Semper Fi: Veteran looks back on his time as Marine

Semper Fi: Veteran looks back on his time as Marine

by Zach DeBruin

Thomas Farrell is an ex-Marine who lives on the outskirts of Prairie City. Farrell joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1960 as an A-1 Private, making $56.20 a month.
“Why did I join? I don’t know. My drill instructor said I was a draft-dodger, as if spending four years in the Marine Corps was preferable to being drafted for two in the army,” Farrell said
Everyone who has seen the movie “Full Metal Jacket” wants to know if bootcamp for the Marines is all it’s cracked up to be.
“It was very rugged. It was much more physical activity than I was used to. I guess the highlight for me was completing the run after our bootcamp graduation. We went on about a three- or four-hour run, and it was on double time,” Farrell said. “It was estimated that we traveled at least 25 miles on that run.”
Farrell was stationed in Memphis, Tenn. for three months, where he went to school to be an aircraft mechanic for jet aircrafts. After he finished schooling, he was sent straight to Hawaii, stationed to be a mechanic on the trainer jets that were kept and used at the base, along with two search and rescue helicopters.
Farrell explains the perks of being the mechanic.
“My main job was to be a jet aircraft mechanic, and as such, I was entitled to fly backseat of two different jet trainers that we had. That was a real thrill, and I would like to do that again now, but I’m way too old, and I’m not in the service.”
Farrell left the base in Hawaii with 20 days leave and then reported straight to El Toro Calif..
“Hawaii was a very good duty station. After two years, I was very tired of it, and I don’t care to go back. I know it’s lovely over there.”