Collard, Raymond, CWO4

Personnel, Administration and Retention
 
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 Service Details
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Current Service Status
USMC Retired
Current/Last Rank
Chief Warrant Officer 4
Current/Last Primary MOS
0170-Personnel Officer
Current/Last MOSGroup
Personnel, Administration and Retention
Previously Held MOS
2500-Basic Operational Communicator
2531-Field Radio Operator
0131-Unit Diary Clerk
0169-Admin Chief
0180-Adjutant
Primary Unit
1999-2002, 0170, MAG-13
Service Years
1967 - 2002
Foreign Language
French
Voice Edition

Chief Warrant Officer 4

 
 


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Rifle ExpertPistol Sharpshooter

 

 Official Badges 

USMC Retired Pin (20 Years)


 Unofficial Badges 

Vietnam Veteran 50th Commemoration Tet Offensive Commemorative Medal


 Military Association Memberships
Post 272
  2014, American Legion, Post 272 (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) [Verified]


 Additional Information
What are you doing now:
Working at establishing an Alpaca farm.
   
Other Comments:
Not Specified
   
 Countries Deployed To or Visited

My Map

Svalbard Spain United States of America Antarctica South Georgia Falkland Islands Bolivia Peru Ecuador Colombia Venezuela Guyana Suriname French Guiana Brazil Paraguay Uruguay Argentina Chile Greenland Canada United States of America United States of America Israel Jordan Cyprus Qatar United Arab Emirates Oman Yemen Saudia Arabia Iraq Afghanistan Turkmenistan Iran Syria Singapore China Mongolia Papua New Guinea Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Malaysia Tiawan Philippines Vietnam Cambodia Laos Thailand Burma Bangladesh Sri Lanka India Bhutan Nepal Pakistan Afghanistan Turkmenistan Tajikistan Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan Japan North Korea South Korea Russia Kazakhstan Russia Montenegro Portugal Azerbaijan Armenia Georgia Ukraine Moldova Belarus Romania Bulgaria Macedonia Serbia Bosonia & Herzegovina Turkey Greece Albania Croatia Hungary Slovakia Slovenia Malta Spain Portugal Spain France Italy Italy Austria Switzerland Belgium France Ireland United Kingdom Norway Sweden Finland Estonia Latvia Lithuania Russia Poland Czech Republic Germany Denmark The Netherlands Iceland El Salvador Guatemala Panama Costa Rica Nicaragua Honduras Belize Mexico Trinidad & Tobago Puerto Rico Dominican Republic Haiti Jamaica The Bahamas Cuba Vanuatu Australia Solomon Islands Fiji New Caledonia New Zealand Eritrea Ethiopia Djibouti Somalia Kenya Uganda Tanzania Rwanda Burundi Madagascar Namibia Botswana South Africa Lesotho Swaziland Zimbabwe Mozambique Malawi Zambia Angola Democratic Repbulic of Congo Republic of Congo Gabon Equatorial Guinea Central African Republic Cameroon Nigeria Togo Ghana Burkina Fassu Cote d'Ivoire Liberia Sierra Leone Guinea Guinea Bissau The Gambia Senegal Mali Mauritania Niger Western Sahara Sudan Chad Egypt Libya Tunisia Morocco Algeria
Map Legend:
 Vacation 
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CanadaEthiopiaFranceGermanyJapanKenyaKorea, SouthMexicoRussiaSomaliaUnited StatesVietnam


