By Roger A. Sanchez Sr.@ Gunny’s Mail Call
In March of 2013 I finally published my first book “Black Dragon Red Sun“, that is one of three that I plan to complete, hopefully before I leave this life. As I contemplate the last part of that statement, I hope that won’t be for quite a while. The books are about my time in Vietnam as an infantry squad leader with the First Marine Division during the Vietnam War.
Vietnam was tough going as I am sure many Marines who fought that war can attest to. I look back on that time and a twenty-two and a half-year Marine Corps career and wonder how I made it? Yes, by the grace of God I had made it. Being part of the 7th Marines Association, I had met and talk to other Vietnam combat Marines who had also lived to make it home again, and make the same comments today as I had about making it through a harrowing time.
As I completed my first book, I sent out a few copies to some of my fellow 7th Marine association members. During this time I was introduced to another author of a Marine Corps memoir. I was introduced to 1st Sergeant Charles Carmin by way of receiving a printed copy of his book titled, “My Twenty And Then Some.”
I have to say that I was very impressed with not only his book, but his career as a Marine who not only served during the Vietnam war, but also during the Korean War as well. after I read his book, I found his phone number through the association roster and called him. I found out that I was fortunate to have a printed copy of his book, because it was no longer in print.
Like me, he had written his memoirs mainly as a history to leave behind for his family. He made me realize that as we leave these books behind for posterity, we are also leaving behind something else, “Marine Corps History.” In reading his story I found that while we were a generation or more apart, our experiences in War as Marines were not that much different.
I for one, had always looked at those Marines that went before me with great respect. With a great respect because they had paved the way for us, and made the Marine Corps what it was. If ever I had come across a Marine that I would call a Marine’s Marine in my lifetime, it is 1st Sergeant Charles Carmin. For Marines like the 1st Sergeant, while just as dedicated in their service to the Marine Corps like the majority, are truly unsung heroes of wars gone by.
I laugh today when I think of the great acts of heroism I saw during the Vietnam War that rated high praise, but were met with usually more than not, a common notion that as Marines, we were just doing what Marines do, and nothing more. The comment was usually one that went something like this: “What do you want, a medal, or a chest to pin it on? You would have had to be there to get the gist of it, as we all laughed, we trudged our way back into battle.
Many years and emotions have now gone by, as another generation of Marines fade into legend in the sunset of their years. God bless them, God bless America, and God bless the Marine Corps.
1stSgt Charles Carmin