|Frank Matthews, genuine leatherneck.|
In his late 80’s Frank is the only Iwo vet working in a National Museum anywhere in the United States. In World War II Frank was a Private First Class with 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division and the only surviving member of his platoon. Here he is talking about the landing:
It is always great to engage Marine veterans when the opportunity arises. You never know what nugget of history you will glean. Frank took a little time to share a quick story from after the battle when they got back aboard ship.
His 1stSgt ordered him to report to the galley for mess duty. Young Frank decided to roll the dice. Besides, after 36 days of combat, what’s the worst that would happen?
“1stSgt, you can’t send me to the galley.” This quite naturally began to stir the cauldrons of fury all Marine 1stSgts keep way down in the belly. Through gritted teeth the 1stSgt demanded clarification.
“1stSgt, I’m the only surviving member of my platoon. That makes me the acting platoon commander. You can’t send an acting officer to work in the galley.”
Frank related that his 1stSgt burst into full belly laughter, “…probably exactly what he needed.” Then he turned back to the young PFC.
“Matthews, get your tail down to the galley. I don’t care if you act like a Colonel down there.”
Seems relations between 1stSgts and their Marines haven’t changed much since the Old Corps.
Another gem from Frank:
I envy any Marine who is able to tell a story involving a flame thrower.