 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1967, Boot Camp (Parris Island, SC), 3034
  1988, Warrant Officer Basic Course (Quantico, VA), I/1
 Unit Assignments
MCRD (Cadre) Parris Island, SC1st Infantry Training Regiment/Infantry Training Regiment (Camp Geiger)USMC (United States Marine Corps)2nd Bn, 12th Marine Regiment (2/12)
4th Marine Regiment/3rd Bn, 4th Marine Regiment (3/4)2nd Bn, 10th Marine Regiment (2/10)USMC (United States Marine Corps)/Other Service BranchesArmy National Guard
H&HS-28I&I Staff Allentown, PAMarine Amphibious Units/Brigades (MAU/MAB)Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC)/Training & Education Command TECOM
MAG-24/MALS-24VMA-214HMM-265 REIN (ACE)MCAGCC 29 Palms, CA
Marine Corps Communications-Electronics School (Cadre)MAG-13
  1967-1967, MCRD (Cadre) Parris Island, SC/3rd Bn
  1967-1967, 1st Infantry Training Regiment/Infantry Training Regiment (Camp Geiger)
  1968-1968, 2500, Field Radio Operator/FROC Cam Pen
  1968-1968, 0170, 2nd Bn, 12th Marine Regiment (2/12)
  1968-1969, 2531, 3rd Bn, 4th Marine Regiment (3/4)/I Co
  1969-1970, 2531, 2nd Bn, 10th Marine Regiment (2/10)
  1971-1977, 2531, Broken Time
  1977-1979, Army National Guard
  1980-1982, 2531, Broken Time
  1982-1983, 0131, H&HS-28
  1983-1986, 0131, I&I Staff Allentown, PA
  1987-1988, 0169, 1st MAB
  1988-1988, 0170, Warrant Officers Basic Course/WOBC 1988
  1989-1989, Personnel Officer Course
  1989-1991, MAG-24/MALS-24
  1991-1995, 0170, VMA-214
  1996-1996, 0170, HMM-265 REIN (ACE)
  1997-1997, 0180, MCAGCC 29 Palms, CA
  1997-1999, 0170, Marine Corps Communications-Electronics School (Cadre)
  1999-2002, 0170, MAG-13
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase V Campaign (1968)/Operation Nanking Scotland II
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Tet 69 Counteroffensive Campaign (1969)/Operation Herkimer Mountain
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Summer-Fall 1969 Campaign/Operation Arlington Canyon
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Summer-Fall 1969 Campaign/Operation Georgia Tar
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Tet 69 Counteroffensive Campaign (1969)/Operation Purple Martin
  1992-1993 Operation Restore Hope (Somalia)1
 Military Association Memberships
Post 272
  2014, American Legion, Post 272 (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) [Verified]

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Reflections on CWO4 Collard's US Marine Corps Service
 
 Reflections On My Service
 
PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE MARINE CORPS?
Rather than making a decision to join the Marine Corps, I suppose you could say my decision was to leave home and the environment I grew up in. Actually, I was so uninformed and naive I had no idea what the Marine Corps was. I knew we had an
CWO4 Raymond Collard - Please describe who or what influenced your decision to join the Marine Corps?
Boot camp photo 1967
army and a navy, but I had no clue we had a Marine Corps. I was 17 and a recent high school dropout. Quitting school is way up there on the top ten list of mistakes I've made in my life. However, joining the Corps is definitely number one on the list of best things I've ever done in my life. My first enlistment included 2 yrs, 5 mos. and 21 days of active duty with one tour in Vietnam as a 2531 with "I" 3/4. I was released early from my three-year enlistment due to a reduction in force.

That was my first enlistment, my second enlistment was quite different. Fast forward to the summer of 1982. Having realized the error I made by dropping out of high school, I managed to complete my GED, and with the help of the Vietnam era GI Bill I completed an AA degree from a community college and a BBA degree from The Pennsylvania State University in 1980.

One day while having some work done on my car in Harrisburg PA I had some time to kill while the repairs were being made. I noticed a Marine Corps recruiting sub-station across the street and decided to head over and chew the fat. The recruiters were friendly guys and we reminisced a bit about the "old Corps". Somehow, the conversation led to me asking what the chances would be of my reenlisting in the Corps. The recruiters laughed so hard and loud, I thought they were going to pass out. Then it hit me, they weren't laughing with me, they were laughing at me! It really pissed me off a bit, so when they finally stopped laughing and had a chance to catch their breath I said, "I would like to reenlist". The recruiter said, "You can't be serious!" I said "Yep, sign me up", then he said "you don't have a snowball's chance in hell of reenlisting in the Corps" or words to that effect. He indicated the best deal the Marine Corps would give me is the rank of PFC, a two-year enlistment at most and assignment to the most critical MOS at that time, which happened to be 0311. Well, as it turned out, my reenlistment did nothing for the recruiter's quota and he made that obvious by his lack of enthusiasm in getting my package started. He pretty much guided me in what had to be done.

