A 50th Anniversary Celebration for Fellow Marines
Harrisburg, NC – Fifty years ago four teenagers from Troy were playing a casual game of pool at Wimpy’s Grill and Pool Hall when a Marine recruiter stepped inside who would change the course of their lives forever. Hoping to serve their country together since they were being drafted anyway, the childhood friends – unlike many others their age – jumped at a chance to sign up for service in the Vietnam War. They trained together at Parris Island, near Beaufort, SC, as part of Platoon 309 and later at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC, before heading on for the most difficult training at Camp Pendleton in California. Their journey formed “a band of brothers” who looked after each other over a lifetime.
For the first time since they left for Vietnam, all four gathered recently as part of a surprise celebration and luncheon planned for Charles Manning, a resident of Carillon Assisted Living in Harrisburg. Not knowing that friends Ted Harris and Jimmy Mason were waiting for him at the Hometown Restaurant in Troy, NC, Mr. Manning simply thought he was going out for a quick lunch nearby with his old friend Randall Epps. However, when Randall handed Mr. Manning a black Marine’s cap for “The Few and The Proud”, “Chuck” as they call him, knew it was going to be a day to remember. After enjoying a delicious steak lunch and Marine-themed cake, Mr. Manning toured his hometown and visited his parents’ gravesites as part of the day’s events.
“We wanted to mark the 50th anniversary of our joining the Marines with a day to remember,” said Randall Epps. “As Marines, we have a bond that is ‘Earned, Never Given’, which means we Marines stand as one…friends for life.”
Shared by Dianne Asbill, Activity Director, Carillon Assisted Living, Harrisburg
on June 20, 2016