Thread: Korea
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Old 05-06-2007, 10:33 PM
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Re: Korea

Joe Joyce who survived the Korean War has recieved his final orders. This was written by Bill Barry aka "BuckStripes" in honor of Joe.

He was an Irish-Catholic kid from the Bronx. Growing up, he was tall and skinny. At De La Salle High School, he suffered through Latin and Trig and the proper use of the English language--spoken and written. He graduated with College-Prep Smarts on a lovely day in June, 1951...

...Joseph Joyce then matriculated to Parris Island, Souse Calina, United States Marine Corps Boot Camp. Twelve weeks later, he was a right strapping lad, filled out on 3 Chow Calls per day, and muscled up on nonstop running from one drill to the next, paternally mentored by a trio of livid and screaming DIs fathered by Satan...

...Joe Joyce was a rifleman. At Camp Pendleton in sultry Southern California, he endured forced marches and other pleasantly grinding recreations in the godforsaken sandhill Boonies, where ( he was certain) the giant rattlesnakes lay everywhere in wait to kill him. They failed...

...In 1952, Joe and his platoon took an ocean cruise across the wide Pacific, and after a brief pause in Japan, the troop ship sailed on to South Korea, The Land Of The Morning Calm...

...The war was raging, and Joe joined the 1st Marine Division on its drive back north, over all the same ground it had won before--then lost when a general named MacArthur lied the troops into a Chinese trap set for them at the Chosin Reservoir...

...Joe's Marines wore khaki puttees around their lower legs. They headed up through Inchon and Seoul and the lower Taebaek mountains. Behind themselves, they left the land littered with dead Chinese. And it finally dawned on the PLA's Red commissars what was going wrong for their beaten fighters. So, the order was given: Avoid contact with Americans wearing khaki puttees. They are The Marines...

...Joe was a Marine. Like the Pendleton rattlesnakes, the Chinese couldn't kill him. He came home a strapping man, tough and a little ornery toward wise guys on the street. But he had a sense of humor, and a sharp eye for the ladies, and a soft spot for kids and people in trouble...
...He became a Noo Yawk cop, a walking poster ad for the NYPD. He worked hard, and he played hard. But the bottle finally got him, and he was sent to Virginia for rehab...

...Twas a stroke of luck. He met and married the one true love of his life, Viola. She was a poet and an artist and Irish. Faith and Begorra! She bore him a son, adding to children of her own. Joe became a deputy sheriff. Life was good. Life was fantastic! Until cancer struck the love of his life and she died. It broke Joe's heart. But he carried on as best he could, even while missing her every single waking day, and more so each lonely night...

...Years later, when he received his own bad news, it hit him hard. Yet, he recovered from the shock, did what the doctors told him to do, and he fought the good fight, winning far more time than he had been told to expect. Like a good Marine, he kept on keeping on just as long as he possibly was able...

...Now Joe is gone. My pal and comrade. My elder, he noted whenever I got too cheeky with him, my elder by all of two months. No more japes and gibes about how the Brooklyn Prep kid's footballers could kick the bejazzus outta them Bronax pansies. No more far deeper discussions about everything under the sun, the stuff that really mattered...

...Our chum is dead. I miss him already. These tears are for him...

...Semper Fi, Ole Cruncher--May the dawn be rising brightly, wherever you are. And may you be holding hands with your True Love again

--Bill Barry, 1st Marine Division, Korean War...
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