown the van complex I would work in and out of for the next 3 years. I met Gysgt Ron Singer, NCOIC of the Electric shop, my boss, Cpl Coffee also Electric Shop and all the rest in the complex ..Gysgt BC Kidd, another Gysgt whos name I cant for the life of me recall, SSgt Inman, Borman, Sides, Slack Barfield, Williamson, and a lot more Marines whos names I have long forgotten.
During the next three years when VMA 513 or VMA 542 deployed
somewhere, the Marines at H&MS-32 went
with them to support their efforts. There were
deployments to Bogue and Bluebird, several times to NAS China Lake, more times to MCAS
Yuma and who could forget the two cruises on the USS Guam.
During the next three years when VMA 513 or VMA 542 deployed somewhere, the Marines at H&MS-32 went with them to support their efforts. There were deployments to Bogue and Bluebird, several times to NAS China Lake, more times to MCAS Yuma and who could forget the two cruises on the USS Guam.
I cant tell you the number of Dog and Pony shows we were part of, watched and helped out with not to mention the number of times we had to pack up those vans, jack them up, put them on wheels , load them on C-130s and fly off somewhere, then start all over there and again when we packed up and came back to MCAS Beaufort.
The black and white photo on this page has many of the H&MS-32 Harrier Marines in it. It was taken in May 1972 at Bluebird in North Carolina. We were camped out in tents with our white van complex up and running, hence the camo netting. I was even able to take a ride in a CH-46 and take pictures of our complex under the netting.
Of all the Marines I worked with in the Electric Shop and the other shops, Com/Nav, INAS and Hud, I only have had contact with one of the Marines I worked alongside. Tom Hummel and I have stayed friends since 1974. In 1991 after returning from the first Gulf War he retired as a 1st Sgt. In December of 2003 while I was in southern CA picking up a retired USMC M998 HMMWV, I stopped by and visited with him. He has changed little over the years and is still married to his wife of our good old Beaufort days.
If any of the rest of you are out there and see this please contact me. I would love to hear from you or any of the Marines from either of the Squadrons who regularly visited the van complex.
In August 1974 my enlistment expired. Instead of moving back to California, Joel Eaton, Safety and Survival Shop, and I went to Charleston, SC and started our new careers, he in Charleston and me across the bridge in Mt. Pleasant, SC.
My four years in the Marines was a lot of fun for the most part. I have never regretted enlisting in the Marines and to this day remember the grass at MCRD San Diego with fondness. Oh, I still have my sunglasses we were issued upon graduating from boot camp, you know, Hollywood Marines.
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