Ron Ruiter - HM3

Navy Corpsman

HM3 - FMF - MOS 8404

(1964 - 1968)

Fleet Marine Force Corpsman  

10th Marines 2nd Marine Division Camp Lejeune, NC

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 Ron's Blog

Ron in boot camp Feb 1964

This is me May 2010 

Ron R HM3/USN served 1964-68 10th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, NC

Feb 1964: Joined the Navy so I could go out and see this great world of ours and perhaps get some type of education. Well never did get to see the whole world but did see some very interesting places and did get an education not only in school but an education on life. I guess one of my biggest regrets in life is that I didn't stay in the Navy to retire.

Me and my bro.... Picture was taken while on one of the liberties while in boot camp. One fine man who I admire and respect a lot to this day.

My family, picture taken after boot camp (1964)

Feb - Apr 1964: Navy Boot Camp at Great Lakes, IL - Company 57 - J.D. Byrum MM1 was our Company Commander. Started boot camp Feb 17, 1964 and graduated April 21, 1964 - Boy, what a rude awakening I was in for once we started boot camp. Hey, I was even made Protestant Religious Petty Officer while there. Can you believe that? Me? The Protestant Religious Petty Officer?  About all that meant was that I took those who wanted to attend to chapel every Sunday. 

Here is a list of the men in Company 57. 

D. Easton, W. Rogerson, B. Wells, C. Yost Jr, Hugh J. Callery, Johm H. Ausman, R. D. Bostick, R. D. Campbell, L. A. Carpenter, William G. Carr, J. Challenor Jr, Eugene R. Chiara, Danny R. R. Clark, W. E. Cook Jr, Michael D. Deaver, Richard R. Finney, Gary L. Friel, Gary D Greer, David R. Grinder, Roy O. Hale, C. L. Hemphill, S. E. Herndon, George E. Hopson, K. H. Horton, Bruce E. Howe, Gerald J. Hrenko, S. A. Hrobak, T. T. Jannie, Richard L. Kramer, S. J. Mayfield, W. B. McFall, Robert M. Melcher, Francis P. Meusel, Robert J. Moran, David L. Mulder, Creg C. Nelson, D. W. Nichols, H. A. Patterson, Kenneth L. Pease, K.F. Pierce, Pierre M. Riopel, D. R. Robeson, C. J. Robertson, M.G. Rockwell Jr, Nelson G. Sayward, Phillip B. Short, Jerry H. Skinner, Norman L. Sole, W. D. Spaulding, L. J. Strockis, C. O. Suttles, Richard T. Taylor, Jerry W. Tribby, John F. Usowski, W. J. Wheeler, Raymond E Fischer, Allen L. Greenslade, Tyrone K. Jackson, Harold H. Holley, Albert R. Owens, Marshall B. Steinbeck, Douglas Lee Kuklewski, James J. Kennedy, C. R. King, and W. A. Sanders. 

Boot Camp Graduation was on APR 17, 1964.

Boot Camp Graduation Apr 17, 1964 

Camp Moffett at Great Lakes IL

The Drill Hall at Great Lakes

The Drill Hall at Great Lakes IL

Line up and get those shot with the "Jet Gun"

The good life in boot camp.

Navy Recruit Training - Great Lakes, IL

May - Sep 1964: Hospital Corps School at Great Lakes, IL. Company 45-64 and actually graduated Sep 10, 1964 - HMC R.G. Stinebiser was our company commander - I spent 16 weeks going to school to become a Corpsman. School was much tougher than I thought it would be, but I did make it. Once graduating from here you could put in for your dream duty station, and then I found out it was really just a dream. I put in for Rhoda, Spain and this other guy put in for Fleet Marine Force. Well I got his dream and he got mine. But in the end it was really the best thing that happened to me. Once I got down to Jacksonville, NC I knew that I had found me a home. I fell in love with NC and soon learned to love the Corps. To me this was the best duty one could have as a Corpsman. Students in Hospital Corps School: Robert Bahl, Amelia Beard, Wayne Beckwith, John Brader, John Browning, Juvencio Carranza, Larry Cleveland, Marvin Cocayne, Jane Cutler, Ronald Garrabrant, Janet Garritt, David Gastonguay, Robert Glover, Marianela Griffin, Patrick Handy, Emma Johnson, Gayle Jones, Letha King, Richard Kramer, Frank Krov, Michael Lessig, Thomas Lyons, Eugene Manfredi, Joesph Mangieri, Donald Mc Nellis, Carolyn Pierce, Charles Popp, Mary Prucinsky, Walter Purvis, Edward Robinson, Ronald Ruiter, Samuel Schulman, Thomas Tedesco, Robert Thomas, Ellen Thrailkill, Joseph Van Kerkhove, Richard Weisenburger, John Wehrmeister, Patricia Wheeler, & Roger Winiarski.

Naval Hospital at Great Lakes IL

From Hosptial Corps School I went down to Camp Lejeune NC to Field Medical Service School.