I wrote a "narrative" on why I wanted to reenlist, took some photos in gym clothes, retested the ASVAB and finally sent the package off to HQMC. In my package, I requested my old rank of CPL, a new MOS of 01 (since my degree was in business administration), a three-year enlistment and my first choice of duty station was Cherry Point, NC. I pretty much forgot about the package after about a week. Then I got a call from the recruiter about a month after the package was sent to HQ. He said, "We gotta talk" and I said, "that bad, huh". Then a pause on the phone and he said: "they are giving you everything you asked for, plus your original date of rank to Cpl. and time in grade accumulated while in the IRR". So I had to make a decision. I decided I could hang from my thumbs for three years, I may as well give it a shot. So I reenlisted on 27 Aug 1982, spent 30 days in the DEP and reported to Cherry Point on 28 Sept 1982 as a 32-year-old Cpl. I got promoted to Sgt on 1 Oct 1982 due to my 4 plus years of time in grade accumulated while in the IRR. The rest as they say "is history". To this day I think I may hold the record for the single longest period of broken service between enlistments. I was released from active duty on 20 Feb 1970 and reenlisted on 27 Aug 1982.
WHETHER YOU WERE IN THE SERVICE FOR SEVERAL YEARS OR AS A CAREER, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DIRECTION OR PATH YOU TOOK. WHAT WAS YOUR REASON FOR LEAVING?
My career path was not the road most traveled by Marines. After spending 2 yrs. 5 mos. and 21 days on active duty from 1967 to 1970, I was released from active duty due to a RIF. At the time, I was stationed at Camp Lejeune with Mortar Battery 2/10.
CWO4 Raymond Collard - Whether you were in the service for several years or as a career, please describe the direction or path you took. What was your reason for leaving?
Final purchase at PX as an active duty Marine
It was February 1970 and not the most pleasant of times in the Corps. Racial tensions were running high and generally speaking, morale was in the shitter.

While hospitalized with pneumonia I received word from my admin section that I had been selected to participate in the RIF "providing I could be released from the hospital". I had been in the hospital for about 30 days when the word about the RIF came down and the sawbones figured my lungs had cleared enough to release me from the hospital. I checked back into my unit just in time to start processing out. I really didn't have much time to think about reenlisting, but had I the time to ponder reenlisting, I probably would have elected to get out anyway. I was released on a Friday, got back to Rhode Island the same day and began working in a mill the following Monday.

My military career picked up again in August of 1982 when I reenlisted as a prior service enlistee. Having earned my Bachelor degree during my period of broken service, I reenlisted with the intent of earning a commission through the ECP (enlisted commissioning program), however, due to my age, the ECP was not an option. My plan "B" was to apply for the Warrant Officer Program. I applied as soon as I was eligible and was not selected the first or second time I applied. My third application proved to be the charm. I was selected to the Warrant Officer Program in 1987. After attending Warrant Officer Basic School (as a 38-year-old) I went on to attend the Personnel Officers course. My assignments as an 0170 included MALS-24, VMA-214, VMA-311, Marine Corps, Air/Ground Combat Center 29 Palms, MCCES, and MAG-13. I retired in February of 2002, having attained the rank of CWO-4.

I really wanted to stay longer but was diagnosed in 1997 with a degenerative bone disorder (arthritis) in the knees and the PFT's kept getting more and more difficult. I was 51 years old when I retired and the doctors were amazed my knees held up as long as they did. I miss the Corps more than I thought I would. I suppose I miss the camaraderie the most. About 85% to 90% of my dreams have some type of military theme to them. If only my sub-conscience could run the PFT.
IF YOU PARTICIPATED IN ANY MILITARY OPERATIONS, INCLUDING COMBAT, HUMANITARIAN AND PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH WERE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TO YOU AND, IF LIFE-CHANGING, IN WHAT WAY.
During my time in Vietnam with "I" 3/4 we were focused on establishing Fire Support Bases throughout the northernmost "I" Corps. Our primary function included moving to selected hilltops and establishing LZ's so helicopters could land and deliver the 105 howitzers. Most of the time, we marched onto our objective
CWO4 Raymond Collard - If you participated in any military operations, including combat, humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, please describe those which were the most significant to you and, if life-changing, in what way.
Capt Currie and Cpl Collard 1969
with no resistance, but there were those occasions where our objective was already occupied by NVA. As the law of physics will prove, it's impossible for two objects to occupy the same space. As the commanding officer's (Capt. Currie) radio operator, my job was to maintain communications up the chain of command to battalion and down the chain of command to the platoons. In my capacity as the CO's radio operator, I did not participate in combat patrols, manning the perimeter or listening post duty. It was a pretty cushy job until it was time to pack up and hump out.

In addition to my regular load I had to carry the radio (PRC-25 at first, then the crypto version later) plus spare batteries and antennas. Oh, and if we had a mortar section with us I had to carry a mortar round as well. We moved as a company size force rather frequently from objective to objective and on occasion, we would encounter NVA. Those occasions were rare and when they did occur it was usually over in a flash. When the shit hit the proverbial fan my radios would "light up" with battalion wanting to know the "sitrep" and platoon commanders wanting to know what the "six" needed.

One particular encounter sticks out in my mind as one of those "oh sh*t" moments. We had occupied one particular hill for a day or two and the skipper directed the 1st platoon to set up a platoon size overnight ambush on a likely avenue of approach. The platoon size ambush had been out all night with no enemy contact. The 1st platoon radio operator radioed in at first light to report they were picking up and heading back. Shortly after the radio transmission, we heard a ferocious volley of small arms fire coming from the direction of the platoon's ambush site. It was immediately obvious to all of us the small arms included M-16 as well as AK-47 fire. The skipper told me to call the platoon immediately and get a "sitrep". My calls to the 1st platoon went unanswered.

