Tom at the DMZ – April 29, 2004
Photograph ©Copyright 2004 by Tom Huddleston
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The following autobiography is taken directly from Tom’s website and reproduced with his permission.
I’m one of the many who have earned the title of United States Marine. It began with the day that we stood in painted footsteps waiting to have our hair buzzed. That was the day that we found out that our real name was Maggot. An angry man, wearing a smokey-bear, began to yell and we jumped. He yelled again and we jumped higher. Then came the day that we put on class “A’s” and fell in for the last time. With the cadence of a single heel, we marched down the grinder and joined the Corps.
I was in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Marine Divisions with two tours of duty. I was a boot, a defensive back, a radioman, an embassy guard, a brig-rat, a 3.5 rocket man, and an airborne, scuba recon Marine. I have humped, jumped, bumped, and dumped green. I saw a little war in Santo Domingo and a bigger war in Vietnam. I’ve walked with pride and I’ve known numb. Since May 1st of 1969 I began a lifetime of both missing the past and fearing tomorrow. I’ve doped, groped, moped and hoped.
I was lucky. I asked for and got some help and I’m beginning to live outside of the bunker and the hole. Three operations have helped with the physical pain and I was sent to the VA’s National Treatment Center for PTSD in Menlo Park, California for the emotional pain. A shorter program at the Boise VA Hospital reconnected the spirit loss. It wasn’t always pleasant and the shakes don’t go completely away, but the people cared and things are better./