GetPayroll would like to honor our veterans by honoring one of our own veterans, our founder, Charles Read. In our short two-part series Charles will share his military experience, his scariest moment and how it has changed him as not only a citizen but also a business owner.
We salute all veterans and especially those veterans that have taken the risk of business ownership.
My story in the military.
I joined to the United States Marine Corps on April 11, 1967. I’m coming up on the 50th anniversary of my enlistment.
I underwent basic training at United States Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) in San Diego. After advanced infantry training I was stationed at Camp Pendleton as a computer operator. In December of 1967 I was transferred to Okinawa, Japan. While stationed there I was sent to an IBM school for training as a computer programmer and later as a systems engineer.
In March of 1969 I was transferred to Red Beach, Viet Nam. I requested and received a transfer to a unit that was in active combat. Why? I wanted to be a complete Marine. I was young and naive, and wanted to be able to say 50 years later that I was a combat infantryman in Viet Nam. It was a matter of pride in myself, my Service and my Country. Being the only male child in my family, I wanted something that was mine and mine alone in the family to claim. I come from a military family. Two of my three sisters were military officers. I got what I wanted, boy did I get it.
In October of 1969 after six months in country and 22 months overseas I was reassigned to Marine Corps Automated Service Center in Kansas City, Missouri where I completed my four years of service.
My scariest moments, plus leaving the military and living as a citizen.
The scariest moments in service that stand out are two. When I found myself on the yellow footprints at MCRD in the late hours of the night and into the early morning of April 1967 being yelled at and intimidated by the drill instructors.
What does yellow footprints at MCRD mean? When you arrive for basic training, after you get off the bus from the airport the screaming begins. You are told to drop your bags and run, not walk, and find a pair of yellow foot prints (there are many sets of foot prints in a formation layout) and stand at attention. You then get yelled at for an hour or so and then the rest of the initiation begins, like the buzzcut! I remember quite clearly that one of my platoon mates was the son of a British Royal Marine and had beautiful hair down to his shoulders. It all went away. I had already cut mine very short in preparation for enlistment. I found a very real example of this on YouTube to share with you. It is funny now to watch videos of recruits going through much the same thing even today. It was NOT funny then.
The other was the first night I was in a firefight in Viet Nam. A bullet went past my ear close enough to hear. I had never experienced that so close before and was terrified to say the least. I asked myself what the heck (not my exact words) I was doing and what I had gotten myself into. But then the training kicked in and we all did our jobs successfully.
When I tell stories about my time in service it has always been the funny stories. Few of us really talk about combat, except with each other. Civilians do not typically understand. As my father, a WWII Navy veteran, told me when I joined, “To those who have been there no explanation is necessary, to those who have NOT been there no explanation is possible.” I have learned he was right!
Stay tuned for part two of our series: This Veterans Day We Honor One of Our Own, which will go live on Veterans Day.