The main gate to Camp Lejeune

Oldest living Oak tree at Camp Lejeune, estimated to be 385 yrs old as of 1976 (Per the Plaque)

Court St back in 1962. What a town back in those days. I'm sure there are a million stories out there about the streets of Jacksonville.

The bars, jewelry stores, clothing stores, and restaurants are now all gone. No more bright lights and sounds.

Where we used do go to do our laundry. We would walk here from Montford Point, where we were in Field Medical School.

This used to be Roses Dept. Store

The Ark

The USO in Jacksonville NC

As it looks today

YouTube Video

A tour of Camp Lejeune NC

Court Street, Jacksonville, NC 1962 - Was a wild place back then. There was Jazz Land and the Birdland bars along with many more which I have forgotten now. I do recall some Italian place on Court St we would go for pizza on a payday. Remember Paul Peek who performed at Jazz Land?

Sep - Nov 1964: Field Medical School at Marine Corps Base, Camp Montford, which I think is now camp Johnson, NC. We were going to be indoctrinated into the ways of the Marine Corps. This school was tough but yet fun and challenging. We had two great sargents who led our company of  31 Corpsman through this training. Students: HM2 James H Barker, HN Roy D Belton, HM3 Ted D Bunch, HN Juvencio Carranza, HN David P Connelly, HM2 Jack S Cook, HM2 Johnie F Crossland, HN John F Danko, HN Albert F Erlenbusch, HM3 Gearl L Fogle, HA David A Gastonguay, HM2 Michael Gibbons, HN Patrick R Handy, HM3 Charlie N Harrison, HN Ernest R Jones, HN Edward R Krakora, HN John H Lewis, HA Noel M Merritt, HN Abram O Miller, HN Bruce H Nash, HN Frederick G Pitts, HA Donald J Rowan, HN Ronald J Ruiter, HN David W Scott, HM3 Rick E Shoemaker, HM3 Clinton E Shrive, HA Joseph A Van Kerkhove, HM3 Robert K Whitehead, HM2 Donald F Wilson, HN James W Warych, HN David A Zembrowski

Camp Lejeune NC

Nov 1964 - Jan 1965: Was assigned to the Naval Hospital at Camp Lejeune NC for temporary duty. I worked the influenza ward which mainly had new recruits and also was working the 3rd shift, which I really hated, but someone had to do it. Hey, we still had Birdland and Jazz Land down on Court Street in Jacksonville, NC. These were a couple of the hot spots back in the 60's. I went back there 30 years later and it was all gone. Just the memories left.

The "old" hospital where I had worked (1964)

The "new" hospital (Opened in 1983)

Jan 1965 - Feb 1968: Was then assigned to the 2nd Battalion 10th Marines at Camp Lejeune NC. I served mostly in the 2nd Battalion working the sick bay there. I would also get re-assigned to Echo Battery for field exercises and cruises. Towards the end of my enlistment I was assigned to HQ 10th Marines sick bay where I was in charge of the pharmacy and also sick call along with my friend Pat Handy. We really had a great job there and some great doctor's who were more than willing to keep on teaching us more every day. Dr. John Texter was one of those great doctors. 

2nd Battalion, 10th Marines, CLNC

 2nd Bn 10th Marines Barracks

Sick Bay - HQ 10th Marines

FEB - MAR 1965: USS Okinawa (LPH-3) Firex-65 This was the first time going aboard ship for me. It was only an 8 week cruise to Vieques, PR but was a good experince. It was the first time I had to go down the ropes to a landing ship. The ropes were hung off the elevator deck and it seemed like a 100' down even though it was probably only 30' or so. We made our landing on Blue Beach, Viques, PR.

Click for more information on the USS Okinawa (LPH-3)

APR - JUN 1965 USS Wood County (LST-1178) Crib 2-65 Operation Quick Kick VII - Was aboard this ship for 3 months for this float. It really wasn't all bad being on this ship because it had A/C and Pat Handy and I had our own stateroom. It was actually used as a ward for the sick if they needed it.

for more information on USS Wood County (LST-1178)

The USS Wood County (LST-1178) sitting in the mothball fleet

YouTube Video

Blue Beach - Vieques PR - Where we would make our landings and practice the war games.

APR - MAY 1965: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - Paricipated in Armed Forces Operation Power Pak. HN Fredrick Pitts from the 10th Marines was killed while down here. The funny part was that I had offered to take his place in the beiginning since he was married. I just cannot recall all the circumstances around that today, but I do remember that I had made that offer to our Chief at that time. Just didn't work out that way. So here I am and now he his gone. Also we had an ambulance driver there by the name of George Slaughter.   (Domican Republic Intervention, 1965: On Line Document)

YouTube Video

Click to read more about the uprising in the Dominican Republic back in 1965

Welcome to Santo Domingo - Dominican Republic 

JUN 1965: We finally returned to Camp Lejeune, NC. On our way back we did run into a tropical storm off the coast. A couple of the ships did seek shealter in a port in South Carolina. We rode the storm out at sea and at one time we did take a 56 degree roll. Everyone was afraid that the amtrak's would break loose down in the well deck and low and behold, one did. Thank God it never came through the bulkhead.

