Alpha Company, The Basic School Class of 1-68 mustered mid year 1967, and graduated at the end of the year, with 219 Lieutenants receiving their assigned military occupational specialties (MOS) and orders to duty.  Many went for further specialized training beyond that provided in The Basic Infantry Officers curriculum: air, artillery, engineering, air defense, logistics, tanks, motor transport, communications, to name some.  Those who were assigned to the infantry MOS universally went either directly to Vietnam or to recon training and then Vietnam.  It was worlds away.

Friend Down(April 2015) Forty nine members of the class have fallen.  Fifteen perished at their posts in combat in Vietnam; three died in flight accidents and thirty one died after returning home- many with shortened lives from the injuries suffered in Vietnam.  The majority of the class received Purple Heart Medals for their wounds.  Virtually all suffered numerous “inches from death” experiences, injuries and emotional scars.  It is honest to say that all were changed, and many became strangers to even their families. Being Officers Of Marines and leading Marines in combat is a serious undertaking.  There is no higher calling.

Chopper DownIn April of 2015, many of the members of this class came together in Fredericksburg, VA to renew friendships and share experiences.  Most have not had contact with each other since TBS graduation.  That is the way the military worked then- you went to war with Marines you had never met, and came home alone.  It is stunning that every single member of the class has been positively located and all but one contacted after these years.  For many, the joined fellowship of Marines with shared experiences will close a nagging open wound.  For all, the joining of like minded, hard, proud Marines will be a blast.

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to Don Buzney’s powerful and inspiring interview.