Company G was part of the Marine Support Battalion (MarSptBn), a relatively small group of Marines that supported the United States Navy in their cryptologic endeavors. Sabana Seca was and is a Navy base, specifically Naval Security Group Activity (NSGA), Sabana Seca. It was also known as U.S. Naval Communications Station, Sabana Seca (USNAVCOMMSTA). There was a separate company of guard Marines stationed there who provided security and sentry duty for the base. The base closed for good in 2003.
The base was small. Our work spaces were a couple of miles away out in the middle of cane fields, perhaps four or five miles from the Atlantic Ocean on the extreme north central coast of Puerto Rico. There were two buildings, numbers 85 and 40, each separated by a couple of miles. We took a bus from the base to get there.
There were, of course, other "letter" companies like Company "G" around the world, usually on Navy bases. The school we attended to learn our occupation was a Navy school, a cryptology school.
This is a brief intro to just what Co G was, for those of you who either were not in the military or perhaps are unacquainted with this particular part of the Marine Corps. Whereas the USMC total strength in 1965 was 190,213, there were less than 1,500 Marines who were in the Marine Support Battalion.
(Our tour of duty there was usually two years, although some stayed longer. The average number of Marines in Co G at any given time was approximately 46 to 50 Marines.)
We all had Top Secret clearances. Most if not all of the things we did have long since been declassified, as technology left what we used to do in the dust long ago. Of course there is still Morse Code and always will be, but its uses were far more common in the mid-1960s than now. Some of the equipment we used is now seen only in museums, alongside various Neanderthal exhibits. This is a little depressing, naturally. But we move on.
Several years ago I had a Co G website similar to this one, but it crashed at some point and I never rebuilt it. Until yesterday, Jan 31, 2009.
Around 1997 I began a search of former Co G Marines, locating perhaps 50 people. Before that, a lot of us had already kept in touch for some time.
I got to PR Oct 12, 1965 and left on October 30, 1967.
The job itself, MOS 2571, Special Radio Operator, R branch, was unlike any other job before or since. If there were opportunities today to do that kind of work, I would leave my present career without hesitation.
We developed a camaraderie, particularly in the barracks, stationed for two years at very close quarters with perhaps 25 or 30 other Marines.
Other Marines who stayed in for 20 years have remarked that the particular group at Co G was unique, (1964-1968) and was the best duty station and the best group of people that they ever encountered in all their years in the Corps.
One Marine who was there describes the whole experience there as, to use his word, "magical".
The rest is just personal information, added on June 1, 2010.
I joined the Marine Corps 31Oct1963, went to Parris Island, SC where I underwent recruit training in Co C, 1st RTR, graduating and then "outposting" directly to Co T, ITR, Camp Geiger, NC, on 29Jan1964. After completing that training, I ended up at US Naval Communications Training Center, Pensacola, Florida, at Co K, MarSptBn, 7Apr1964 until graduating with a 96.27% avg on 18Sep1964, then to Comm Co, Hq Bn, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, NC from Oct 1964 to Oct 1965, at which time I left and arrived at Co G, MarSptBn, Sabana Seca, Puerto Rico on 12Oct1965 and left on 30Oct1967, the same day I was discharged from active duty in the Marine Corps.
E-1 Private Parris Island, SC 31Oct1963
E-2 PFC Pensacola Fla 1May1964
E-3 LCpl Camp Lejeune NC 1Feb 1965
E-4 Cpl Co G Sabana Seca 1Oct 1966
E-5 Sgt Co G Sabana Seca 1Sep 1967
USMC 31Oct63 to 30Oct67