employee spotlight: john butlerAaron Pylinski | Community Writer
I enlisted in the Marine Corps in December 1959, I spent my first tour of duty in Okinawa after boot camp. I spent 14 months in Okinawa and after Okinawa was transferred to Camp Pendleton, California. I spent about two years there, and that's where I was discharged. I had a break in my service.
I got out for two years and when I came back my first tour of duty was here in Iwakuni, Japan. Out of all out of my 22 years in the military, I spent about eight years here in Iwakuni. I know this area pretty well. The first time I went to Vietnam, it was from here, and that was in 1965.
I spent about six months in Da Nang. My second rotation to Vietnam was from 1966 to 1967 which was also in Da Nang. My MOS was 1391, which is a petroleum or bulk fueler.
When I left the Marine Corps after 22 years, I retired as a Gunnery Sergeant. And, looking back, I feel the Marine traditions were most important to me. The best part of my time in the Marine Corps was my first tour in Okinawa. I felt like everyone really gelled together tight. Next to that, my time in Iwakuni was exciting, too. To be here for a while as a Marine and then come back to this place that has changed a lot since the sixties.
Some of the best years of my life were spent in the Marine Corps. There’s that old saying, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” I just want to be around the Marines as much as possible, and I think I've been pretty lucky. I was in the Marine Corps for 22 years, and now I've been around Marines for another 30 years.
I’ve been to three Marine Corps Balls. The first Ball I attended was when I was on recruiting duty in Rochester, New York. It was a small unit, so everyone gelled together; there were only about 50 of us from the different districts around the area. This was sometime around 1975.
Most of us there served in Vietnam. It was just a regular Marine Corps Ball. Everyone coming together, having drinks, and having fun. Most of us hadn’t seen each other for over six months, so we were just happy to chat with each other.