The Norman Transcript

Columns

November 1, 2012

From Vietnam to Washington, D.C.

NORMAN — Russ McReynolds has the dubious distinction of being thrown off the Marine Corps base by the Commandant of Marines.

Russ was born in Norman, a fourth-generation Normanite. After graduating from Norman High School in 1966 and attending one semester at OU, he decided to join the Marines.

After boot camp, Russ was a communications specialist. While posted at Parris Island Marine Corps base in South Carolina, he was picked to appear on stage for a Tim Conway show called “Operation Entertainment.” They surprised him when they brought out his girlfriend from Fort Worth during the show.

He was assigned to South Vietnam in 1968. He worked in the communications center in the Force Logistics Command at Da Nang for nine months. Each Marine in Vietnam was expected to spend some time in the field. So for three months interspersed throughout the year, he walked in the rice paddies fighting the Viet Cong.

After his tour in Vietnam, he was selected for assignment to the Marine showcase base, which was a small enclave at 8th and I streets in downtown Washington, D.C. There, he pulled Honor Guard duty.

He says that the biggest mistake he made while in the Marines was rejecting an opportunity to serve at Camp David. But he met his wife, Laurie, in Washington. They were married in November 1970.

One day after guard duty at the gate to the 8th and I post, he received word that the commandant of Marines wanted to see him. The commandant showed him two pieces of paper on his desk and said he didn’t understand them. One paper was a recommendation that Russ be promoted for exceptional duty performance. The other paper was his request to be transferred so that he could separate from the Marines. The commandant asked him to explain. Russ told him that, when he was growing up on the farm in Norman, his father had always told him to do the best at whatever job he was assigned, even if he didn’t like the job. He told the commandant that the first paper was evidence that he was doing his best at his job. The other paper was an indication that he didn’t enjoy the job. When he began to explain to the commandant that he was frustrated that Marines weren’t encouraged to think for themselves, the commandant called an aide in and ordered him to get Russ off the post in 24 hours. He actually was out the gate in less than 24 hours. He was discharged on Aug. 7, 1970.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Hate without end

    The news that a former grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan is suspected of shooting and killing three people near Jewish community centers in Kansas seems at first glance like a disparaged past flaring briefly into the present. Americans like ...

    April 21, 2014

  • Don’t let moderation confuse you

    Jeb Bush’s recent compassionate comments on immigration show how far apart he is from the far right of the Republican Party....

    April 20, 2014

  • Priest’s execution should spur action

    In the hierarchy of saints, martyrs are on the highest rung of the celestial ladder, at least for me....

    April 20, 2014

  • Settlers found opportunities in red dirt fields

    There are few constants in families where the teenagers and soon-to-be teenagers outnumber their parents. One things holds true at my home: Nobody gets out of bed in the morning before dear old Dad....

    April 20, 2014

  • NRA members need to step up

    Please, Mr. Bloomberg, leave the checkbook open, but step away from the podium. Your efforts to curb gun violence and improve safety are notable. The National Rifle Association thanks you....

    April 19, 2014

  • First, do no harm — to your bank account

    After being sued by the Wall Street Journal, the government finally released its Medicare reimbursement data last week. It included the less-than-stunning revelation that 28 of the 100 doctors who received the largest payments in 2012 were ...

    April 15, 2014

  • Reading between the lines

    Reading is such an improbable idea — a miracle, really. Yet simple squiggles on a page, arranged just so, can convey ideas that change the way we think or introduce to us characters we love for a lifetime. In celebration of reading — and ...

    April 15, 2014

  • CCFI tackling area’s child abuse problem

    Editor, The Transcript: To those of you who are reading this editorial, I assume you care or at least are entertained by the opinions of others. It is my hope and desire that when you read this editorial, you will care about the facts. ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Does Oklahoma need advice from Texas?

    Does Texas have a lock on “brilliant minds”? The names of Texans like Congressman Louie Gomert, Sen. Ted Cruz and that other guy ... I can’t think of his name ... oh yeah, Rick Perry come to mind very quickly. Add to that infamous list ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Why Comcast-Time Warner deal makes sense

    Say this about the deal announced Thursday for Comcast to buy Time Warner Cable: It’s big. Big price tag of $45 billion. Big combined subscriber base of 30 million households. And big risk of a veto from government antitrust regulators....

    April 12, 2014