In memory from the Dominican Republic

For above and beyond the call of duty in the Dominican Republic

OCT 22, 1965: Got married. 

JAN - FEB 1966: USS Fort Mandan (LSD-21) Firex 1-66 @ Blue Beach, Vieques, PR. This is where we would go to play out our war games and our sick bay tent was about 25' up from the beach. It was really a pretty good deal for us. We would work one day on and one day off. On the day's off we would go fishing or swimming. At night we would go up to Camp Garcia and get our cold beer. It was only $0.10 per can and so we would get a case and go up on a hill to drink and watch the F-4's come in from the carrier to fire their rockets and drop their bombs on the end of the island. What a show that was. Those were the best air shows I would ever see.

Click for more information on the USS Fort Mandan (LSD-21)

 FEB 23, 1966: I got my orders approved to go up to Norfolk and re-take the exam one takes when they first come into the service. I was trying to improve my score, which I did but still fell 2 points short, to get into the NESEP program which would have given me the chance to take a 4 year college course in nursing. Hey, short the 2 points and wrote for a waiver, but no luck. Close but no cigar. Being close doesn't count only in hand gernades does it count.

APR 27, 1966: First son KR was born in Holland while I was out on a field exercise at Fort Bragg, NC.

MAY 20, 1966: I competed a course in Pathologic Anatomy Technique.

OCT 1966: I moved into base housing when my wife and son came down there to live. We moved into 228 Butler Drive, Midway Park, Camp Lejeune, NC. My income at that time was $340.00 per month and I paid $64.20 per month for the rent on the house. It was a 2 brm, 1bath house. I recall that we went to Rose Bros. Furniture and for $500.00 we got 3 rooms of furniture, a bedroom, living room, and a kitchen outfit. Now at that time that seemed like a fortune and the stuff did look a little tacky, but it worked out. I have been back there since and they now havve new siding and windows. They look pretty good and actually would love to live in it today. I'm sure they have gotten rid of the oil heat by now though and probably have natural gas. As of 2010 these homes are now all gone and have all been replaced with town homes. 

228 Butler Drive, Midway Park 

 The floor plan to our house

 Rose Bros. Furniture, Jacksonville, NC

JAN - FEB 1967: USS Chilton (APA-38) Firex 1-67 @ Vieques, PR. They often refered to this ship as the Chilton Hilton, but believe me, it was no Hilton. We had about 4 fires on this ship while on our way down to Vieques. Hey, at least we didn't have to abandon ship. What a scuzzy ship. Couldn't wait to get off that one.

Click for more information on the USS Chilton (APA-38)

SEP 17, 1967: Hurricane Doria off the coast of North Carolina

OCT 13, 1967: I was assigned to the 3rd Bn 10th Marines for JCOC-37 for a two day exercise on Onslow Beach. I also got to go to Bogue Field up by Emerald Isle, NC. The field was laid out like a carrier deck and we got to see the F-4's take off and land there. It was really neat to watch that since I would probably never get on a carrier.  We also spent one night in a hotel there on the beach which wasn't all bad either. There were many congressmen down to watch this exercise so it made for an easy couple of days. 

YouTube Video

Bogue Field Today

DEC 5, 1967: Completed course in the Control Of Communicable Diseases in Man.
FEB 3, 1968: Honorable Discharge from my 4 years of service in the Navy. I often wonder where all those people I had known back then are today. I was making a grand total of $345.00 per month when I got out. I moved back to Michigan even though my heart wanted to stay here in NC. I had found a place I loved and I really felt this was home. But, I had an "ex" that I then followed back to Michigan. At that time Duke was offering a school for nurses, ex-medics, and others a program to become a physician assistant. It was the 2nd year they were doing the program and really had no idea where it would lead to at that time.  It was a long shot... a dream shot... but I went back to Michigan. Now that was one move I really hated and regreted til I moved back down here in Oct 2007. I went to work at Fitzpatrick Electric and stayed with that company until I retired, 39 years with them. They were bought out by Kendall Electric about 6 years before I retired.

Well perhaps someday they will build this museum and hopefully my "brick" will be in one of the paths.

This link is a Chronology of USMC 1965-69

Below is a list of names I came across from all of my transfer orders while at Camp Lejeune. Some I had worked with and other's I really never knew. I still remember many of the Marines listed here though, was attached to one their units at some point in time.

10th Marines Names

The old "HOJO" Howard Johnsons Motel in Jackonville, NC

The Sanitary Fish Market & Restaurant in Morehead City, NC

Amtrak loading onto the LST

The Cribe Hilton in San Juan, PR
My first encounter with a casino.

Emarkation onto the USS Wood County
(LST-1178) at Radio Island, NC
(Up by Morehead City, NC)

The good life in the field on
Vieques, PR

Beautiful Vieques, PR



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