At that point, without any hesitation, the skipper grabbed the radio tuned to the company frequency and directed the 2nd platoon to "saddle up and get down there". I looked up at the skipper who was in the process of donning his web gear when he said: "saddle up Frenchie, we're going with 'em". I must admit, the first thought to cross my mind was 'why would we be going down there'? That thought quickly passed as I grabbed my gear, radio, weapon and saddled up. Without hesitation and not knowing what was waiting for us at the bottom of the hill, we headed toward the firefight that was still raging. By the time we reached the ambushed platoon the heaviest fighting had subsided. It was at that moment I realized the true definition of leadership. Without hesitation, I completely trusted my commanding officer's decision and followed him without any hesitation or reservation into the throes of a firefight. From that point forward I found myself measuring leaders with one simple question, "Would I follow this leader into the jaws of hell without hesitation?" I must admit, over my career I've been able to answer that question more times with a resounding "yes" than with "no". As a Marine officer, I often asked myself if the Marines in my charge would be willing to follow me.
OF ALL YOUR DUTY STATIONS OR ASSIGNMENTS, WHICH ONE DO YOU HAVE FONDEST MEMORIES OF AND WHY? WHICH ONE WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
As the saying goes, "There are only two good duty stations in the Marine Corps". The first one being the duty station you have orders to and the second one being the duty station you just came from. I have to say my fondest memories are from the time I
CWO4 Raymond Collard - Of all your duty stations or assignments, which one do you have fondest memories of and why? Which one was your least favorite?
Departure plaque upon leaving VMA214
spent at MCAS, Yuma, AZ. Most likely because it is the place I spent the most time. The circumstance under which I was assigned to Yuma was somewhat memorable. My family and I had been stationed at Kaneohe Bay, HI for quite some time. I suppose you could say I was "hiding out" on the island. One day I received a call from the monitor section at HQMC. My monitor said he noticed I had been stationed there for quite some time, he asked me when I got there and I replied saying it seemed like I just got there when in fact I had been there for over five years. Truth be told, I was more than happy being stationed in paradise, but the wife and kids were starting to feel the effects of "island fever" and were looking for a change of venue.

I asked the monitor what options were open to me and he indicated he had a billet at Camp LeJeune, NC and one at MCAS, Yuma AZ. MCAS Yuma was an unknown to me. I had never been stationed there and never knew anyone who had. I had been at Camp Lejeune before and had no particular inclination to go back. So, I told the monitor I would take the orders to Yuma. We arrived in Yuma mid-August 1991! After driving in from the west in our air-conditioned car, we arrived in Yuma mid-afternoon. I opened the car door and was blasted with a rush of hot air, the high temp that day was 114 Fahrenheit. I quickly shut the car door, turned to my wife and said: "I think I made a mistake, we should have taken the Lejeune orders". As the locals in Yuma will tell you, "it's a dry heat". So is a blow torch and I wouldn't want a blow torch pointed at my face. Honestly though, we quickly assimilated to the climate and became very fond of Yuma. I checked in to VMA-214 in August of 1991 and we deployed to Japan in October of 1991. The temperature the day we left for our deployment was over 100 degrees, we returned some 7 months later in May of 1992 and the temperature was over 100 degrees. One of the first things I asked my wife upon returning was doesn't this place ever cool down"? She said I missed a wonderful winter in Yuma, temps in the 70s and 80s, sunshine and cool evenings. I spent four years with VMA-214 and held the dubious title of "Greysheep" given to the oldest officer in the squadron.

