Surfin': Hamming from the Front Lines
As a member of the Fourth Division of the US Marine Corps, Pop fought in the battles of Tinian, Saipan and Iwo Jima during World War II. He came home with two Purple Hearts and shrapnel embedded in his arm that he carried to his grave.
When Pop talked about the war, he concentrated on amusing anecdotes that occurred when he served, and seldom mentioning the death and destruction that he witnessed. He did his duty, but preferred not to talk about it.
I was very proud of Pop and as a history devotee, I was always interested in the history of the Marine Corps. Also, being a ham radio operator, I tried to find any ham-Corps connections. My search brought me to the Marine Corps MARS Web site and Barry Weathersby's, W6YDK, history of the Navy-Marine Corps MARS in Vietnam Web page.
It is a short, but fascinating story about how the Marine Corps handed $50,000 to $100,000-worth of state-of-the-art ham radio equipment to an ad hoc group of Marines who had ham radio licenses, and said, "Go play." Using the call sign N0EFA, they did indeed "play" and ran hundreds of thousands of phone patches and MARSGRAMS from the battlefront to the States.
Until next time, Semper Fi and keep on surfin'!
Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU