18 I CHRONICLESnin the “butts” behind the targets was unpleasant duty.nAfter the final boot eamp parade, we were mustered ontona field to reeeive our assignments. That was a turning pointnin life for us, and, for some, a turning point towards death,nfor a number of Marines in our training eompany werenassigned to replacement battalions. That is to say, they werenshipped overseas to fill holes in battalions that had beennshot to pieces in the fierce island campaigns of the summernand fall of 1943.nAs it happened, I was assigned to the headquarters FleetnMarine Force at Camp Elliott north of San Diego, a dull,neminently safe assignment in the personnel office whichnselected the specialists assigned to the 5th Marine Divisionnthen in formation at Camp Pendleton. My days there werennot so different from my days at Emory University. Afternduty, I returned to the barracks and read, chiefly aboutnmusic, which was my principal interest at the time. Onnweekends, I went on liberty in San Diego, hitching ridesninto the city and returning late at night on a Marinenbus—actually a truck trailer with board seats. In the city, Inhung around the military YMCA and played the piano,nwrote letters to IDB, and ate the inexpensive meals.nSometimes I splurged and spent a dollar on a steak at angreasy spoon. However, it was necessary to stand in line tonget a seat at the counter. Everyone in the city seemed to bena sailor or a Marine, and every girl who walked down thenstreet was followed by a string of servicemen who tried tonpick her up.nMemories of my time in the Marine Corps are devoid ofnthe dramatic. While countless Marines truly went to war,nengaged in acts of valor, and made sacrifices on which thenUnited States is still living, my “war” consisted of the mostnmundane little things—field days in the barracks when wenscrubbed the floor, listening to a Li’l Abner in our platoonnsing “Birmingham Jail” (he was from Honea Path, SouthnCarolina), eating cheese from a food parcel in my bunknafter lights out, joshing with my former Emory roommatenwho ran the military post office at Camp Elliott andnotherwise was a real operator who knew how to pull all thenstrings, pressing pants under the mattress of my bunk, andnhelping the old sergeant major get to the upper deck of thenbarracks after he returned from liberty dead drunk, whichnwas his custom every evening. For many servicemen that’snall war amounted to. The burdens and sacrifices in war arenvery unevenly imposed. Bureaucratic decisions controlnone’s fate—while I was pulling personnel cards at CampnElliott, my first cousin Nolan Harrigan was flying fightersnin the Pacific.nThe work at Camp Elliott was boring paper shuffling,nand I applied for a transfer to Marine aviation maintenance,nbut my request was turned down. Eventually, I was assignednto the Specialist Training Regiment at Camp Pendleton,nwhich turned out to be a training center for field interpretersnin Japanese. The littie camp, consisting of a small numbernof Quonset huts, was located in an isolated corner of a vast,nunbelievably isolated stretch of California coastiine. Muchnof my time was devoted to working on a pick-up crewnassigned to miscellaneous camp repairs and to digging upngrease traps. The only Japanese that stays with me is how toncount from one to ten.nMy months in the Marine Corps at Camp Pendletonnnnwere a very unhappy and traumatic time for me. I was anninadequate Marine. I got off on the wrong foot through thenV-12 unit. Undoubtedly, I would have had better service ifnI had enlisted in the Navy instead of the Marine Corps.nNevertheless, for all my unhappiness, the influence of thenMarine Corps has remained with me through the years. It isna remarkable branch of service which provides psychologicalnas well as physical conditioning and which imposesncertain patterns on anyone who serves in it. From thenMarine Corps I derived an idea of proper bearing that isnalways in mind. The Corps teaches one how to stand, hownto hold one’s hands, much as the Jesuit order teaches itsnpriests a pattern of outward behavior. The unstated objectivenof the Marine Corps is to create soldiers of the sea whonare capable of serving as shock troops. In the process, itncreates a personal style and outlook that is stoic. Because ofnmy deficiencies as a Marine in World War II, I relished thenopportunity in 1965 to spend a short time with a MarinenCorps helicopter unit at Danang in Vietnam, experiencingnwhat the serving Marines were experiencing. In so doing, Infelt I had tied up some loose ends that had been left untiednat the end of my service in the Corps. In other words, therenwas a psychological satisfaction in flying the missions alongnthe Laotian border and on skirmishes near the old capitalnof Hue.nMy World War II military experience left me disoriented.nIn the space of about three years, I had moved through anprogressive school in Massachusetts and military service inna region of America remote from my roots. I had encounterednideas and experienced a disciplined existence fornwhich I had not been prepared in my childhood. At thensame time, and in the process, I was discovering who I was,ngroping towards what I would become as an adult. Thisnpassage in life always is difficult and is accelerated in wartimenwhen one is taken out of accustomed scenes andnroutines and plunged into different worlds. Another year ofnprep school would have helped me move more smoothlyntowards maturity, as would have the gradual discoverynprocess of college, but the war aborted that slow, effectivenprocess. Across the country and across the world, warnaborted innumerable processes of development. War isndisorienting not only for individuals but for nations andncivilizations. The ultimate disruptive experience involvesnthe termination of a national entity, society or civilization,nwhich was the case when the old nations of Christendom innEastern Europe fell behind the Iron Curtain.nThe United States was fortunate not to suffer in WorldnWar II as other countries suffered. America was the victimnof a surprise attack, and hundreds of thousands of Americansnpaid with their limbs and lives for the recovery ofnnational territory and maintenance of American freedoms,nbut the United States was not invaded. Its civilian populationnremained unscathed. Nevertheless, America wasnchanged by the war to a much greater degree than wasnrealized when the war ended. The America of 1941 wasnmuch closer to its roots than the America of the 1980’s.nWhether the changes brought about by wartime werenprimarily liberating or destructive continues to be a subjectnof debate. The construction of army camps and air bases innrural areas of the United States, especially the South,npushed many backward areas into the 20th century. Manyn