I really can't think of a least favorite assignment. If I had to name one, it would probably be my assignment as a liaison officer to a french Commando Unit in Somalia. Not so much because of my duties but more so because of how I ended up being assigned. I was working as Personnel Officer in VMA-214 when a tasker from 3d MAW came down the chain of command. 3d MAW was looking for an O-4 or above who was fluent in french for assignment as Liaison Officer with a french unit of the coalition forces. After scrubbing the roles, the closest qualified person they could come up with was me! A CWO with a French-Canadian heritage. So off I went. After arrival in Somalia and eventual assignment as liaison officer to the French Commando Jaubert unit, it became apparent to me the commandos spoke better English than I did. I hung out with the commandos for a month or so and did very little liaising. The local populace would spend most of the day chewing on khat. Khat contains an amphetamine-like stimulant, which causes excitement, loss of appetite and euphoria. At approximately 16:00 to 17:00 daily, the khat would kick in and so would the excitement and euphoria for the Somalis, that's when they would fire their weapons at anything and everything. I had not been on the receiving end of small arms fire since 1969. I can honestly say the feeling has not changed a bit.
FROM YOUR ENTIRE SERVICE, INCLUDING COMBAT, DESCRIBE THE PERSONAL MEMORIES WHICH HAVE IMPACTED YOU MOST?
There have been so many personal memories it's hard to decide which one has impacted me most. I do have one memory of an incident that occurred near the end of my tour in Viet Nam. I had many friends from the 25XX community who were ordered to Nam the
CWO4 Raymond Collard - From your entire service, including combat, describe the personal memories which have impacted you most?
Its good to get an Appointment
same time I was. At the time, the Corps rounded up some 250 Field Radio Operators from various units aboard Camp Pendleton and sent us all to Nam without going through staging battalion. It was a Friday afternoon and I was ready for some liberty in Oceanside. I presented myself to the duty NCO to get my liberty card and was told: "all liberty is canceled and we were to stand by and wait for word from battalion". At 16:30 that afternoon we were given some 12 hours notice of our impending orders and told to pack our sh*t we were going to Nam. One of my friends was LCpl XXXX (we nicknamed him "Gunny" because of his thinning hair at a young age). Anyway, "Gunny" and I were assigned to different units upon arrival to Nam.

I lost track of him until we met up about a month before our rotation date back to the "world". We shot the shit and I eventually asked if he had his orders yet and what duty station was he going to after leaving Nam. He smiled and said he had voluntarily extended his tour by six months. I asked why in the hell would he do that? He said he wanted to stay in country because of the marijuana and its availability. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Here was a Marine who was willing to extend six months in hell because of the availability of the weed. To this day if anyone tells me marijuana is not addictive I tell them the story of "Gunny" XXX. If anyone would be willing to spend six more months "in country" because of the weed is in fact addicted in my opinion.
WHAT ACHIEVEMENT(S) ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF FROM YOUR MILITARY CAREER? IF YOU RECEIVED ANY MEDALS, AWARDS, FORMAL PRESENTATIONS OR QUALIFICATION BADGES FOR SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT OR VALOR, PLEASE DESCRIBE HOW THESE WERE EARNED.
Being selected to Warrant Officer is probably the achievement I'm most proud of. Probably because it took me three attempts before being selected. I attended the WOBC (Warrant Officers Basic Course) in September 1988. I had recently turned 38 years old, the age at which most careerists would be on
CWO4 Raymond Collard - What achievement(s) are you most proud of from your military career? If you received any medals, awards, formal presentations or qualification badges for significant achievement or valor, please describe how these were earned.
Hang in there Marines !!
their twilight tour. The Warrant Officer class for 1988, having been selected in October of 1987 had our appointments delayed for 7 months, consequently, we reported to Camp Barrett for the WOBC in the fall. Having been through MCRD Paris Island 21 years earlier, I felt I was prepared for the upcoming rigors of training, both mentally and physically. As anyone who attended WOBC knows, the whole evolution becomes a competition of sorts with all in attendance vying to be the best. Best PFT, best academically, best military skills, etc. etc.

For me, I could care less about being best, I just wanted to complete the course. I can remember various instructors approaching me at various stages of the training syllabus and asking me "how I was doing". At the time I wondered why all the questions, then it became apparent to me they didn't want me getting hurt or worst, dying on their watch as that would have meant a JAG investigation and tons of paperwork. Anyway, I struggled at times but completed the course and graduated with my class in December of 88.
OF ALL THE MEDALS, AWARDS, FORMAL PRESENTATIONS AND QUALIFICATION BADGES YOU RECEIVED, OR ANY OTHER MEMORABILIA, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH ARE THE MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU AND WHY?
Upon graduating the WOBC, our graduation ceremony was held at the auditorium of the FBI academy. Dressed in our Blues, we marched into the auditorium and were seated in platoon order. Once seated, one of our Staff Platoon Commanders (SPC's) was yelling out names of certain WO graduates and instructed
CWO4 Raymond Collard - Of all the medals, awards, formal presentations and qualification badges you received, or any other memorabilia, please describe those which are the most meaningful to you and why?
In Good Company
them to move up to the front row. We were all aware of who our "Iron Mike" award recipient was and it was no surprise when his name was called, same for the female recipient of the "Steel Sally" award. Then out of the blue, he called out my name! I didn't move because I was sure I misunderstood what he said, he couldn't be calling my name! Then he bellowed it again, and my platoon mates told me to get my butt down there. As it turned out, I had been selected as the recipient of the "Gung Ho" award given to the WO who demonstrated the most perseverance, determination and esprit de corps throughout the WOBC training syllabus.

