WHY THIS PROJECT? This project is an outgrowth of a course requirement at the University of North Florida. That course, Computers in Education, is obviously aimed at educators. Since I am no educator I decided that I would “do” something of interest to me.

My trip to the Korean War Memorial dedication in July 1995 strongly reinforced two previously held notions: First, few people know or care anything about the late lamented “police action”; and Second, even fewer have the slightest interest in the experiences of my peers, i.e., those of us who were involved in the 1952/1953 period. To illustrate my point, if one were to pick up any authoritative dissertation on the Korean War one would find that all events of consequence occurred between June 1950 and late 1951, ending with the major “Meat Grinder” and positional operations. These tomes then duly note that there ensued a “stalemate” that lasted until the cease fire agreements of July 1953. Leatherneck Magazine’s fine series on that period of the war is a welcome and refreshing exception. Even the Marine Corps Museum at Quantico dedicates a mere 10 to 20 feet of wall space to the Marines of that period. I say this in no way to detract from the magnificent deeds of our predecessors--and those deeds are legion! I suppose that one might say that my hypothesis, if indeed I have one, is that “Yes, Virginia, there really was still a war in 1952 and 1953”. (For a revealing experience check "EVENTS" below.) Casualties sustained by Marines in that period were, after all, greater than in the first half of the war. Years ago Martin Russ, in his fine book “The Last Parallel”, did an excellent job of exposing life as it existed to the dirt eaters.

The purpose of this project, then, is to let participants of the period paint a picture of the times--from their point of view. I make no attempt to be exhaustive or definitive. I leave judgments and conclusions to those with spare time, inquisitiveness and fortitude to plod through my “work”.

WHO THEN IS MY AUDIENCE? Of course, I and my very patient family. I hope this will be of some interest to my comrades and perhaps their families, particularly those who have put up with my telephone calls (late night), e-mail, and occasional letter.

WHY DID I SELECT THIS “CAST”? Mainly because they are people that I know and I felt would have something useful to say. There are many others who could make a major contribution. What can I say? My time and talents are limited. Further, this is not about individuals but, rather, about everyone of the time. I think I have enough to represent and illustrate the period.

WHY THE SEQUENCE OF PRESENTATION? No reason, just the way it came out. Besides, with my last name I have an aversion to alphabetizing anything.

WHY EMPHASIS ON THE 9TH SPECIAL BASIC CLASS? Easy, that is the group I know. My intention is to represent all Marines of the time.

WHY THE FORM AND FORMAT? Obviously there is neither form nor format. This is intentional. Otherwise contributors might feel constrained. I wanted raw honest prose to accurately capture thoughts and feelings. Unlike my days as a command briefer I did not want to let format overwhelm substance. The amount of space allotted to various contributors in no way reflects upon the importance of what they have to offer. To me, each has great value and offers important insight. I have made no attempt to edit anything. My computer has corrected an occasional misspelling.

WHY SO MUCH FROM MY PERSONAL ‘ARCHIVES’? Again, this is easy. Those materials are most readily available.

FUTURE PROJECTS? It is my fervent hope to establish a credible 9th SBC presence on the Internet: the so-called information super highway. This would provide a means of staying in touch and, hopefully, a basis for future reunions. If you like drama, the last man could “pull the plug”.

FINALLY: I feel I've had a moment wi' kings!

James B Vanairsdale
62 Willow Drive
St Augustine, Florida 32080
(904) 471-3254
May 1996