war paint


Robert Berns
United States Marine Corps
Item Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Regiment, 1st Marine Division
July 12, 1950 - July 11, 1954

I have an Marine Corps bulldog up here, wearing a hat, and down here there's a flag that says USMC underneath it. They're kind of faded now, I got them fifty years ago.

It was some time near the end of 1950. We were getting ready to go to Korea, we went to San Diego to pull liberty. As I came out of a store, out front is a tattoo parlor. It was like peer pressure. Everybody was going to get them because we were Big Tough Guys going to Korea. We were all 17 years old.

We got aboard the ship the first week in January. It was the General William Weigel, it wasn't a Navy ship -- at that time they had what they called the Military Sea Transportation Service, it was like a Merchant Marine type thing. but it was a troop ship. I think there was like 2100 of us on there. In fact, I had my 18th birthday on there -- not that I remember it, because I was sea sick.

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