I later found out the recipient of the Gung Ho award is determined by votes cast by the SPC's. I've heard the Gung Ho award recipients have their names engraved on a perpetual plaque which hangs at the Officer's club at Camp Barrett otherwise known as the "Hawk". I'll have to get down there someday, have a beer and check it out, just to make sure I wasn't dreaming.
WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?
Hands down, without a doubt that would be Col. Currie. At the time we served together he was a Captain, commanding officer of "I" Company, 3/4. As Capt. Currie's radio operator, we spent the better part of 13 mos. together as we both checked into the company about the
CWO4 Raymond Collard - Which individual(s) from your time in the military stand out as having the most positive impact on you and why?
Col. Currie and CWO Collard
same time. When I checked into Hq. Co. 3/4 in Aug. of 1968, I was immediately assigned as the Battalion Radio Operator with "I" Company. Normal tours for radio operators back then were 6 months or so with a line company and 6 months or so back in the rear with battalion. After about six months with "I" Company, I approached Capt. Currie and asked when he would be requesting my replacement as my six months was just about up. Capt. Currie's response to me was "You know what Frenchie? You and I get along together so well I think I'll keep you out here the whole 13 months". I acted like I was pissed, but in reality, I didn't mind being in the bush at all. Especially with Capt Currie as my commanding officer. Besides, our battalion rear was located at Vandergrift Combat Base (LZ Stud) which was the recipient of enemy rockets on pretty much a daily basis. Our mission, while back at Vandergrift, was to man a section of the perimeter. Boring, boring.

Capt Currie, in my humble opinion, was the quintessential small unit leader. His leadership style was calm, predictable and fair. Capt Currie had a way of making everyone feel important. His confidence in his abilities was infectious. We parted ways in 1969. In 1984 I was stationed on I&I duty in Allentown, Pa and located Col Currie who was working at HQMC. I gave Col. Currie a call at his office and the phone was answered by a MSgt. I introduced myself and asked the MSgt. if I could speak with Col. Currie. After a short pause, Col. Currie answered the phone. I mentioned we had served together in Vietnam and asked if he remembered me. His response, "Goddamit Frenchie, sounds like you're talking out of a fighting hole, how the hell are you?" We spoke for some time, catching up on what we've been up to then Col. Currie mentioned I should take a quick TAD trip to DC and stop in to see him. I did have the opportunity to travel to HQMC, but Col. Currie wasn't in that day so we never had a face to face.

The next time I got to see Col. Currie was in 1999, after his retirement when we coordinated a get together in Texas. It was a great visit and what impressed me most was the recall Col. Currie had of our time in Viet Nam. He remembered various engagements we had with the NVA with great detail. I have tried to pattern my leadership style after that of Col. Currie.
PLEASE RECOUNT THE NAMES OF FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH, AT WHICH LOCATION, AND WHAT YOU REMEMBER MOST ABOUT THEM. INDICATE THOSE YOU ARE ALREADY IN TOUCH WITH AND THOSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO MAKE CONTACT WITH.
One friend I served with in 1967/68 was a Marine named Ernesto Flores. We were stationed at Camp Las Pulgas in the 13th Marines. We had open squad bays back then and he occupied the top rack while I was in the lower. I can remember numerous occasions when after
CWO4 Raymond Collard - Please recount the names of friends you served with, at which location, and what you remember most about them. Indicate those you are already in touch with and those you would like to make contact with.
Last Hoorah !!
lights out (22:00) Ernie would hang his head over the edge of his bunk and in his heavy Hispanic accent he would whisper, "Hey COOLAD, can I borrow you radio man? I wanna listen to da Wolfman"

We lost contact when I was ordered to Vietnam. I do remember he was from Texas, Corpus Christi I believe. He had a fiance back home and he spoke of her all the time. Her name was Thelma. It would sure be nice to speak with him again.

