Intelligence is sometimes difficult to measure. I met many different people in my sojourn in the Marine Corps and, while they were all different, I can only think of one guy that I would put in the “dumb” category.
In one of the companies that I served in while in Vietnam Jerry was our Sergeant in charge of Supply. While there was nothing really different about his name, to set him apart, he was quite different in some other significant ways. First of all, he was older than most of the rest of us. I would guess that he was about 30. We certainly had others that were older but they were either career officers that had risen up the ranks or they were NCOs who had typically reached the rank of at least Staff Sergeant by the time they were 30. Most of these other career Marine guys were also smart and ambitious. Jerry fell short in both of these categories.
Another area where all the guys that I met excelled was that they all seemed to have other interests. I enjoyed reading and I spent my spare time writing letters home, especially to my wife, but I also enjoyed listing to music on the radio. Most of my friends had similar interests. Jerry didn’t seem to do much of anything. I never saw him with a book (could he read?), he did not talk about family or friends at home and he never had the radio on.
I would not say that Jerry never had buddies over to his hooch. When Marines were assigned to our unit or rotated home they needed to see Jerry. This meant that he stored their possessions in seabags and also saw to it that they were issued necessary clothes, weapons and accessories for their tour. Jerry also had guys over to his hooch for frequent visits in the evening. I am not sure just why Jerry had a movie projector, or where he got it, but he had 3 to 6 guys over at least a couple of times a week. It seemed that Jerry liked Porno movies and they generated enough interest that a few would put up with Jerry to see the movies. I went over once to see what the interest was all about and I was quite disappointed. There was no sound, no story, and just cheesy scenes, over and over. I have no idea where Jerry got the movies.
Jerry did not look like a Marine. Besides not being fit (I doubt that he could finish a 3 mile run) he was also quite overweight.The only thing that I can deduce from this observation is that his single passion may have been eating. I guess this may have been better than having no passion at all.
Jerry had one other very unique feature that set him apart. He had no front teeth. Jerry had some false teeth that I suppose had been furnished by the Marine Corps but they didn’t fit very well so he often just left them out. My speculation got the best of me one day and I said, “Jerry, what happened to your front teeth?”
Jerry said, “Well, I have only been in the Marines for 5 years. Before that, I spent 6 years in the army.”
“Aha”, I thought, “I knew Jerry did not look like a Marine and now I had a reason to know why. He was an army guy after all.”
“So Jerry,” I said, “I now know that you were in the Army but why did you switch to the Marines?”
He said, “Well I was looking for more stuff to do.”
I had no idea what he meant by that but I was sill wondering what happened to Jerry’s teeth so I decided to continue the conversation. “So what happened in the Army that you lost your front teeth?”
Jerry said, “Well I was stationed in England and we used to go out drinking in the local bars as often as possible. There were many bars just off the base. We never had any trouble with the locals so we could pretty much say and do whatever we wanted. I had too much to drink one night and I stood up in the bar and shouted, “FUCK THE QUEEN!” There were about 20 locals in the bar and when they were finally pulled off of me I no longer had any teeth.”
I knew, always knew, that Jerry wasn’t too smart!
By: John Oscarson Feb. 27, 2010