What’s Your Point?

As I mentioned, I was a radio technician in the Marine Corps, and was a pot smoker as well. I received all of my training at the Marine Corps Communications/Electronics Schools at 29 Palms, CA. During the course of my advanced training, I had a couple of friends that I ran with from my class. I was a staff sergeant at the time and my two friends were sergeants. One was a white dude, the other black. We sort of fancied ourselves as a type of “3 musketeers” and spent much of our liberty time hanging out at the white guy’s house in base housing. He was the only one of us that was married at the time. Mostly we smoked pot and played backgammon. (Ace/Deuce style). There was some minor alcohol consumption but nothing substantial, we were stoners for the most part.

We had an instructor for our advanced theory class who was a retired Master Sergeant named Bill Stewart. This man was a living legend in fact. He taught advanced theory about the fundamentals of digital logic, particularly P/N junctions, which are the foundation of everything digital today. When teaching us about transistors, which at that time were basically two P/N junctions that when properly biased would produce remarkable results (“Limited ONLY by your imagination” was his battle cry). During the course of his instruction, we learned that if one was to “forward bias” the emitter/base junction of the transistor, it would reach a state known as “saturation”. This is how you basically “turn on” the transistor. Of course one must “reverse bias” the collector/base junction as well.  This is the most fundamental and basic thing about digital technology.

We also learned that depending on which type of P/N junction it was (silicone or germanium), the voltage drop across the E/B junction would be 0.7V for silicone, and 0.3 V for germanium. Of course our fascination was with the word “saturation”.  We took this and started referring to our smoking sessions as “copping a point” and thereby achieving “saturation”. So consequently thereafter we would inquire if anyone wanted to “cop a point” when it was time to smoke. It started out as “Cop a point 7” but eventually was reduced to “cop a point”.  I lost touch with the white guy right after school, but saw the black dude many times in the years after. I will never for get either of them.

Update 30 Jan 2019

I have been away from here for a few days because I don’t really understand yet how this works and am trying to figure it out. I wanted to set this up with lots of razzle dazzle, but for now I think I will just try to express myself clearly and not worry too much about style over substance. Since pretty much no one is watching, I believe I will just run some shit up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes.

Rules of Engagement

This site is intended to to be a public forum and as such must have rules relating to overall decorum. Here are the things that I won’t allow:

  • Profanity is allowed, and even encouraged but PLEASE no vulgarity or pornography.
  • All points of view are welcome here, but please do not be predatory or combative.
  • All people are welcome here, but of course I am primarily concerned with reaching veterans, regardless of branch served in. We all took the same oath to the same constitution,

About me

I am starting this blog because I am tired of the bullshit on Facebook and my inability to express myself sometimes in 280 characters or less. I will be sharing experiences (or perhaps more accurately swapping lies) as well as expressing my views on lots of things. I will be starting out kind of slow as I learn how to actually do this, but should be up to speed before too long. Of course I am interested in other people’s opinions, especially those that echo my own. 

I am 65 years old and recently retired from 18 years in wireless communications. Before I got into wireless, I was a radio technician servicing commercial two way radio equipment. I received my radio technician training in the Marine Corps beginning in 1971. I served during the Vietnam war but by the grace of God and the will of the Marine Corps I did not go. I would NEVER try to tell anyone that I am a combat veteran. I served for almost 12 year and actually was a Gunnery Sergeant when I got out.

More About Me

I would like to clarify a few things regarding myself and the character of my Marine Corps service. I do not wish to portray myself as some sort of super patriotic gung ho fighting machine dedicated to preserving democracy and freedom. That wasn’t who I was.

Who I was was a young insecure boy who was only 17 when he joined the Marine Corps during the Vietnam war. I did not join to fight commies for Christ or anything like that. I joined because I was living in a small blue collar city west of Detroit and didn’t see much of a future putting tail lights in Novas or bumpers on Broncos like my friends and neighbors did.

I served honorably and faithfully for almost 12 years active, and was discharged finally with a general under honorable conditions discharge for failing a “random” drug screen, for cannabis. I say “random” because my company commander straight up told me that for this particular test, they focused on the SNCOs because they were after a Ssgt that worked for me. (They got him too). He also told me that if I would have told him I was dirty, he would have excused me from the test. Of course I was flattered that he would have done that for me, but in fact failing that drug test was the best thing that ever happened to me. At the time the only enlisted man in the entire company that was senior to me was the Company 1st Sgt. I still had a year left on my current enlistment and actually had no intentions of re-enlisting a third time. This was very awkward, because the Company Commander was constantly trying to get me to re-enlist in order to make his “numbers” look good. I had brushed off a few attempts, and was actually submitting a package to HQMC for the warrant officer program at that time in order to stop the re-enlistment requests from the C.O. Once it became clear to him that I was not going to re-enlist, I would have been turned on as a “traitor” and my last remaining time on active duty could have been quite uncomfortable. I ended up being sent home for about 30 days and then quietly discharged so as to avoid and “embarrassment” for them. HQMC does not like it when a supposed “career man” opts out. It is a direct reflection on the command that the disgruntled individual was assigned to when he/she decided to end their career mid term.

I was by no means the “perfect” marine and my tenure was not too remarkable other than the fact that I went from E-1 to E-7 in 11 years and 3 months of active duty with no meritorious promotions. I had achieved one of the most prestigious ranks in the Marine Corps at the age of 29. Most of my “peers” were 5 or more years older than I was, and some where bitter because I made rank so quickly, but I had to pass the exact same promotion boards that they did. In fact, there was a fellow Ssgt at our group HQ with the same MOS as me, and his date of rank was actually 2 years before I even joined the Marine Corps, and he did not get selected when I did. Of course he made a comment about my being a “boot gunny”, to which I responded being “boot gunny” beats the hell out of “senior Ssgt”. My rapid ascension was due to several factors, mostly just being in the right place at the right time, and not having any real disciplinary issues. I was not very good at spit and polish, but I was excellent at fixing radios and running a maintenance shop. And I spent a great deal of time cleaning up other people’s messes, which I was also excelled at. I will say that 29 years old is too young to be a gunny in the marines. I took the job and cashed the paychecks anyway.

As I mentioned, I spent a great deal of time cleaning up other people’s messes. I rarely stayed in the same unit for over a year, sometimes battalion hopping in the same regiment. In Hawaii I started out in 3rd Mar regiment Hq Company, then went to 1/3 to run the tech shop in the Comm platoon. While there, I participated in Operation Jack Frost, where we went from Honolulu to Fairbanks Alaska for cold weather training. This was January of 1977, we worked with reservists from Buffalo NY, and the weather in Buffalo at the time was actually far worse that Fairbanks. It was a total and complete clusterfuck.

I was transferred to 2/3 right before they deployed to Australia, but the Comm officer didn’t like me so he sent me back. This was the 2nd time I almost went to Australia and got screwed at the last minute. I actually got sent to 2/3 again when they returned, and went on to be a major player in the first Hawaii WestPac tour in September of 1977. The Comm O still didn’t want me at first, but when he saw what I could do in the shop, he warmed up to me considerably. I brought us back from a 7 month deployment with a combat readiness percentage that was actually higher than when we left, which is extremely rare. Usually units return from deployments like this with mount out boxes full of broken equipment.

Anyway, I want to be clear that I am no Chris Kyle or any other such hero type. I am just a guy that is proud of my service, and everything that I am today I owe to the Marine Corps and a select few people that mentored and guided me. I have lots of stories to tell and opinions to present.