One other Marine I served with in Vietnam was a guy named Toomey, not sure of his first name, may have been John. He was from Dorchester MA. He worked the battalion side of the radio. After returning from Vietnam I was stationed at Camp Lejeune in Mortar battery, 2/10. Some of my friends from that time were Cpl Robert King from Windsor Locks, CT, Cpl. Brotsos, not sure where he was from, and Cpl. Cadigan, also not sure where he was from. We would meet at the "swoop circle" at Camp Lejeune. For those not familiar with the swoop circle it was a location aboard the base (a big traffic rotary) where Marines would meet up to try and catch rides to swoop home on 48hr and 72hr. liberty periods.
CAN YOU RECOUNT A PARTICULAR INCIDENT FROM YOUR SERVICE WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN FUNNY AT THE TIME, BUT STILL MAKES YOU LAUGH?
There was one incident with potentially deadly consequences that I look back on with some tongue in cheek laughter. It involves artillery and prep fires. One one particular campaign, our company was tasked with being the blocking force for a massive sweep for enemy conducted by a company on line.
CWO4 Raymond Collard - Can you recount a particular incident from your service which may or may not have been funny at the time, but still makes you laugh?
triple canopy jungle
We, "India" company, were to be the blocking force with "Mike" and "Kilo" companies on our flanks and "Lima" company sweeping. I may have my companies mixed up as far as flank and sweeping assignments but heck, that was 46 years ago. Our company, India, was accustomed to humping through triple canopy jungle moving from one hilltop to another establishing quick perimeters then being replaced by a permanent occupying force. On a good day, we would move probably 3 or 4 clicks (thousand meters) due to the thick jungle and steep terrain. When we were tasked with being a blocking force for the sweep, we were helo lifted from our normal area of operations of steep jungle terrain to a more coastal region of Viet Nam that consisted of open terrain of rolling hills. From our point of insertion by helicopter, we were given two days to get into our final position. The skipper decided we would move to a small ridge of rolling hills approximately halfway to our final objective on the first day, and move to our final objective the following day.

So we humped all day and arrived at our intermediate objective. Upon arrival, the skipper ordered some preparatory (prep) artillery fire on our final objective for the following morning prior to our moving onto the objective. We had an uneventful evening and woke the following day to prepare for our hump to the final objective. Our prep fires were scheduled for 08:00. We were all saddling up for our final move when we heard the tubes pop from our prep fire order at 08:00 sharp. Our prep fire order consisted of three salvos of three rounds each spread over our final objective. Our position was between the battery firing the prep fires and our final objective being the target of the prep fires. Within seconds of hearing the tubes pop, we had three 105mm howitzer rounds impact on our position. I immediately grabbed the radio tuned to the artillery frequency and shouted "Check fire, check fire, check fire" just a quickly as I transmitted the message, we received the reply, "Roger, check fire". The skipper instructed me to tell battalion we had three short rounds land on our position, fortunately, and miraculously, no one was injured. After a pause of two or three minutes, we received a transmission from the artillery battery, "negative on the short rounds". The skipper and I looked at each other and grabbed our maps and compasses.

After shooting a couple azimuths and plotting some resections on our maps we looked at each other with puzzlement surprise realizing we were not where we thought we were. We have actually arrived at our final objective a day early. After some reflection on what had just happened, we postulated our error was due to our assumption we had only 3 to 4 clicks as we did in the mountainous terrain, when in fact we had humped of 8 to 10 clicks in the rolling hills. The bad news that day is we had just called artillery in on our own position, the good news was no one was injured and we didn't have to hump anywhere that day.

Now that I think about it some more, that whole battalion-sized operation was not good from the start. At one point of the operation, battalion S-3 decided to have artillery fire illumination rounds over the area formed by the horseshoe. We were all ordered to be vigilant during the illumination for any enemy activity. The battery fired 105mm illumination rounds and the sky lit up to almost daylight conditions. We were all on alert and watched as the illumination rounds burnt overhead. The illumination rounds burnt and the light became more intense. We all wondered when the rounds would extinguish as they drifted closer and lower toward our position. Brighter and brighter they just kept burning. By the time we realized they were getting dangerously close it became apparent to everyone they weren't extinguishing. By the time they began to land on our position they were still burning! A couple of the illum rounds landed on fighting positions resulting in deuce gear, packs and hooches being burned.

Evidently, there's a ton of planning that goes into firing an illumination round mission. Weather, especially wind speed and direction are big factors. Wind speed, direction, and altitude pretty much dictate where and how long the round will burn. Either the weather changed really quick or the forecaster was a tad off. We were all glad to get back to the mountains and triple canopy jungle.
WHAT PROFESSION DID YOU FOLLOW AFTER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW? IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY SERVING, WHAT IS YOUR PRESENT OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY?
I was 51 years old when I retired from the Corps. Not the ideal age to start a new career. I had been hoping to stay in long enough to qualify as the oldest Marine aboard the air station and participate in the Marine Corps Birthday cake ceremony. On 10 November 1968, I was the youngest Marine in 3d Battalion 4th Marines while serving as a radio operator with India company in Nam. India, 3/4 was out in the bush and we received a radio message that I was to catch the next chopper back to Vandergrift Combat Base and report to S-3. I packed my stuff and reported to battalion ASAP. When I reported, I was told I was the youngest Marine and had to participate in the birthday cake ceremony. The only thing I remember is receiving a piece of cake from, what I thought, was the oldest MGySgt I had ever seen. I was sent back to India Company immediately after the ceremony. I was hoping to go full circle and eat some cake as the oldest Marine, but that didn't happen as one other Marine aboard the Air Station was four months older than me.

Upon my retirement in 2002, my wife and I purchased a motor home and hit the open road. We traveled across the country for about 4 years. One summer we volunteered with Habitat for Humanity traveling to various chapters of the organization building homes. It was one of the most rewarding experiences for both of us. As we traveled, we found ourselves always going back to Yuma, AZ for the winter months. After 4 years of being vagabonds, we purchased a home in Yuma and sort of settled down. I found myself volunteering at a historic state park. The volunteering morphed into a part-time job, then morphed again to a full-time position. I really enjoyed being a Park Ranger and interacting with visitors to the park. One day while reading the paper I noticed a want ad for an accounting position aboard Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma and having my formal education in accounting I thought I may as well apply and see what happens. I put a resume together and applied for the accounting position. I had absolutely zero work experience in accounting, just the degree. Much to my surprise, the Marine Corps hired me again, at my age, with no experience. I worked for the Marine Corps again as a civilian for another 5 years and finally retired again in 2012.

So here I am, 65 years old but in pretty good health. My wife and I have decided to start a life in farming. We currently have an alpaca farm in central PA. We started with 6 animals and currently have 14. Our goal is to expand the herd to about 40 or 50 so as to have a viable breeding program. I wish I had a nickel for every time I was asked what possessed me to start farming at my age. My standard reply is "I plan on living forever, so far so good"
WHAT MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIPS?
I am presently a member of the American Legion, for the Brotherhood.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS SERVING IN THE MILITARY INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU HAVE APPROACHED YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CAREER? WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT YOUR TIME IN THE SERVICE?
Serving in the military has instilled confidence, responsibility, and integrity in my life. In my humble opinion, one of the most important traits in character is self-responsibility. Being held responsible for one's actions is what is missing most in society today. We are always quick to point the finger of
CWO4 Raymond Collard - In what ways has serving in the military influenced the way you have approached your life and your career? What do you miss most about your time in the service?
Finally, out standing in my field.!
blame to others, or society. That crap doesn't happen in the Marine Corps. As the old saying goes, "You can delegate authority, but you can never delegate responsibility. I tend to approach every challenge in my life armed with confidence instilled in me during my years in the Corps. Please don't confuse confidence with bravado. Even I admit at times certain challenges are unattainable. I realize at the end of every day that whatever occurred, good bad or otherwise was due to my actions and my actions only. The choices I make are my decisions and I take full responsibility for the outcome. Integrity is probably a man's most valuable possession. A wealthy person without integrity is penniless. His word is worthless therefore he is worthless. Simple as that.
BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE MARINE CORPS?
To those who have recently joined the Marine Corps, I would say thank you for making one of the most important decisions of your life. Whether you serve for one enlistment or make a career out of it, the impact serving will have on you will last your entire life.
CWO4 Raymond Collard - Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give to those who have recently joined the Marine Corps?
Agent Orange? What agent Orange?
Probably the most important thing to remember is to trust those who have been charged with you and your welfare. Everything they do, every training evolution you endure, and yes every correction in attitude or behavior you are provided are designed to ensure you succeed. It took me a long time to discover the benefits of each and every discomfort I experienced. One particular incident came to mind. We were in the mountains of South East Asia and our company was on the move fully loaded down. We were traversing some really rugged terrain and I was directly behind the Commanding Officer. It was hot, humid and just plain nasty. At one point, I voiced my negative opinion to the CO and spurted out some expletives and told him the folks back in the rear must be out of their minds to put human beings through this kind of torture. He stopped, looked back at me and said, "that's what I like about you Frenchie, you have character" then we continued our hump. Hang in there, do what you're told and everything has a way of working out.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.
CWO4 Raymond Collard - In what ways has TogetherWeServed.com helped you remember your military service and the friends you served with.
TWS and the US MARINES
I was told about TWS by a friend and I must admit I was a bit skeptical at first. I figured it was just another social media site. But I was wrong. What I like most about TWS is the way it is administered. I feel safe, secure and at home on the site. It's like coming home to the squad bay after a long night on liberty.

I have a good memory, but it's short! By visiting TWS my memory gets those little nudges it needs to go way back and pull out a name that's been missing for some time. TWS provides many avenues to remember, units, dates, ranks, etc. I'm not even sure if I'm a paying member or not, but it doesn't matter.

DS 9/16/2019

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